Consideration for the Weak
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on May 20, 2006
“Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before the blind, but thou shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD“. (Vayikra/Leviticus 19:14)This pasuk(verse) in Torah has been floating through my mind lately. It was planted as a result of a letter I got from a young woman asking about the Mitzvah to honor one’s parents if same parents have been or are abusive during one’s childhood.
This was what I answered:
“Is it right for parents to control their children completely? Is it right for them to make you become their extentions by using hurtful mindgames?”No it’s not. Definitely not. Torah is very clear on what parents should be like and what their rolemodel in relation to their kids should – G-d Himself. How do I know this? Because G-d is over and over described as a Father and a Mother in the Torah and the Tanakh, and the image one gets from this is not of one who abuses His children, controll them or play mindgames with them – it is an image of someone who is constantly concerned with the wellfare of His children, who makes sure they are whole, sane and aware that they are truly loved.
Psalms/Tehillim 68:5 “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation”
Psalms/Tehillim 89:26 “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.”
Psalm/Tehillim 103:13 “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”
Psalms/Tehillim 27:10 “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”
Isaiah/Yeshayahu 66:13 “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
Now, how could a G-d who says the above accept parents abusing their children – doesn’t He also say to take care of the widow and the fatherless? To care for the weak?
Exodus/Shemot 22:22 “Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.”
Deuteronomy/Devarim 10:18 “He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.”
Deuteronomy/Devarim 14:29 ” And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest”
From these passages we can learn that G-d take as self-evident that children who are not fatherless are to be treated well and be cared for, or there would be no reason to command us to care for the fatherless.
Leviticus/Vayikra 19:14 “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD”
From this we can infer that those who are in anyway dependent on others or lack some ability to care for themselves, such as children who lack experience, and are physically dependent on their parents for care and guidance as children, and emotionally bonded as adults, should not be abused or stunted in their life-path.
Talmud teaches us that if my father and my Torah Teacher are both drowning and I can save only one, I should save my Torah Teacher, the passage before that speaks of how the father is to impart Torah to his child, and if he doesn’t then it is as if he was not a father at all.
Yes, Torah teaches to honor our parents, but that also implies that our parents honour us and treat us as G-d would. If they don’t, then we owe them no more than normal respect and honor we owe any human being. Nothing in Torah is ever one-sided – Newton’s Law #3 in physics applies very well “Every action has an equal and opposite re-action” – meaning that Torah expects mutuality between G-d and Human and between Human and Human.
The command to honour our parents carries with it the idea that they in turn honour G-d.
The command not to curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, to my mind means not to make life harder for others than it already is, but on the contrary try to ease another’s burden as much as possible – that of course implies that I am not doing so at my own expense, as this also applies to myself.Shalom!