Jewish Parents

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk




There is an old Yiddish proverb which directs children to give Koved and love to their parents while they are alive, when they can appreciate it, rather than building gravestones which bear praises and loving words after they are deceased. It is important to honor your mother and father while they enjoy and appreciate the good Jewish Mom and Dad that they are and were.  Children can lift their parents' feelings, their status, by visits, by praise for all the kindness and love that has been given them, and much more. Parents should be included when they make invitations, showing pride and happiness to be with them, and much more. 

There is a poem which expresses the longing of folks who are unable to be with their children, which shows the feelings that it expresses for a parent that is unable to be with his adult child:  “Kommt ein Vögele geflogen, setzt sich nieder auf mein Fuss, hat ein Zettele im Schnabel, von der Mama einen Gruss.  Liebes Vogele flieg weiter nimm den Gruss und den Kuss, denn ich kann dich nicht begleiten weil ich hier bleiben muss.”

A bird comes flying with a message from a mother to her adult offspring.  She sent a greeting with a kiss.  The response is that she cannot leave since she is incapacitated. It is a sad message.  Loved ones, especially elderly parents, need love and attention while they are still able to receive it.  All people have the need for attention, kindness and love.  It is important to give it “bechol levovko, bechol nafchecho and ufchol meodecho”, with heart, hand, and more.

The majority of Jewish parents extend themselves with all of their being to be good role models and do all they possibly can to make their offspring happy.  Instead of reciprocity for their love, efforts, and kindness, they often receive reproaches, negative responses and that nothing is good enough or sufficient, despite all of the deprivations they have experienced to make their children healthy and independent adults.  Negative interpretations flow like water without cessation.  Their parents are often excluded because they are too old, not educated enough, don’t understand the current scene, are uninteresting,  do not “know” how the younger generation feels or “acts,” they are “boring,” “do not fit in,” are too “critical,” “ do not understand what is expected of them,” and much more.

Being a decent, respectful human being  to the parent is frequently interpreted as having “guilt” by such a son or daughter, or adult children are considered dependents who cannot stand on “their own two feet,” and much more.  There are many pseudo psychological expressions to demean the loving, responsible offspring.  “Mama’s boy or Mama’s stooge” and “Daddy’s Baby Boy,” are labels attached to a thoughtful son who shows admiration and respect for his father.  Good, acceptable, and normal behaviors are attributed to flawed and twisted interpretations.

Let us remember the one commandment of the ten which has a reward attached:  Honor thy mother and father so that thou live long on earth.


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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