Mother’s Day is a day set aside to show the moms in our lives how much we appreciate them. It’s a sweet and wonderful idea…but according to the Torah, every day is Mother’s Day!

The very first commandment that God gave to Adam was to “be fruitful and multiply.” Traditionally, this mitzvah is considered obligatory only upon men, not women.

This seems strange. After all, women are the ones who carry the child in their wombs, nourish the infants from their breasts, and, traditionally, bear the brunt of the child-rearing responsibility. If anything, “peru oo’revu,” be fruitful and multiply, should be a woman’s mitzvah!

According to the sages, however, the mitzvah of “peru oo’revu” is not obligatory on a woman because Torah law does not command people to put themselves in life-threatening situations. After all, until only the last 100 years or so, childbirth was extremely dangerous and the number of fatalities during birth was not insignificant.

Perhaps, however, the danger inherent in motherhood is not just physical. Motherhood changes a mother profoundly, restricting her, and demanding that she sacrifice many of the things that she most values in life (sleep, independence, etc.). At the same time, through motherhood, a woman has the chance to not only experience the immense power of creation, but also to emulate God’s endless ability to give.

For those women who become mothers, conscious of the challenges and opportunities that come with becoming a parent, mothers should be accorded much well-deserved honor, respect and, of course, infinite gratitude, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day.

For more on the mitzvah of honoring one’s mother and father, please click here.

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