while a picture can sometimes tell a thousand words, there are certain foreign language words that can speak volumes and for which there is no exact english equivalent. “nachas” is one of those words. for the most part, it is the feeling of pride and joy one has in the success of their children, grandchildren, etc.
“my son or daughter the doctor,” “my grandchild just got accepted to college,” “my son or daughter is getting married to a nice guy or girl,” and “i’m going to be a grandparent” are some of the types of outbursts of “nachas.” most of the time the pronouncements relate to a progeny’s personal achievement or the formation and development of a child’s own family. in sum, it is all about the next generation. judaism is based upon the notion to be fruitful and multiply. plotting and planning for the next generation is of one of the highest import.
one can argue that when a child honors their mother and father there will be some sense of “nachas” which will be felt by the parent or grandparent. for many, it is the sense that they have in part accomplished their mission of raising good children or grandchildren. to some degree, it is a reflection their parenting skills. this notion is embedded in the biblical commandments to pass the contents of the bible from generation to generation. for example, exodus 12:26, in which parents are instructors to their children as to the story of passover.
sometimes, there is the errant child or grandchild who may gone off of the road that their parents desired or envisioned. some of these children find their own course in life and find themselves as an accomplished or admirable person. with respect to what they have achieved in life, this too, can be a source of “nachas” for parents.
for non jews, “nachas” is essentially a “natural high” from the success of progeny. this “natural high” is good for one’s health. thus, honoring one’s mother and father has the power of providing their parents some good health and improved mental state.
in sum, “nachas” is a bi-product of the commandment to honor thy mother and father.