The Gemmorah in Kiddushin (30b) brings the idea of the analogy between honoring Hashem and honoring one's father (and mother).

"ת"ר נאמר (שמות כ, יב) כבד את אביך ואת אמך ונאמר (משלי ג, ט) כבד את ה' מהונך השוה הכתוב כבוד אב ואם לכבוד המקום

The Sages taught that it is stated: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:11), and it is stated: “Honor the Lord with your wealth” (Proverbs 3:9). In this manner, the verse equates the honor of one’s father and mother to the honor of the Omnipresent, as the term “honor” is used in both cases.

וכן בדין ששלשתן שותפין בו ת"ר שלשה שותפין הן באדם הקב"ה ואביו ואמו בזמן שאדם מכבד את אביו ואת אמו אמר הקב"ה מעלה אני עליהם כאילו דרתי ביניהם וכבדוני

And so too, the equating of one’s attitude toward his parents to his attitude toward God is a logical derivation, as the three of them are partners in his creation. As the Sages taught: There are three partners in the forming of a person: The Holy One, Blessed be He, who provides the soul, and his father and his mother. When a person honors his father and mother, the Holy One, Blessed be He, says: I ascribe credit to them as if I dwelt between them and they honor Me as well.

And many many more analogies. The Gemmorah in Brochos 58a teaches Birkat Hashvakh on seeing a king "בא"ה אמ"ה שחלק מכבודו ליראיו".

Why this (or a similar) Brocho is not used for seeing/honoring the father, whose honor also "stems" from Hashem's?

Interestingly, some say that the blessing on a king stems from his ability to sentence to death (see blessing-on-a-king, but both father or Rabbi "can freely" kill a kid (הלכות רוצחים, they are not allowed but exempt from punishment)

Note, this is different from saying Birkat Hamitzvot on the Mitzvah of honoring, which is not said "because" the father can forgive his respect.

  • 4
    Also, if you use Sefaria's translation you should attribute it in the post.
    – Alex
    Aug 16 '18 at 15:42
  • 1
    A thought: the honor for a parent is 'subjective' (i.e. only for the child) while the honor for a king is 'objective' (everyone has to show the king honor). Aug 16 '18 at 16:11
  • @Salmononius2 Honoring a father is limited to his kids, just as honoring a king is limited to his citizens, not other countries.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 17 '18 at 9:01
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    @AlB even non citizens say the blessing on the king and have a miztva to go see the king
    – Double AA
    Aug 17 '18 at 13:43

While the wording of the Bracha seems to be quite generic, and based on the pure definition alone one would think it would apply to anyone who Hashem commands us to respect, the Bracha is actually only applied to a specific subset of people (namely, an absolute monarch). The fact that Hashem commands us to respect others does not directly correlate to saying that Bracha.

For example, not all rulers are created equal. There are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled for one to say the Bracha upon seeing a ruler that, if it doesn't apply to that ruler, one does not say the Bracha. One such example is that the ruler has to have the ability of absolute life and death over his subjects1 (i.e. has the lawful ability to sentence someone to death).

Therefore, while there may be many different people who Hashem commands us to honor for several different reasons (and indeed, some might have different Brachos that apply to them), this Bracha for this scenario is limited only to an absolute ruler.

  1. I want to say the source is in the Teshuvos Radvaz, but I have limited access to sources right now. One source that implies this requirement is Orach Chaim 224:8 in Mishnah Berurah 12.

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