In the Ten Commandments that we read this Shabbat, one of the commandments is to honor ones parents. The reward for observing this Mitzvah is: לְמַעַן יַאֲרִכוּן יָמֶיךָ, “…so that your days be lengthened…”. (Ex. 20,12) What is the connection between honoring one’s parents and lengthening one’s days?
The Dubno Maggid had a unique explanation. Every individual in his lifetime gathers experience. This experience helps him develop and teaches him how to deal with all the challenges that confront him. Parents have lived a life time and have gathered in those years a vast experience. When one respects his parents he will also listen to their teachings and their advice. He will benefit from what they had acquired during the years of their experience.
This person does not have to start from the beginning and learn everything anew. He can take off from where his parents have taught him. He can add on the knowledge and way of life his parents gave him. Thus his life experience expands and it is as if he had a longer life.