According to the Rambam (according to Aish), the reason that the commandment to "Honor Parents" is included in the first group of the Aseret Hadibrot (Ten Commandments) is because the child-parent relationship is a model for human-God relationship.

We know that Esau had an immense respect for his father and honored him perhaps even more than Jacob did. Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel goes as far to say that Esau was the embodiment of this mitzva.

Why then, in the Rambam's view, would this relationship have not at all translated to his relationship with God?

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    Do you have a source from the Rambam that says that Esau did not honour God? – Shimon bM Jan 1 '17 at 6:46
  • This beats little if any resemblance to the Aish quote (which the aforementioned citation supposedly supports): "Where is the mitzvah to honor one's parents? In the first set of five. Because from the moment of infancy and beyond, the way a parent acts toward a child forms in the child's consciousness a paradigm for how God relates to us." – mevaqesh Jan 1 '17 at 6:50

The statement of Rambam in question, is Hilkhot Mamrim (6:1)

כיבוד אב ואם מצות עשה גדולה, וכן מורא אב ואם--שקלם הכתוב בכבודו ובמוראו: כתוב "כבד את אביך, ואת אימך" (שמות כ,יא; דברים ה,טו), וכתוב "כבד את ה', מהונך" (משלי ג,ט); ובאביו ואימו כתוב "איש אימו ואביו תיראו" (ויקרא יט,ג), וכתוב "את ה' אלוהיך תירא" (דברים ו,יג; דברים י,כ). כדרך שציווה על כבוד שמו הגדול ומוראו, כך ציווה על כבודם ומוראם

Respecting one's father and mother is a great positive commandment, and also revering one's father and mother--Scripture equated them to His respect and reverence. It is written: "respect your father and your mother" and it is written: "respect God with your wealth". And [similarly] regarding one's father and mother it is written: "A man should fear his father and mother" and it is written: "You shall fear your God your Lord". In the same manner that He instructed regarding respecting his great name, and its reverence, so too did he instruct regarding their honour and reverence.

As you can see, Rambam is discussing the importance of honouring one's parents, and God, respectively. He says absolutely nothing about there being any causal link between the former and the latter.

Accordingly, there is absolutely no question of why according to Rambam, someone possessing the former, might nonetheless lack the latter.

  • Additionally, as noted by @ShimonbM you cite no evidence from Rambam that Esau was lacking in his relationship with God. Indeed, Rambam's son writes that he wasn't so bad. | Don't be confused by Midrashim that identify him as a villain, they aren't peshat cf. here, and that's just what they do as noted by Rambam's son. | Note also, that Rambam could reject the view that he had particularity good respect for his father, as well. – mevaqesh Jan 1 '17 at 16:31

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