I don’t think my mother had ever heard of Rashi. She was a fine, cultured, educated woman who had a good Jewish education according to the standards of those days, but I doubt whether the curriculum even mentioned Rashi and Maimonides. My father, brought up in the Talmudei Torah of old Jerusalem, certainly learnt Chumash with Rashi and in later years enjoyed going to a Gemara Shi’ur.
So now you are ready to ask me what link there is this week between my parents and Rashi. Answer: the portion deals with the Ten Commandments (Deut. 5), the fifth Commandment is “Honour your father and mother”(Deut. 5:16), and Rashi says this command was not only given at Sinai but also at Marah. Marah figures in the Book of Sh’mot a few chapters before the first occurrence of the Decalogue. It was there that “The Lord showed him (Moses) a tree which he threw into the waters and it made the waters sweet” (Ex. 15:25). Marah was the place where God’s miracles made human experience sweeter.
Such too is the lasting influence of good parents. They might not have given their children much material comfort, they might not have bequeathed their children much property, but if they left a sweet memory and showed their family how to discover the sweet blessings of life, their name deserves to be honoured.