In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!
Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.
Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!
“Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that Hashem your God is giving to you.” (Exodus 20:12)
כבד את אביך ואת אמך למען יאריכון ימיך על האדמה אשר יהוה אלהיך נתן לך.
“He said, ‘Oh, let me behold Your honor!’” (Exodus 33:18)
ויאמר הראני נא את כבדך.
Kavod, Hebrew for “honor,” appears in the fifth of the Ten Commandments when God directs us to honor our parents. Together with God, our parents gave us the greatest possible gift – our very lives! In Jewish law, children are obligated to actively honor their parents in many different ways, including feeding them and helping them get dressed when they grow old, not calling them by name and not sitting in their designated seat. Honoring one’s parents is so important, it is one of only two commandments in the entire Bible rewarded with a promise of long life.
We are also instructed to give honor to others, even as we ourselves must flee from honor. The Talmud teaches: “Who is honored? The one who gives honor to others.” By not focusing on our own honor and being concerned more with the honor of others, we become truly worthy of being honored! In particular, the Bible directs us to honor our elders: “You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old” (Leviticus 19:32).
The Bible also instructs us to honor Shabbat. We do so by observing the many laws of Shabbat, wearing special clothes, and eating delicious foods. If one comes across a special food during the course of the week, it is proper to set it aside and eat it on Shabbat, to honor the holy day of rest. On Shabbat we recognize that God created the entire world and everything in it, and so by honoring Shabbat, we honor God.