“Honor your father and your mother in order that your days may be lengthened.”
Rav Moshe Chaim Lau was an important rabbi in Poland who was murdered in the Holocaust at the age of 50. He offered original commentary on this verse, according to which our days will be lengthened not only by going forwards but also by going backwards towards our roots.
“If you honor and esteem the values of your parents, you will merit long life since you will then have created a bridge between the past and the future and they will unite without interruption.
“If you honor the past, you lengthen your life because you do not begin here and now. You are part of a greater and more ancient story. If you are 20 years old and honor your 50-year-old father, and he honors his 85-year-old father, you are actually 155 – and even more.
“Your story goes far, far into the past, from generation to generation, all the way back to standing at Mount Sinai.”
(translation by Yehoshua Siskin)