Gratitude for our parents' sacrifices: Honor Thine Ancestors

Rev. Abby Jo By Rev. Abby Jo, 9th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Religion>Judaism

The binding of Isaac is metaphor for being bound to parent by duty, custom, economics, karma. We forgive when we untie the child, offer another sacrifice instead of the child. We offer our ego instead.

Parents, Children and Ego

Exodus 20:12 ESV “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you." 2012 was the year my mother left her body.
Exodus 21:15 ESV “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death."
Exodus 21:17 ESV “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death." Spiritual death?

I would like to think the last one means those who disrespect wise elders speaking truth will die spiritually, economically and wither as the fruit on the vine that cannot receive light and love.

Yet Luke 14:26 ESV says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."

Meaning one has to forsake material attachments in order to receive spiritual enlightenment, sort of what the Buddha said? I take issue with the word "hate." I think Luke meant "fed up with, realizing the limitations of."

Jessica Ravitz posted in on 4.9.04,* "...the very first direct commandment in the Torah is to be fruitful and multiply. If the first obligation of a parent is to have a child, then the second is to earn honor. It's on the parents to teach children how to respect others. If a parent fails to instruct by way of words and deeds, a parent cannot expect to be honored in return." (emphasis added).

My experience as a parent thus far (roughly 20 years) is that it can take awhile before the children realize what they have learned from their parents' prayers, words and deeds. It seems to me the more I complain and criticize (as I was criticized by my mother), the longer it "takes" for honor to be bestowed. There is an inverse relationship between complaining about a child and receiving love and devotion from that child. "Nachas," my mother called it. נעכאָמע in Yiddish. My mother did not have google translate, it would have helped, because she could never define this but she kept asking me for it. It means "comfort." She had physical comfort, to a degree, she lived to age 95, with some pain here and there, but a roof over her head, food in her belly and independence which was more important to her than she ever admitted to anyone.

I observe that to date 20 years of being a single parent have provided me with a pretty good spiritual education so far. What does the story of binding and release of Isaac teach us? Perhaps to untie the inner child, release the next generation, give them freedom from self serving destructive habits which destroy "mother" Earth.

המחייב של יצחק Google translates, "binding of Isaac" thus. However, that's not what it says in Hebrew. It says "Ha Mechayev shel Yitzchak." That means the "duty of Isaac" to do what his father asked of him, even to the point of self-sacrifice, out of loyalty and trust. In the time of Abraham (also translated by some as the father of mercy, Av Rachman), it was acceptable, normal and customary for the son to offer to put his life on the line if his father asked.

Ironically perhaps, Yitzchak means he will laugh...he will laugh perhaps when someone tells him this story, out of la joie de la vie, de secours that he lives in spite of what some might call barbarism.

Yesterday I watched Mr. Putin's solemn sad face remember his father's death in WW2. When I know fully in my heart what my two parents and their families who died in WW2 sacrificed so I could have this body, then my son perhaps will have his epiphany as well. Because we are all connected. The karmic or group soul lesson here perhaps can be stated as "Honor thy mother and father who did sacrifice for thou." or something close to that.

Whether it is Avram sacrificing a deer to save his son, the first pidion ha ben (redemption of the first born) before Avram (great father) becomes Abraham (merciful father) and before Isaac can have a life, there is the recognition that the child was willing to sacrifice everything, including life itself. The parent is willing to sacrifice his most precious possession, give up that which is most beloved to prove to God his faith is sincere. Many so called modern parents are indeed asked to fight for their right to be parents and to keep their children, we continue to sacrifice to demonstrate our faith.

The final plague of the ten plagues that occur in the story of the Exodus is the death of the firstborn son. Yet, what needs to be sacrificed is not the body of the firstborn son. It is the ego, of mankind, his first born "creation." We hold the ego to be more precious than the firstborn son. When we are willing to sacrifice it, then gratitude comes and love follows the pathway of gratitude. That's my inspired sermon for the day. Thank you for providing inspiration this Passover, 2015.

In the words of Fringe (TV 2008-2013) "είναι ένας καλύτερος άνθρωπος από τον πατέρα σας," or be a better man than your father.

*numerology/synchronicity. 411= information in USA, it is telephone code for "directory assistance." Ravitz and I independently posted on the same DAY 11 years apart, I wrote before I read her post. This day this year was during Pass-Over, the Jewish holiday. The day she posted was 4.11.4 (four, nine plus two, four). In 2004, my son was 8, we were engaged at that time in daily conflicts and power struggles, as I was with my own mother who was then still alive.


Abrahamic Religions, Exodus, Isaac

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author avatar Rev. Abby Jo
I am an ordained minister in my 50s. My ministry is online. I practice meaningful written dialogue, truth in all things. Ascending beyond past. I will be here regardless of pay.

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author avatar Retired
11th May 2015 (#)

I think you have highlighted the many conflicts that occur between subsequent generations. Maybe what is missing today is that old saw "RESPECT". Respect is a two way street, and one that we are now experiencing seems to lead to a dead end, these days.

Are you a Hebrew scholar? Have you tried to discover the gematria behind the words?

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author avatar Rev. Abby Jo
11th May 2015 (#)

I grew up in California, Hawaii and Israel. I am fluent in Hebrew. is a good website for Gemetria.

Respect is most definitely a two way street. We start to get respect when we respect ourselves completely and stop demanding respect. We get respect when we model self-respect continuously.

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