Giving Thanks for Fathers
Yael Eckstein | June 17, 2020
This Sunday, people in the U.S. and other countries throughout the world will observe Father’s Day.
On this day, I once again give thanks for the life of my abba (father), Rabbi Eckstein. Not a day goes by when I do not think of him. I’m so grateful for the lessons he taught me about trusting in God, about being kind, about the importance of maintaining the rich faith traditions of Judaism. Those lessons will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I am passing them down to my own children.
Why do we set aside days to honor our parents? I believe it’s because, while both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are relatively recent creations, they are based on an ancient biblical truth.
Partners in Creation
When Moses went up Mount Sinai, he received the Ten Commandments – ten guiding principles for those who would live godly lives. Right in the middle of this list that instructs us on how we should behave toward God and our neighbors are these words: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
Jewish teaching says there are three partners in the creation of a new life: a mother, a father, and God. Because of this partnership, we are to look at our parents not only with love, but with a sense of reverence. They were laborers, with God, in our creation – the co-authors of our life. In honoring our parents, we also honor God.
A Godly Example
More than just an act of obedience, honoring our father and mother is also a sign of gratitude. Our parents gave us the precious gift of life. Without them, we would not be who we are. Honoring our earthly parents is one way that we begin to understand the sovereignty of God, our heavenly Father, who sustains us every day with His love and provision.
I give thanks to God for my father’s life, and I pray that he knows how much his godly example meant to me. And I also pray for God’s blessing on all the fathers out there who are working to provide wise guidance and support – both physical and spiritual – to their families. Even as we honor fathers on this special day, may we all remember the promise of Psalm 103:13, which tells us, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”
With blessings from the Holy Land,