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Jewish Words of Wisdom: Quotes from May

From the Week of 18 Iyar 5757/May 25, 1997

"Honor your father and your mother..." (Exodus 20:12)

"You shall each revere his mother and his father, and keep My sabbaths: I the L-RD am your G-d." (Leviticus 19:3)

"Honor your father and your mother, as the L-RD your G-d has commanded you; that your days may be prolonged..." (Deuteronomy 5:16)

"If you do not respect your parents, your children will not repect you." (Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, as quoted in Words fo the Wise, Reuven Alcalay and Mordekhai Nurock)

"Our Rabbis taught: What is 'revere' and what is 'honor'? 'Revere' means that a child must neither stand nor sit in his [father's] place, nor contradict his words, nor tip the scale against him [by siding with his opponents in a dispute]. 'Honor' means that a child must give him [i.e. his parents] food and drink, clothe and cover him, and lead him in and out [when they are old and need a helping hand]." (Talmud Bavli, Kiddushin 31b, as quoted in Jewish Wisdom, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin)

A son is compelled to suport his parent." (Jonathan, Talmud Yerushalami: Nederim 9.1 as quoted in A Treasury of Jewish Quotations, Joseph L. Baron, ed.)

"If a father unwittingly transgresses a Torah law, his child should not say to him, 'Father, you have transgressed a Torah law.' He should say, 'Father, is that what it says in the Torah?' But aren't both expressions equally insulting? So what he should really say is, 'Father, the Torah says such-and-such' [and let the father draw his own conclusions]. (Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 81a, as quoted in Jewish Wisdom, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin)

"Once he [Dana the son of Netinah, a non-Jew] was seated among the great men of Rome, dressed in a silken gold garment, when his mother came and tore the garment from him, slapped him on the head, and spat in his face. But he did not shame her." (Talmud Bavli, Kiddushin 31a, as quoted in Jewish Wisdom, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin)

"Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: R. Eliezer was asked: How far does the honour of parents [extend]? -- Said he, Go forth and see what a certain heathen, Dama son of Nethinah by name, did in Askelon. The Sages sought jewels for the ephod, at a profit of six-hundred-thousand [gold denarii] -- R. Kahana taught: at a profit of eight-hundred-thousand -- but as the key was lying under his father's pillow, he did not trouble him. The following year the Holy One, blessed be He, gave him his reward. A red heifer was born to him in his herd. ..." (Talmud Bavli, Kiddushin 31a, Soncino translation)

From the Week of 11 Iyar 5757/May 18, 1997

"All the world is a narrow bridge,
but the point is don't be afraid at all." (Rav Nachman of Breslav)

"All creatures pass over a frail bridge, connecting life and death: life is its entrance, death is its exit." (Bahya, Hobot HaLebabot, 1040, Tokeha, as quoted in A Treasury of Jewish Quotations Joseph L. Baron, ed.)

"The meaning of man's life lies in his perfecting of the universe. He has to distinguish, father and redeem the sparks of holiness scattered throughout the darkness of the world. This service is the motive of all precepts and good deeds." (Heshel, The Earth Is the L-RD's as quoted in A Treasury of Jewish Quotations Joseph L. Baron, ed.)

"You will show me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (Psalm 16:11)

"In the way of righteousness is life; and in its path there is no death." (Proverb 12:28)

From the Week of 4 Iyar 5757/May 11, 1997

Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel: by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel

"Our Father who is in heaven, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless You the State of Israel which marks the dawn of our deliverance. Shield it beneath the wings of Your love; spread over it Your canopy of peace; send Your light and Your truth to its leaders, officers and counselofs, and direct them wity Your good counsel.

"O G-d, strengthen the defenders of our Holy Land; grant them salvation and crown them with victory. Establish peace in the land, and everlasting joy for its inhabitants.

"Remember our brethren, the whole house of Israel, in all the lands of their dispersion. Speedily let them walk upright to Zion Your city, to Jerusalem Your dwelling-place, as it is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: 'Even if you are dispersed in the uttermost parts of the world, from there the L-RD your G-d will gather and fetch you. The L-RD your G-d will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it.'

"Unite our heart to love and revere Your Name, and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah. Shine forth in Your glorious majesty over all the inhabitants of Your world. Let everything that breaths proclaim: 'The L-RD G-d of Israel is King; His majesty rules over all.' Amen" (from Birnbaum's Daily Prayer Book with language updated and capitalization my own)

"The State of Israel will prove itself not by material wealth, not by military might or technical achievment, but by its moral character and human values." (Ben Gurion, address, Jerusalem, August 23, 1950 as quoted in A Treasury of Jewish quotations edited by Joseph L. Baron)

"...For the L-RD of Hosts has taken thought
In behalf of His flock, the House of Judah;
He will make them like majestic chargers in battle...
And every captain shall also arise from them.
And together they shall be like warriors in battle,
Tramping in the dirt of the streets;
They shall fight, for the L-RD shall be with them...
I will give victory to the House of Judah...
I will restore them, for I have pardoned them...
(Zechariah 10:3-6, JPS)

"I will whistle to them and gather them,
For I will redeem them;
The shall increase and continue increasing.
For though I sowed them among the nations,
In the distant places they shall remember Me,
They shall escape with their children and shall return.
(Zechariah 10:8-9)

From the Week of 27 Nisan 5757/May 4, 1997

The quote this week is dedicated to the memory of my 6 million Jewish brothers and sisters who were murdered, cut off from the land of the living, because of the sins of the Nazis and those who aided them.

"As I light this Memorial Candle I vow never to forget the lives of the Jewish men, women, and childrean who are symbolized by this flaim. They were tortured and brutalized; their lives were taken in cruelty. May we be inspired to learn more about our six million brothers and sisters as individuals and communities, to recall their memory through out the year. May we recall not only the terror of their deaths, but the splender of so many of thier lives. May their memory inspire us to hallow our own lives and to live meaningful Jewish lives. May we be always alert to the challenges of the bigotry and antisemitism." (meditation to be read when lighting the yellow Yom HaShoah memorial candle)

While there are many quotes that I can share with you, from Why the Jews? by Telushkin and Prager, from Aish HaTorah's booklet on the subject, or from Isaiah 52-53 (which I have an extensive post about on this web site), I will leave you to think on this meditation and remember the 6 million the evil Nazis murdered...

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This page was made by Gretchen A. Shapiro, © copyright 1997