Let’s face it.
Being young and athletic is revered in our culture.
Our kids worship great basketball players.
The Olympic athletes will return as heroes.
… And when we get a bit older. Start slowing down?
Can’t move around on the tennis court like we used to?
We deny it!
“I am not getting old!”
“I am old. Over the hill!”
… The Torah looks at it differently.
“In the presence of an old person you should rise.” (Leviticus, 19:32)
It’s a Torah obligation.
To stand up out of respect for an old person.
Any old person.
Not only for an extraordinary person. And not only for a highly educated person.
But for any decent human being.
What age qualifies for this honor?
Jewish law says seventy!
(So all those who have their “fifty something moments” and think that they’re “old”?
Judaism says your not!)
… It’s a tremendous lesson for all of us. And a great thing to teach our children.
An older person is not “over the hill.”
But someone we need to stand up for.
Because older people have something very valuable.
And no matter what their level of formal education? Or how slowly they may move?
They know so much. And can teach us so much!
… It happened when I was in Yeshiva.
Some of the students were very accomplished Torah scholars.
One day, an elderly man walked in. I think he thought it was a library!
And he started working on his taxes.After a few days, he noticed something that “blew his mind.”
These young “scholars” were standing up when he came in!
He asked “what’s the story?”
And they explained that it’s a Torah commandment.
…These scholars weren’t even sure that this man could read Hebrew.
But they did know that he could teach them a thing or two!
All the best,