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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 20:02:37 -0400 Subject: Our Parents Are Closer To Sinai? Chana Luntz writes >>..I think we have lost something quite precious. >>Because part of what it once meant to be a Jew was that one accepted the yoke of Torah as transmitted by one's parents AND IT WAS UNDERSTOOD THAT THEY WERE CLOSER TO SINAI THAN WE WERE>>> This is not the first time I have heard this but I know of no legitimate primary source that supports this. To take a simple example a well known Midrash on Deut 29:9---"You are ALL standing before G-d.."--says that all Jews were at Sinai (including us '20 centuriites'). I have always believed that the correct approach to halacha is to seek out its distinctions and details. It is easy for anyone to look up the laws of honoring ones parents: Yes there is much we must do * Feed them * By clothing for them * Stand before them * speak respectfully to them * endure their insults on us if they so chose * Acknowledge their spiritual and physical debt to us But someone please tell me where it says that we must be the same as them? Or that they were closer to Sinai? According to the Rambam for example there is no controversy in Traditions handed down...it doesn't matter if I heard something from my father grandfather or Moses himself. And all Father-Son pairs differed in the Bible--Abraham was known for his charity, Isaac for his sacrifice, Yaakov for his having to outsmart his environment and father in law who continually double crossed him. It is well known that Korach's children were totally different that their father. The only father-son pairs that were similar were possibly people like David and Solomon--but that is because they were of Royal blood (and it is the nature of establishment people to externally be the same). At any rate I believe that halachah simply requires us to respect our parents. Every son is suppose to be different that his father and only follows him possibly in monetary/vocational matters (inheritance etc.). In fact there are several places in civil law where people have the right to refuse waivers in matters of property division since giving the gift creates a sense of indebtedness. Isn't this in effect saying that people have a RIGHT to their autonomy? Doesn't this then apply to our relations with our parents? I believe some clarification of this touchy issue in a rational manner would be welcome Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d;ASA; Rhendel @ mcs drexel edu