by Rabbi Avigdor Miller (Excerpt from The Fifth Commandment, #999)
Excerpt continues after the audio player.
The Chovos Halevavos said by honoring your parents you’re building a ladder and that ladder reaches up to Hashem. Halo hu avicha -- Isn’t He your father? That’s the real father. Kanecha, He created you and so when you train yourself kibud av v’aim is the beginning of a career of learning how to love Hakadosh Baruch Hu as a father. Now that’s a very important statement...
When you say Avinu Malkeinu you say Avinu Malkeinu fast then you say hachazireinu b’teshuva sheleima lifencha, that’s the important part. But my rebbe said no, the important part is the first two words. Avinu, think about that, He’s our father. Malkeinu, He is our king. That’s important. The rest agav urcha (incidentally), hachazireinu b’teshuva sheleima lifanecha. And he said the old time Jews did that. The old time Jews. He remembers when he was a child they used to say Avinu Malkeinu… shlach refuah sheleimua l’cholei amecha. Because that’s the most important.
We should appreciate that Hashem is our father. He is the real father. Where does your father get the instinct to have pity on you? And where does your mother get those instincts, the maternal love for her children? That’s a gift from Hakadosh Baruch Hu. He is the father, He is the mother.
So although you must honor your parents and you must learn to respect them as much as you possibly can, however you should know it’s going to pay off in much greater dividends. And the one who is not respectful to his parents cannot respect Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Don’t believe him. He can act like he’s doing it but he’s not sincere about it. And so we have to start out this very great climb, the sulam mutzav artza, a ladder standing on the ground, v’rosho magiya hashamayma, the top of the ladder goes all the way up to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
One who is not respectful to his parents cannot respect Hashem