web analytics
August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post


Honoring One’s Father And Mother

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

There are certain mitzvos that all civilized people can understand and appreciate. One such mitzvah is that of honoring one’s parents. While there are certain specific particulars that are distinctly Jewish, the general concept is one accepted by non-Jews as well. Indeed, when the Talmud sought to find an example of one who observed this mitzvah in its proper form, it selected a non-Jew by the name of Dama ben Nesina.

The Abuse

Dama ben Nesina was a noble man greatly admired for his wisdom and prowess. It so happened that the elders of his city gathered together for an important meeting and asked him to come and advise them.

When he arrived they immediately seated him at the front of the table and the discussion began. Unknown to Dama, however, his mother — unfortunately a demented woman who was not responsible for her actions — had followed him and burst into the chamber room.

Before the startled eyes of the people, she rushed at her son and began to beat and slap him. The noble Dama, with perfect respect, never raised his hand against his mother, merely pleaded: “Mother, have pity and allow me to take you home.”

When Chazal heard of his remarkable self-restraint and of the honor he afforded his mother, they proclaimed to all:

“If you wish to understand how far the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents extends, come learn from Dama ben Nesina.”

The Precious Stone

Chazal had yet another occasion to admire the respect Dama ben Nesina had for his parents. It was during the time of the second Bais HaMikdash and the Kohen Gadol was garbed in his holy garments as specified in the Torah. There arose a need for a precious stone to be placed in his breast-plate and it was said that Dama owned such a gem.

They hurried to his home and said, “Noble Dama, we have need of a precious gem for the Kohen Gadol and we understand that it is in your possession. We are prepared to give you 1,000 gold shekels for it.”

“I will gladly sell you the gem,” replied Dama. “Allow me to get it from the next room.”

Entering the next room, Dama saw that his father was fast asleep on the couch and one of his feet was resting on top of the chest in which the gem was contained. Dama was faced with the choice of awakening his father or losing the opportunity to sell the gem.

Making sure he did not awaken his father, he returned to the room where the Sages sat and said:

“Learned leaders, I am afraid that I cannot sell you the gem.”

Thinking that he wished to get a higher price for the gem, they replied: “We must have the gem and we are prepared to offer you 10 times what we offered you before. Here are 10,000 gold shekels if you will let us have the gem immediately.”

“No, no,” protested Dama. “You do not understand. I cannot give you that gem because my father is sleeping on the chest in which it lies. I would not awaken him if you were to give me an entire household of gold and silver.”

Father Awakens

At that moment, his father awoke from his sleep and entered the room.

“Father,” cried Dama, “you are up. Now I can get the gem.”

Going into the other room, Dama got the gem and handed it to the men.

“We thank you for the gem,” they said. “Here are 10,000 gold shekels.”

“Take back 9,000 of the money,” said Dama. “I originally agreed to sell it for 1,000 shekels. The reason why you added the rest was because I would not awaken my father. Heaven forbid that I should sell the honor and respect of my father for 9,000 shekels.”

The Red Cow

The Almighty allowed Dama to go unrewarded. Next year, he was blessed with the birth of a perfect parah adumah among his cattle. The sages heard and hastened to buy it, for it was vital in the days of the Bais HaMikdash when the laws of purity were daily matters of practice.

They were so overjoyed that they paid Dama 10,000 shekels for it. When the people heard they said:

“The duty of honoring one’s parents is truly great in the eyes of the Almighty. There did He bless Dama ben Nesina.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Honoring One’s Father And Mother”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Firefighters put out fire in firebombed car near Beit Hanina on August 3, 2105.
Jewish Woman Severely Burned, 2 More Injured in Yet Another Arab Firebombing Attack
Latest Kidz Stories
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

On the third day, while waiting outside, they again heard a noise from the room.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“What!” she cried. “Didn’t you know that the ring contained an expensive diamond, which was worth a lot of money?”

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

Ptolemy, King of Egypt, had requested that 72 sages be sent to his country to translate the Torah. They were wined and dined and then the king put to them 72 questions, to test their wisdom. The Second Day On the second day, the king made a grand feast and he again began questioning the […]

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

The first question the king asked was, “What shall a king do to make his rule successful so that he can reign all of his life in peace and happiness?”

Aristeas remained in Jerusalem viewing the sights. He was honored by being permitted to view the kohanim doing the avodah in the Beis HaMikdash.

“Greetings to you,” they called out, “will you be kind enough to give us a blessing?”

“In Chad Gadya we find that the shochet kills the ox and is immediately killed in turn by the Malach HaMaves.

His fifth stage of life starts when he is 18 years of age. He is then compared to a mule.

To his amazement and disappointment, however, David HaMelech showed not the slightest indication of stopping for even a moment.

When his students saw the mule, they decided to clean it and smooth it for their teacher.

Rav Yosef Shmuel looked at the guests and said, “I am very sorry, but I am hired to do the holy work of teaching children Torah. I am not allowed to waste even a moment from this work. This evening, when I have finished, I will be glad to see you and talk with you.”

Finally, his wife came in with the dinner that she had hurriedly prepared and which was not comparable to the wonderful repast she had given away.

The great giant of his time, the Vilna Gaon, once said that the Shaagas Aryeh had the entire Talmud and its commentators at his fingertips and that he could relate the gist of all of them and their sources in one hour.

As for myself, I can only answer that the yetzer hara has persuaded me to take the position because of the honor.

“It must be that beggar,” he exclaimed. “He probably stole my cane.”

“If, however, he rules the other way – that something is not kosher when in reality it is kosher – and thus robs a poor man of his money, this is a far more serious thing.

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

On the third day, while waiting outside, they again heard a noise from the room.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“What!” she cried. “Didn’t you know that the ring contained an expensive diamond, which was worth a lot of money?”

Ptolemy, King of Egypt, had requested that 72 sages be sent to his country to translate the Torah. They were wined and dined and then the king put to them 72 questions, to test their wisdom. The Second Day On the second day, the king made a grand feast and he again began questioning the […]

The first question the king asked was, “What shall a king do to make his rule successful so that he can reign all of his life in peace and happiness?”

Aristeas remained in Jerusalem viewing the sights. He was honored by being permitted to view the kohanim doing the avodah in the Beis HaMikdash.

“In Chad Gadya we find that the shochet kills the ox and is immediately killed in turn by the Malach HaMaves.

His fifth stage of life starts when he is 18 years of age. He is then compared to a mule.

To his amazement and disappointment, however, David HaMelech showed not the slightest indication of stopping for even a moment.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/honoring-ones-father-and-mother/2013/08/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: