The Torah writes in Shemos (20:12)

כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ לְמַ֙עַן֙ יַאֲרִכ֣וּן יָמֶ֔יךָ עַ֚ל הָאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃ (ס)

Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that the LORD your God is assigning to you.

Why is one specifically rewarded with a "long life" for honoring parents?


3 Answers 3


The Sixth Commandment says to honor one’s parents and that they would be granted long life.

Exodus 20:12 states:

Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the L-rd thy G-d giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12)

Honoring one’s parents is next to honoring G-d. Bechor Schor is saying that G-d is saying that:

“if you show honor to your parents who benefited you in many ways, I will know that you also honor Me for the benefits that I gave you.”

As a reward, long life is promised for the observance of this commandment. Bechor Schor explains that this is perfectly reasonable, since the reward is more of a result than a reward – as those who honor their parents will thereby teach their children to honor them, and in doing so their children will care for them, prolong their lives.


The pashut answer is because if you do it properly it's very time consuming. If you saw the stories how our sages did cibud av you would understand. However this wouldn't explain why the same reward is given for shiluach hakan. You should also note that the gemara in kiddushin 39b concludes there is no reward for mitzvos in this world and the long life of cibud av is reffering to the world to come. However the question would still remain why this mitzva has this special reward.


The purpose of this mitzvah is to bolster faith in tradition by honoring its bearers. That is why it is listed on the first Tablet along with the commandments between man and God. So that your days may be lengthened. This is in recompense for his good deed towards his forebears. Alternatively, it is to enable his own children to honor him, measure for measure; therefore when this commandment is repeated in Devarim (5:16) the Torah adds, “in order that it will be good for you” (Abarbanel).

  • 'This is in recompense for his good deed towards his forebears' - The mitzvah of honouring parents does not depend on what your parents did for you, or even whether they were good parents. Rather, we honor parents simply because they gave us the gift of life (see Meshech Chochma and K’sav Sofer Parshas Vo’eschanan)
    – Dov
    Jun 1, 2020 at 10:31

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