Sons Praying with Fathers
May 6, 2022
Yesterday, May 5, 2022, I was davening at Chabad of East Lakeview, listening to leining and following along in the Parsha. As the Parsha was being read, an idea I said a few months ago crystallized in my mind.
The second and third Pasukim of Kedoshim says
דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־כׇּל־עֲדַ֧ת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֥ אֲלֵהֶ֖ם קְדֹשִׁ֣ים תִּהְי֑וּ כִּ֣י קָד֔וֹשׁ אֲנִ֖י יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃
אִ֣ישׁ אִמּ֤וֹ וְאָבִיו֙ תִּירָ֔אוּ וְאֶת־שַׁבְּתֹתַ֖י תִּשְׁמֹ֑רוּ אֲנִ֖י יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃
There is סמיכות between Holiness, Godliness and fearing (and I will include honoring ones parents – the Ba’al Haturim does make the connection here) and Shabbos. What is the connection?
On October 13, 2020, Behind the Bima out of Boca Raton Synagogue had as their guest Ben Shapiro. Rabbis Goldberg, Moskowitz, and Broide interviewed him. Minute 27:08 of the interview Ben Shapiro said the following, “I have gone to Shul with my dad since I was a kid. My parents have also moved into the area. My dad and I have sat next to each other since before my Bar Mitzvah.” When I heard this, I stopped figuratively and comprehended what Ben Shapiro just said. He has davened with his father on Shabbos year after year. During his father’s working career and during Ben’s years in building a brand, one thing was constant, his father got to see his son and now his grand kids every single Shabbos, and not just for a few minutes, an entire 2.5 hours. This cost Ben Shapiro no money and no time out of his day. He fulfilled the Mitzva of honoring ones parents.
As my father told me that when he was in the Warsaw Ghetto with his parents and supporting them, one day his father turned to him and said with deep emotion “you have fulfilled the commandant of honoring one’s parents כמו שכתוב בתורה ”
The famous song from 1974, Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin came to mind about a father who had no time for his son, while the son was growing up. Years later when his father retired and the son was raising a family , the son had no time for his father.
Lyrics – https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/harrychapin/catsinthecradle.html
Song – https://youtu.be/7OqwKfgLaeA
Ben Shapiro did the opposite without costing him time or money. He made sure to purchase a house near his father in LA and when Ben Shaprio moved to Boca Raton, his father also moved. All it was is a decision that I will do what it takes to daven with my father every Shabbos that I am in town. He may have not made a conscious decision but for him it may have been a natural decision. Greatness.
Going back to my question above, that there is סמיכות between Holiness, Godliness; and Shabbos and fearing *(and I will include honoring ones parents – the Ba’al Haturim does make the connection here) . What is the connection?
This has been fulfilled by what Ben Shapiro has done in life. On Shabbos he gives honor and respect to his father, which produces holiness and Godliness.
This past March, I was in Boynton Beach visiting my kids. Of course I went to Daf Yomi in Boca Raton Synagogue by Rabbi Ben Sugerman. After Shiur I walked into the Shul to daven. I see my cousin David Gross from Teaneck, New Jersey visiting his kids. Davening next to him was his son-in-law, Dr. Michael. Wow. I saw the above Torah of sons praying with fathers in action on a weekday morning. While this is a son-in-law, the same specialness and greatness is manifested. I am so inspired by this scene and it is glued to my memory. I also noticed that Dr. Michael davens with Kavanah; conviction and concentration. He does not fly through Shmonah Esray.