Archive for February, 2007

Parents as Creators

February 8th, 2007 by Yaakov Ellis

כבד את-אביך, ואת-אמך–למען, יארכון ימיך, על האדמה, אשר-יהוה אלהיך נתן לך

Honor your father and your mother, in order to lengthen your days on this Land that the Lord your God has given to you (Shemot 20:11)

In this, the fifth of the “Ten Commandments”, we are commanded to honor our parents. Why is this commandment located precisely at this point?

Ramban explains: Up to this point, we had been commanded on things that are בין אדם למקום – relating solely to God (Belief in God, no idols, do not swear falsely, remember the Shabbat). After this, the commandments are all relating to issues that are solely בין אדם לחבירו – between man and his fellow (No murder, adultery, theft, false witnes or coveting). The commandment to honor one’s parents is an appropriate segue between these two sections of commandments because one’s relationship with one’s parents has both of these aspects within it.

One the one hand, parents are called a “partner with God” in creating their children. Ramban understands Devarim 5:15 (the second time that the Commandments are given, in which the words
כבד את-אביך ואת-אמך, כאשר צוך יהוה אלהיך
are added to this commandment) to mean that just as God has commanded you to observe his honor, so to your are commanded honor the onw who “joined me in your being formed”. On the other hand, this mitzvah is towards another person, and is carried out in this world. So it embodies both aspects: towards God and towards man, and is thus appropriately placed in between the first set of commandments and the last.

10 Amot Tall

February 5th, 2007 by Yaakov Ellis

Rav Ally wrote about the Netziv’s explanation for why Moshe had to sit down in order that Aharon and Chur hold his arms (since we would have thought that Moshe would have remained standing). The answer given is that since according to Chazal, Moshe was 10 amot tall, he had to sit down in order for Aharon and Chur (who were presumably of a more regular height) to be able to reach up high enough to support his arms.

I decided to take a closer look into the exact measurements involved in this scenario. Continue reading ‘10 Amot Tall’