Respecting Elders: Vayikra 19


I wanted to know why we respect our elders. One reason I heard is because they’re closer to Sinai, but why does that merit respect?



  1. The answer “that each generation is is a link closer to Sinai” is found in several places. We believe that Sinai was the defining moment for the Jewish Nation, and each generation that is closer to that moment is a generation that is closer to the clarity and the truth that Sinai represents.

    However, Rabbi S.R. Hirsch has a different explanation as to why the Torah commands us to honor the elderly. He writes that honoring the elderly is honoring the importance of experience. A person who honors the elderly is honoring the natural human perception that matures through the repeated events of life and nature. He who honors elders, honors wisdom and honors the understanding of life and nature that is obtained through God’s word. For God’s word reveals the Divine source and purpose of life and nature. This lends significance to our mission. We must pay tribute to both: the clear and circumspect human intellect, which matures through experience, and also to the spirit of God, which proceeds from the Torah. And wherever we find them, in the elderly and in the wise, we are to show homage by honoring them and rising for them.

    Best wishes from the Team