We as Diaspora Jews have a dual identity. We celebrate Israel’s birthday and we celebrate America’s birthday. We have feasts both on Rosh Hashanah and Thanksgiving.
We embrace our religious sacred moments and welcome the American spirit. This Shabbat, the two once again coalesce.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. We will honor our mothers who gave us life and who provide us love near and far. My middle name is Chaim, life. I was named after my great-grandmother Chaya, a woman I only know in name, but whose presence I carry each day. Our children are named after their great-grandparents, carrying with them the qualities and characteristics from the past to the future.
On this Shabbat of Mother’s Day, we learn in parshat Kedoshim, eesh eemo vaviv teeraoo: You shall revere your mother and father. This mitzvah, as it also appears in the Ten Commandments, is written next to the obligation to observe Shabbat. Rashbam explains that honoring our mother is on par with honoring our Creator. On Shabbat, we stop and recognize the magnificence of creation and the world we were born into.
On Mother’s Day, we do the same. We recognize the one who gave us life.
Yes, Mother’s Day is the first Sunday of May, but perhaps, with the interpretation of our Torah, Mother’s Day is in fact each Shabbat.