Cursed be he that dishonors his father or his mother. And all the people shall say: Amen. (Devarim 27:16)
The Torah tells us that one is obligated to honor one’s parents, and to treat them royally. This sounds as if we are only obligated to perform actions which are necessary to give our parents what they need. There is a story told about a group of young men who died at approximately the same time, leaving their wives and children widowed and orphaned. This tragic rash of events affected a specific segment of the bnei torah community. The families went to the Steipler Gaon and asked him “What is the reason this happened, and how shall we try to remedy this situation?” The Steipler answered “If you look at the family histories of these talmidei chachamim, you will notice that their parents were survivors of The War. Though they were not learned in Torah, they gave up everything they had in order to raise their children to be exemplary members of the Torah community. Indeed, if you would look at these families, we saw true Torah values.” However, the Steipler concluded “It seems that while these talmidei chachamim held their parents in high regard, they looked down on them because they were not also talmidei chachamim (though the men understood that this was because their parents did not have an opportunity to learn).” The Steipler Gaon finished with a quote from Rashi “It is forbidden for one to undervalue one’s parents.”
The Torah demands from us not only to do the action of kibud av v’em, but to actually feel the relationship in the way the Chayei Adam describes what we should be feeling regarding this mitzvah: A person is not only obligated to treat one’s parents as distinguished people, but to actually believe that they are.
If this is true for our biological creators, so too it is certainly true for Hashem. In the month of Elul, we walk around saying over in our mind “the yom yadin is coming and it is time to do teshuva. Do mitzvahs and don’t do aveiros, and rectify that which I have wronged. I think that we should also keep in mind the famous acronym of Elul: “ani l’dodi v’dodi li” (I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me). The simple meaning of this is that Hashem is our beloved one and we are His. Many times, we only focus on the halachic obligation of teshuva. Elul is here to remind us of the relationship between Hashem and us. Let us use this time to also reconnect to Hashem, through our emotional connection. He loves us. Do we love Him?