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New York - At What Age Is The Mitzvah Of 'Mipnei Saivah Takum'

Published on: July 6, 2009 10:38 AM
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Photo credit: The Jewish Museum, New YorkPhoto credit: The Jewish Museum, New York

New York - At what age do we go gray, or better yet, when do we go white? This is not just a theoretical discussion; it has practical halachic significance. There is a mitzvah in the Torah to rise before an older person and to respect Torah scholars. The mitzvah (see Sefer HaChinuch #407) includes rising in their presence. The source for this mitzvah is in Vayikra (19:32), “Before a saivah you should rise, and you shall honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your G-d; I am the L-rd.”

The Hebrew word “saivah” has been translated as everything from gray-haired, to white-haired, to hoary-headed, to elderly and aged. Most people think that the term saivah applies to someone who has reached the age of seventy years. This is based upon the Rosh in Kiddushin (33a). The Rashbatz (in Magein Avos Kiddushin 5:21), however, cites a Targum Unkelus that the age is actually sixty years old. The Minchas Chinuch (#407) writes that one should, in fact, be stringent and rise for someone who is sixty years old. The AriZal in the Shaar HaMitzvos on parashas Kedoshim is also of the opinion that the correct age is sixty.

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It is interesting to note that there is a correlation between the hair color and to whom the mitzvah applies. The hair color is a means by which we can tell whether the person is old. Indeed, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe (Responsa Tzemach Tzedek Yore Deah #93) forbids the shaving of the beard precisely for this reason because the mitzvah of rising before an older person would be negated, as we would be unable to tell who is old!

The mitzvah applies to all elderly people whether they are scholars or not. The matter was debated in the Talmud (Kiddushin 33a). The halachah was established in accordance with Issi Ben Yehudah who ruled that saivah includes all older people. The reason, presumably, is the life experience that the elderly person represents.

This mitzvah is an extremely important one, because whenever it is being fulfilled one fulfills another parallel mitzvah called vehalachta bidrachav—and you shall walk in His ways. The Talmud in Shabbos states that just as Hashem is merciful and kind so too must you be merciful and kind. The Jerusalem Talmud (Bikkurim 3:3) states that Hashem Himself honors the elderly. Since this is the case, we are walking in the ways of Hashem each time we perform this mitzvah.

There are numerous other questions about this mitzvah, however. What about an older woman? Does it apply during davening? Do elderly people have to rise for each other? Are there any exemptions?

As far as whether it applies to a woman, here is where we enter some controversy. The Sefer Chassidim (#578), which Ashkenazic Jews generally follow, writes that the obligation certainly does extend to an elderly woman as well. The Ben Ish Chai (parashas Ki Saitzei #16 in the second cycle), however, cites the AriZal that the mitzvah does not generally apply to an older woman unless her husband is a Torah scholar.

Does it apply between one elderly person and another? The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah siman 254) indicates that full standing does not apply, however they should honor and or acknowledge one another in some form. (See also response Michtam LeDovid #54.) It should also be noted that the Chayei Adam writes that the mitzvah applies to an elderly gentile as well.

As far as exemptions go, if one is in the employ of another and the rising will, even temporarily, affect his work for his employer, the halachah is that he should not rise for the older person.

Indeed, the mitzvah does not apply if there involves a loss of money in its performance (see Kiddushin 33a). Some poskim have ruled that on account of this, one is not obligated to give up one’s seat to an elderly gentleman on a bus, train, or subway, since having a seat is an item of value that one would pay at least a prutah for. They do write that it is a midas chassidus—a praiseworthy act. It would seem, however, that this may not be correct. Offering one’s seat perforce involves other acts which involve proper behavior that we are obliged to perform even when there is a monetary loss. Also, not giving up one’s seat is the antithesis of vehalachta bidrachav, aside from being a chillul Hashem.

What about during davening? The Birkei Yoseph (Y.D. 244) rules that one must stand up even during davening. The Talmud (Kiddushin 33b) does tell us that when one is holding a sefer Torah, however, the mitzvah does not apply, using the expression, “Does a sefer Torah stand before those that study it?”

What happens when you are not sure whether or not the elderly gentleman has reached the age of seventy? Rav Ovadiah Yoseph (Responsa Yabia Omer Yoreh Deah 3:13) rules that since it is a doubt in a Biblical mitzvah, the principle of safek de’oraisa lechumrah (we are stringent in regard to any doubt regarding a Torah mitzvah) comes into play and we assume that he is in fact seventy. Rabbi Yoseph rules, however, that for the stringency of rising for someone who is sixty years old we are not stringent when we are not sure.

One final thought. The Zohar in parashas Pinchas (page 227b) has a unique reading of this posuk in Vayikra: “Before the gray hair, arise.” Arise in doing teshuvah, repentance, before you reach the age of having gray hairs.


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1

 Jul 06, 2009 at 09:55 AM Anonymous Says:

I wonder if the age of an older person is not changed today. The life expectancy in previous century wash with 40 years less than now. Every mitzvah have to make sans.

2

 Jul 06, 2009 at 10:15 AM Satmar Man Says:

My father, who was VERY machmir on this matter, taught me:

Rise for ANY talmid chuchom even if he is only a year older than you
Rise for ANY old person, male or female, Jew or Gentile.
On this, he was machmir in this way. He said that a "partial rising" did not count if the older person could not see it. He said that if the person is looking at you and will see the clear partial rise, it is okay. But, if the person is not looking, you must stand entirely.
He also told me that if the person is for sure 70, or 60 plus a talmid chuchom (or wife of a talmid chuchom), or my Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva, or someone to whom I have to certainly give extra kovod, then I must stand up all the way even if the person is looking right at me, and even if he makes with his hand to stay seated.
He also told me to not be careless with giving kovod to non-frum people or goyim, and that it was never my business to judge people negatively. So, no matter what negative thing I may know, or believe I know about someone, I must always both show kovod, and FEEL kovod for him/her.

My father would also get up for any person who was a rabbi of a shul, even if it was not the kind of shul we went to, and even if the rabbi was in his 20's. He told me that if a minyan of Yidden hired this man as their rov, it means he deserves our giving him kovod!
His words were, "I don't care if he is a 23-year-old rabbi who wears a 2-inch kippah seruga, if he is the rabbi of a shul, even the smallest shul, you stand up for him. A minyan of Yidden gave him the kovod of selecting him, and that is enough for us to need to respect him."

Also, my father, A"H, was very firm about ALWAYS giving up a seat for an old person or a pregnant woman or anyone who appeared ill. He did so, even when he was in HIS 70's.

3

 Jul 06, 2009 at 10:18 AM Anonymous Says:

I would stand up for a holocaust survivor even he was only 30 years old

4

 Jul 06, 2009 at 10:40 AM Gefilte Fish Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

I wonder if the age of an older person is not changed today. The life expectancy in previous century wash with 40 years less than now. Every mitzvah have to make sans.

The life expectancy in the times of moshe rabainu was over one hundred, does the mitzva make "sans" now?

5

 Jul 06, 2009 at 11:15 AM Anonymous Says:

No Holocaust survivor is less than 65 years old.

6

 Jul 06, 2009 at 11:36 AM shimon Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

I wonder if the age of an older person is not changed today. The life expectancy in previous century wash with 40 years less than now. Every mitzvah have to make sans.

Not really. That would include child mortality. The real age wasn't much different from ours (maybe a bit lower): Vilna Gaon 77, Noda Bihudah 80, Tzemach Tzedek 76, Chasam Sofer 77, Divrei Chaim 83, Rav Hirsch 80, Netziv 87, Ben Ish Chai 77 etc etc.

7

 Jul 06, 2009 at 11:32 AM Anonymous Says:

Stop trying to develop a bright line test...there is none an these efforts to derive an age from talmud or chazal are really meaningless. Its a matter of common sense and midos. If someone physically appears in need of support, whateve his/her age, then get up and give them a seat. If someone who has acomplished much in daas torajh or maasim tovim ans warrants respect, than again, stand for him/her without regard to their age. Don't try to make this a mechanical test. It depends on the circumstances.

8

 Jul 06, 2009 at 10:53 AM Z. N. Mishegoss Says:

A very interesting point for me, as I was prematurely gray. I started with a shock of gray hair in the front when I was 23, and by the time I was 36, I was totally gray. I'd feel strange because when I'd take my kids out people would say, "Isn't it nice to go with zayde?" to them?

9

 Jul 06, 2009 at 12:03 PM Chaim S. Says:

The Imrei Emes of Ger Ztzl had a very apropos reading of this posuk. Mipnei saivoh tokum v'yoreiso m'elokecho, giving honor to elderly people will bring yiraas shomayim.

10

 Jul 06, 2009 at 11:57 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Stop trying to develop a bright line test...there is none an these efforts to derive an age from talmud or chazal are really meaningless. Its a matter of common sense and midos. If someone physically appears in need of support, whateve his/her age, then get up and give them a seat. If someone who has acomplished much in daas torajh or maasim tovim ans warrants respect, than again, stand for him/her without regard to their age. Don't try to make this a mechanical test. It depends on the circumstances.

Ani Maamin Be'emunah Sh'leimah She'zois Hatorah Loi S'hay Muchlefes... No matter the circumstances... Torah is Nitzchis... Yes, you gotta give Kovud to anyone older than sixty whether he needs it or not, whether he's got ten more years to live or fifty! No difference!!!

11

 Jul 06, 2009 at 12:49 PM Anonymous Says:

From reading these posts, except for #2 and another one or two, it appears that we want clear guidelines to make sure we do not, G-d forbid, trouble ourselves when there is no chiyuv. After all, who wants to stand up unless it is a chiyuv? It is a pain. Who is this other man that I should stand up for him? Just because he is 40 years older than I am? Just because he learned something? Silly, all of it.
So, just tell me exactly when I MUST stand up, so I don't need to do it otherwise.

12

 Jul 06, 2009 at 12:49 PM Babishka Says:

My husband came home one day very upset because people (Jews and non-Jews) were opening doors for him, offering him their place in line, offering him a seat, etc.

He said, can't they see how young my face is, I have no lines!

I said, all they see is your white beard and your walking cane.

13

 Jul 06, 2009 at 12:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

Ani Maamin Be'emunah Sh'leimah She'zois Hatorah Loi S'hay Muchlefes... No matter the circumstances... Torah is Nitzchis... Yes, you gotta give Kovud to anyone older than sixty whether he needs it or not, whether he's got ten more years to live or fifty! No difference!!!

You can stick you head in a hole and ignore the real world...if someone gets on a bus or train younger than 60 years old and needs a seat, I will get up immediately without worrying about what the torah says. This is just common sense and derech ereetz.

14

 Jul 06, 2009 at 01:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

You can stick you head in a hole and ignore the real world...if someone gets on a bus or train younger than 60 years old and needs a seat, I will get up immediately without worrying about what the torah says. This is just common sense and derech ereetz.

That has nothing to do with this post. You want to give away your seat, by all means, go ahead and do it. Be it a for a 13 year old bochur or even a child, for that matter. We are talking here regarding the halacha of the Torah, Mipnei Seivah Takim. Don't mix your middos toivois with Mitzvois D'Oiraysoh.

15

 Jul 06, 2009 at 01:46 PM Anonymous Says:

."Don't mix your middos toivois with Mitzvois D'Oiraysoh."

With your warped vision of dass torah, if a cripple gets on the bus and I know he doesn't fit the definition of a "60 year old seivah" because he is only 59 years old I would continue chatting away to my friends and not give him a seat. Hashem would expect you to get up and give him a seat whatever his age.

16

 Jul 06, 2009 at 02:30 PM Anonymous Says:

I always wondered if a 59 1/2 year old needs to stand for a regular (non talmid chachom) 60 year old.

17

 Jul 06, 2009 at 03:40 PM AH Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

."Don't mix your middos toivois with Mitzvois D'Oiraysoh."

With your warped vision of dass torah, if a cripple gets on the bus and I know he doesn't fit the definition of a "60 year old seivah" because he is only 59 years old I would continue chatting away to my friends and not give him a seat. Hashem would expect you to get up and give him a seat whatever his age.

So in other words, you're saying that you don't have middos tovos? If it's not required by halachah, you won't be bothered? On the contrary, #14 has it exactly right: by all means you should have the good middos to stand up and give your seat to anyone who needs it - but because of basic derech eretz (which "precedes Torah") rather than because of the specific mitzvah of standing up for the elderly.

18

 Jul 06, 2009 at 04:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

I would stand up for a holocaust survivor even he was only 30 years old

Today only 30 years old how is that.

19

 Jul 06, 2009 at 04:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Satmar Man Says:

My father, who was VERY machmir on this matter, taught me:

Rise for ANY talmid chuchom even if he is only a year older than you
Rise for ANY old person, male or female, Jew or Gentile.
On this, he was machmir in this way. He said that a "partial rising" did not count if the older person could not see it. He said that if the person is looking at you and will see the clear partial rise, it is okay. But, if the person is not looking, you must stand entirely.
He also told me that if the person is for sure 70, or 60 plus a talmid chuchom (or wife of a talmid chuchom), or my Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva, or someone to whom I have to certainly give extra kovod, then I must stand up all the way even if the person is looking right at me, and even if he makes with his hand to stay seated.
He also told me to not be careless with giving kovod to non-frum people or goyim, and that it was never my business to judge people negatively. So, no matter what negative thing I may know, or believe I know about someone, I must always both show kovod, and FEEL kovod for him/her.

My father would also get up for any person who was a rabbi of a shul, even if it was not the kind of shul we went to, and even if the rabbi was in his 20's. He told me that if a minyan of Yidden hired this man as their rov, it means he deserves our giving him kovod!
His words were, "I don't care if he is a 23-year-old rabbi who wears a 2-inch kippah seruga, if he is the rabbi of a shul, even the smallest shul, you stand up for him. A minyan of Yidden gave him the kovod of selecting him, and that is enough for us to need to respect him."

Also, my father, A"H, was very firm about ALWAYS giving up a seat for an old person or a pregnant woman or anyone who appeared ill. He did so, even when he was in HIS 70's.

Wow, your father was a good man, I surmise that according his ideology, he would think twice before spitting on a women news reporter.

20

 Jul 06, 2009 at 04:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

Ani Maamin Be'emunah Sh'leimah She'zois Hatorah Loi S'hay Muchlefes... No matter the circumstances... Torah is Nitzchis... Yes, you gotta give Kovud to anyone older than sixty whether he needs it or not, whether he's got ten more years to live or fifty! No difference!!!

That is so frum of you!

21

 Jul 06, 2009 at 04:36 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

You can stick you head in a hole and ignore the real world...if someone gets on a bus or train younger than 60 years old and needs a seat, I will get up immediately without worrying about what the torah says. This is just common sense and derech ereetz.

And when you want to do an Aveirah, you also won't worry what the Torah says, like the whole world.

Derocheho Darkei Noi’am Vechol Nesuvoseho Sholom.

Chochmah (common sense) Ain Kahn.

22

 Jul 06, 2009 at 04:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
shimon Says:

Not really. That would include child mortality. The real age wasn't much different from ours (maybe a bit lower): Vilna Gaon 77, Noda Bihudah 80, Tzemach Tzedek 76, Chasam Sofer 77, Divrei Chaim 83, Rav Hirsch 80, Netziv 87, Ben Ish Chai 77 etc etc.

I hope you have more statistics than the ages of eight gedolai yisrael as proof that the real average age, factoring out infant mortality, has not changed, because the data everyone else uses tell a much different story.

In the middle ages, roughly half the population died before the age of 16. Those who made it to 16 had a life expectancy of at most 60. (Prior to the Industrial Revolution a staggering 75% of London's children dies by the age of 5! hashem yerachaim, but that seems to have been unusual even for the eighteenth century.)

By 1850, a boy who made it to ten years old on average lived to the age of 58 and if he made it to twenty he could expect to see the ripe old age of 60. (Girls who lived to ten could expect to live a year less but by the twenty the ALE had evened out.

By 1890, the ALE had only increased by a little less than six months.

The situation improved by about 10% over the next three decades but the big gains did not come until after WWI and the end of the flu of 1918.

Take a look at pictures of famalies from the turn of the century and you will see that sixty year olds were OLD.

23

 Jul 06, 2009 at 03:50 PM Gefilte Fish Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

I always wondered if a 59 1/2 year old needs to stand for a regular (non talmid chachom) 60 year old.

I would get bored of constantly thinking that thought, I wouldn't be able to old it up more than a few weeks...

24

 Jul 06, 2009 at 05:38 PM shimon Says:

Reply to #22  
Anonymous Says:

I hope you have more statistics than the ages of eight gedolai yisrael as proof that the real average age, factoring out infant mortality, has not changed, because the data everyone else uses tell a much different story.

In the middle ages, roughly half the population died before the age of 16. Those who made it to 16 had a life expectancy of at most 60. (Prior to the Industrial Revolution a staggering 75% of London's children dies by the age of 5! hashem yerachaim, but that seems to have been unusual even for the eighteenth century.)

By 1850, a boy who made it to ten years old on average lived to the age of 58 and if he made it to twenty he could expect to see the ripe old age of 60. (Girls who lived to ten could expect to live a year less but by the twenty the ALE had evened out.

By 1890, the ALE had only increased by a little less than six months.

The situation improved by about 10% over the next three decades but the big gains did not come until after WWI and the end of the flu of 1918.

Take a look at pictures of famalies from the turn of the century and you will see that sixty year olds were OLD.

1. Eight gedolim ALL from 19th century. This was a reaction on the poster talking about "previous century".

2. We have much more biography data on gedolim than on hamon am. This doesn't mean that gedolim lived always longer compared to others.

So we have here a pasuk from tehillim ("y'mei shnoteinu bahem shivim shana v'im bigvurot shmonim shana") and historical data on gedolim (not just 19th cent., lets look for example at 16th: Beis Yosef 87, Maharal late 80s, Shloh H"K 65, Kli Yakar 69, the Levush 72, R'Chaim Vital 77, Maharshal 64.

Would you say this is all anecdotal? Yes, the chances to live loger are much higher today but claiming that to meet a man of 65 was unusual for any era is not accurate.

25

 Jul 06, 2009 at 05:26 PM FVNMS Says:

Reply to #4  
Gefilte Fish Says:

The life expectancy in the times of moshe rabainu was over one hundred, does the mitzva make "sans" now?

As a society, sadly, the things that matter to us and we look up to are superficial. We look at coolness, looks, wittiness, money, political clout, etc. Wisdom and accomplishment mean nothing. How bad is it? Even elderly people are too obsessed with youthful appearance to appreciate being treated with respect.

26

 Jul 06, 2009 at 05:21 PM FVNMS Says:

Reply to #4  
Gefilte Fish Says:

The life expectancy in the times of moshe rabainu was over one hundred, does the mitzva make "sans" now?

What did this person say that annoyed you so? You can show kovod to others not just by standing up for them but also not putting down not being able to speak correct English. Maybe this person is in Israel or Swtzerland.

27

 Jul 06, 2009 at 06:14 PM Satman Man Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

Wow, your father was a good man, I surmise that according his ideology, he would think twice before spitting on a women news reporter.

Spitting on a news reporter? It is difficult to see how anyone would do that. The gender of the reporter would be irrelevant.
In fact, no matter how upsetting a reporter would be, why could one not maintain a respectful disposition?
Man/Woman... Jew/Gentile... Frum/Non-Frum why treat any of them disrespectfully?

Just remember, though, in any group there are people whose behavior is poorly under control, or controled by poor judgement.

I walked thorugh a park last year on my way to shul on Shabbos. I was walking with another Chassidishe man. We passed a few people working out in the park.
I made the effort to nod my head, and greet each one with a "good morning" and a smile. He looked at me in shock, and looked away as if I had done something crazy.

When we got to shul we had slight "words." He wondered why I was BOTHERING to talk to goyim. I accused him of being rude to Hashem's creations who were likely good people.

But, I went on to explain to him that his rudeness would be remembered by those people forever. There was no excuse for it. But, all it takes is one idiot in a group of 1,000 to make people think all of the group are idiots. I went on and told him that HIS behavior would cause others to think I, and other Chassidim, were rude.
He did not get it. Those kinds do not get it. But, they are not the rule. They are the exception. More of us are like me.

Stay for Shabbos or a week among Chassidim, and you will see those who are rude and/or ill mannered are truly a minority.

28

 Jul 06, 2009 at 07:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Mipnei sayvoh has nothing to do with giving away your seat. There is a chiyuv to stand even when the person does not need a seat. The chiyuv is to honor the "sayvah" by standing in his presence. Do not mix issues.

29

 Jul 06, 2009 at 08:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
shimon Says:

1. Eight gedolim ALL from 19th century. This was a reaction on the poster talking about "previous century".

2. We have much more biography data on gedolim than on hamon am. This doesn't mean that gedolim lived always longer compared to others.

So we have here a pasuk from tehillim ("y'mei shnoteinu bahem shivim shana v'im bigvurot shmonim shana") and historical data on gedolim (not just 19th cent., lets look for example at 16th: Beis Yosef 87, Maharal late 80s, Shloh H"K 65, Kli Yakar 69, the Levush 72, R'Chaim Vital 77, Maharshal 64.

Would you say this is all anecdotal? Yes, the chances to live loger are much higher today but claiming that to meet a man of 65 was unusual for any era is not accurate.

Agreed. Both were mistaken.

The difference in ALE between the 19th century and today is neither forty years as asserted by #1 nor 'maybe a little bit lower' as claimed by #6.

Not that either had intent to do harm but this is a perfect example of the REAL danger of the internet. Misinformation now travels at the speed of FiOS.

30

 Jul 06, 2009 at 08:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

Mipnei sayvoh has nothing to do with giving away your seat. There is a chiyuv to stand even when the person does not need a seat. The chiyuv is to honor the "sayvah" by standing in his presence. Do not mix issues.

So I assume you were stanidng out of respect for me when you typed your posting.

31

 Jul 07, 2009 at 06:00 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #30  
Anonymous Says:

So I assume you were stanidng out of respect for me when you typed your posting.

I believe "mipnai" requires being fact-to-face ... physically in the same room, not online... ROFL

32

 Jul 07, 2009 at 03:51 AM matzahlocal101 Says:

"Indeed, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe (Responsa Tzemach Tzedek Yore Deah #93) forbids the shaving of the beard precisely for this reason because the mitzvah of rising before an older person would be negated, as we would be unable to tell who is old!"

I have just breezed through the first 5 pages of the tshuva, The Tzemamch Tzedek is concerned with the Issurei di'oireisa of ba'al tashchis (which according to some opinions would include things other than a razor if the result was the same and it is surely so di'rababan) Lo silbash, (just as the chinuch []and the Chofetz Chaim include lo silbash and and chukos ha'akum in the shaving of lo sashchiso pi'as zikaneche), The Chofetz Chaim also stated the REQUIREMENT of a yid to have a beard and payis in Zachor limiriyam, in nidchai yisroel, in sefer hamitzvos hakatzer (mentioned above), in Machaneh Yisroel, and he wrote a whole sefer on how important it is for a Yid to have a beard called Tiferes ha'odom, and along comes Rabbi Yair Hoffman selling modern orthodox propaganda and he writes the Tzemech Tzedek's only problem with shaving was mipnai Saivah takum. I urge all VIN readers to reveiw the Tshuva inside so they can fully appreciate Rabbi Hoffman's amharatzus.

33

 Jul 07, 2009 at 03:04 AM me Says:

Reply to #25  
FVNMS Says:

As a society, sadly, the things that matter to us and we look up to are superficial. We look at coolness, looks, wittiness, money, political clout, etc. Wisdom and accomplishment mean nothing. How bad is it? Even elderly people are too obsessed with youthful appearance to appreciate being treated with respect.

That's good. One of the simanim "of "ikvasa di'moshicha" is" Na'ar pinai zaken yalbeenu.

34

 Jul 07, 2009 at 08:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #32  
matzahlocal101 Says:

"Indeed, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe (Responsa Tzemach Tzedek Yore Deah #93) forbids the shaving of the beard precisely for this reason because the mitzvah of rising before an older person would be negated, as we would be unable to tell who is old!"

I have just breezed through the first 5 pages of the tshuva, The Tzemamch Tzedek is concerned with the Issurei di'oireisa of ba'al tashchis (which according to some opinions would include things other than a razor if the result was the same and it is surely so di'rababan) Lo silbash, (just as the chinuch []and the Chofetz Chaim include lo silbash and and chukos ha'akum in the shaving of lo sashchiso pi'as zikaneche), The Chofetz Chaim also stated the REQUIREMENT of a yid to have a beard and payis in Zachor limiriyam, in nidchai yisroel, in sefer hamitzvos hakatzer (mentioned above), in Machaneh Yisroel, and he wrote a whole sefer on how important it is for a Yid to have a beard called Tiferes ha'odom, and along comes Rabbi Yair Hoffman selling modern orthodox propaganda and he writes the Tzemech Tzedek's only problem with shaving was mipnai Saivah takum. I urge all VIN readers to reveiw the Tshuva inside so they can fully appreciate Rabbi Hoffman's amharatzus.

Whoa! Couldn't you have written essentially the same response without getting personally insulting?

TI might be mistaken, but I think the Chofetz Chaim who you claim you are following in growing a beard like a yid also wrote a few articles about how to speak like a yid.

35

 Jul 07, 2009 at 10:58 AM shimon Says:

Reply to #29  
Anonymous Says:

Agreed. Both were mistaken.

The difference in ALE between the 19th century and today is neither forty years as asserted by #1 nor 'maybe a little bit lower' as claimed by #6.

Not that either had intent to do harm but this is a perfect example of the REAL danger of the internet. Misinformation now travels at the speed of FiOS.

Please, stop repeating yourself and try to address my point. How come the presented data do not match you conclusions (which are by ALL means anonymous generalizaitons since you failed to qoute even the geographic limitations of the numbers you presented), i.e. was it a miracle that all these rabbis lived what seems to be unbelievably long for that time?

36

 Jul 07, 2009 at 11:53 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
shimon Says:

Please, stop repeating yourself and try to address my point. How come the presented data do not match you conclusions (which are by ALL means anonymous generalizaitons since you failed to qoute even the geographic limitations of the numbers you presented), i.e. was it a miracle that all these rabbis lived what seems to be unbelievably long for that time?

I had not realized what you had intended to ask.

The statistics i cited are based on study of several studies of life spans. As record keeping was at best spotty for most of history reliable exact figures are hard to come by. The ones i provided are the rough average of experts' opinions and within the range of all the one's I have seen.

As for the longevity of the eight gedolai yisrael you mentioned earlier, far be from me to catagorize anything as miracle/non-miracle. History is so replete with gedolai yisrael being blessed with long years, or more correctly, US being blessed with having them for so many years, that it might be considered derech hatevah by now. I have no idea.

Would the fact that reb moshe, reb yaakov, rav shach, and a huge percentage of gedaolim in the previous generation lived twenty years longer than the ALE, for people of their generation to the point that it was against all odds that so many of them lived for so long be considered a miracle? A hidden one perhaps? Or simply the result of living every minute of every day according to the world's blue-print? I have no idea.

The frequency of gedolai yisrael living for years and decades longer than the average person of their time, which continues into our time, ba"h is certainly one of the greatest gifts the RBS"O has bestowed upon us, halavai vitah, and one we should greatly appreciate and savor.

Is it important whether or not it is a miracle? If we make the most of having them amongst us the answer, whether miracle or not, won't take away from what we gain and if we fail to take advantage of having them for so long the answer, miracle or not, will not make our foolishness any less, so I don't really understand the importance of whether one considers it a miracle.

37

 Jul 07, 2009 at 12:40 PM Shua Says:

Reply to #2  
Satmar Man Says:

My father, who was VERY machmir on this matter, taught me:

Rise for ANY talmid chuchom even if he is only a year older than you
Rise for ANY old person, male or female, Jew or Gentile.
On this, he was machmir in this way. He said that a "partial rising" did not count if the older person could not see it. He said that if the person is looking at you and will see the clear partial rise, it is okay. But, if the person is not looking, you must stand entirely.
He also told me that if the person is for sure 70, or 60 plus a talmid chuchom (or wife of a talmid chuchom), or my Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva, or someone to whom I have to certainly give extra kovod, then I must stand up all the way even if the person is looking right at me, and even if he makes with his hand to stay seated.
He also told me to not be careless with giving kovod to non-frum people or goyim, and that it was never my business to judge people negatively. So, no matter what negative thing I may know, or believe I know about someone, I must always both show kovod, and FEEL kovod for him/her.

My father would also get up for any person who was a rabbi of a shul, even if it was not the kind of shul we went to, and even if the rabbi was in his 20's. He told me that if a minyan of Yidden hired this man as their rov, it means he deserves our giving him kovod!
His words were, "I don't care if he is a 23-year-old rabbi who wears a 2-inch kippah seruga, if he is the rabbi of a shul, even the smallest shul, you stand up for him. A minyan of Yidden gave him the kovod of selecting him, and that is enough for us to need to respect him."

Also, my father, A"H, was very firm about ALWAYS giving up a seat for an old person or a pregnant woman or anyone who appeared ill. He did so, even when he was in HIS 70's.

Satmar Man: I thank you for sharing the teachings of your saintly father, z"l. Rare is the comment on VIN that is so moving and inspiring. I pray that your father has many children -- like yourself -- and grandchildren who live his derech and who, in his merit, are a source of pride to all of Klal Yisrael.

38

 Jul 07, 2009 at 12:28 PM Shua Says:

Reply to #32  
matzahlocal101 Says:

"Indeed, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe (Responsa Tzemach Tzedek Yore Deah #93) forbids the shaving of the beard precisely for this reason because the mitzvah of rising before an older person would be negated, as we would be unable to tell who is old!"

I have just breezed through the first 5 pages of the tshuva, The Tzemamch Tzedek is concerned with the Issurei di'oireisa of ba'al tashchis (which according to some opinions would include things other than a razor if the result was the same and it is surely so di'rababan) Lo silbash, (just as the chinuch []and the Chofetz Chaim include lo silbash and and chukos ha'akum in the shaving of lo sashchiso pi'as zikaneche), The Chofetz Chaim also stated the REQUIREMENT of a yid to have a beard and payis in Zachor limiriyam, in nidchai yisroel, in sefer hamitzvos hakatzer (mentioned above), in Machaneh Yisroel, and he wrote a whole sefer on how important it is for a Yid to have a beard called Tiferes ha'odom, and along comes Rabbi Yair Hoffman selling modern orthodox propaganda and he writes the Tzemech Tzedek's only problem with shaving was mipnai Saivah takum. I urge all VIN readers to reveiw the Tshuva inside so they can fully appreciate Rabbi Hoffman's amharatzus.

Anonymous #34 wrote: "Whoa! Couldn't you have written essentially the same response without getting personally insulting?" I thank him for expressing this sentiment. Matzahlocal101, your personal insult against Rabbi Hoffman put your entire comment under a cloud of suspicion.

Rabbi Hoffman could not possibly be "selling modern orthodox propaganda" as he is a musmach of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim and a talmid of its late Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav HaGaon Alter Henoch Leibowitz, z"tl (who was himself a great-grand nephew of the Chofetz Chaim). Your reference to Rabbi Hoffman as MO is ludicrous.

Rabbi Hoffman researches and writes about halacha on a regular basis. Your snide comment about his "amharatzus" tells more about yourself than him. The fact is that other rabbonim do take issue with some of Rabbi Hoffman's conclusions (as they have every right to), but when THEY do so (unlike yourself) it is l'Shem Shamayim, with derech eretz and kavod for Rabbi Hoffman's intellect and depth of learning.

And no...Rabbi Hoffman is neither a relative, a personal friend, nor my poseik. But I do know his sterling reputation as a talmid chochom from my own days in Chofetz Chaim yeshiva and from the neighborhood where we both live. I could not sit silently in the face of this nasty smear. Matzahlocal101...so long as you do not ask mechilah of Rabbi Hoffman you have got a serious problem this Yom Kippur. That's the emes.

39

 Jul 07, 2009 at 01:05 PM shimon Says:

Okay, forget the word "miracle", how about an "anomality"?

I have my family tree going back to early 1700s. I did the same for my wifes family (in some branches). The normal age was nowhere around 60s... Much higher. I have access to many "pinchas buchs" of Hungarian jews going back to 1800s. Same resluts. What I'm saying is that today you have much higher chances to die on "natural" causes (i.e. not childbirth, not flu, not war). But those who die on natural causes don't live that much longer then in previous centuries (yes, they DO live somehow longer, its not twice as much or anything close to it).

40

 Jul 07, 2009 at 01:05 PM Shua Says:

Reply to #12  
Babishka Says:

My husband came home one day very upset because people (Jews and non-Jews) were opening doors for him, offering him their place in line, offering him a seat, etc.

He said, can't they see how young my face is, I have no lines!

I said, all they see is your white beard and your walking cane.

Babishka: You certainly brought a smile to my face today with this anecdote about your husband. Simply delightful.

Two Chanukah's ago I had the zchus to be in Eretz Yisrael. When I boarded a very crowded bus from Petah Tikva to Yerushalayim an obviously chiloni young woman stood up to offer me her seat (I was only 57 at the time, but gray-haired and black-hatted). I was mortified. Unable to speak Ivrit, I couldn't protest and say: "Hey, I'm NOT even sixty yet...don't do this to me!" Instead, I politely shook my head "no thank you" and stood the whole way back. My only consolation: how proud I was of this young woman for her demonstration of chesed to an... uh... 'older' chareidi man. This Bas Yisrael instilled in me a feeling that there is hope for us yet across the chiloni/chareidi divide. Am Yisrael Chai!

41

 Jul 07, 2009 at 01:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #38  
Shua Says:

Anonymous #34 wrote: "Whoa! Couldn't you have written essentially the same response without getting personally insulting?" I thank him for expressing this sentiment. Matzahlocal101, your personal insult against Rabbi Hoffman put your entire comment under a cloud of suspicion.

Rabbi Hoffman could not possibly be "selling modern orthodox propaganda" as he is a musmach of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim and a talmid of its late Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav HaGaon Alter Henoch Leibowitz, z"tl (who was himself a great-grand nephew of the Chofetz Chaim). Your reference to Rabbi Hoffman as MO is ludicrous.

Rabbi Hoffman researches and writes about halacha on a regular basis. Your snide comment about his "amharatzus" tells more about yourself than him. The fact is that other rabbonim do take issue with some of Rabbi Hoffman's conclusions (as they have every right to), but when THEY do so (unlike yourself) it is l'Shem Shamayim, with derech eretz and kavod for Rabbi Hoffman's intellect and depth of learning.

And no...Rabbi Hoffman is neither a relative, a personal friend, nor my poseik. But I do know his sterling reputation as a talmid chochom from my own days in Chofetz Chaim yeshiva and from the neighborhood where we both live. I could not sit silently in the face of this nasty smear. Matzahlocal101...so long as you do not ask mechilah of Rabbi Hoffman you have got a serious problem this Yom Kippur. That's the emes.

"Your reference to Rabbi Hoffman as MO is ludicrous. "

And if he were Modern Orthodox, az vos? Then it would be OK to insult him? Then he could not be a talmid chochom with a sterling reputation?

You bought right into #34's drivel.

42

 Jul 07, 2009 at 01:36 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #40  
Shua Says:

Babishka: You certainly brought a smile to my face today with this anecdote about your husband. Simply delightful.

Two Chanukah's ago I had the zchus to be in Eretz Yisrael. When I boarded a very crowded bus from Petah Tikva to Yerushalayim an obviously chiloni young woman stood up to offer me her seat (I was only 57 at the time, but gray-haired and black-hatted). I was mortified. Unable to speak Ivrit, I couldn't protest and say: "Hey, I'm NOT even sixty yet...don't do this to me!" Instead, I politely shook my head "no thank you" and stood the whole way back. My only consolation: how proud I was of this young woman for her demonstration of chesed to an... uh... 'older' chareidi man. This Bas Yisrael instilled in me a feeling that there is hope for us yet across the chiloni/chareidi divide. Am Yisrael Chai!

It goes without saying; Freiya Yiden are also Einiklach of Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yakov. There is hope indeed; Teichen Treren had been shed by their/our ancestors, and not one has gotten lost.

43

 Jul 07, 2009 at 02:05 PM Shua Says:

Reply to #41  
Anonymous Says:

"Your reference to Rabbi Hoffman as MO is ludicrous. "

And if he were Modern Orthodox, az vos? Then it would be OK to insult him? Then he could not be a talmid chochom with a sterling reputation?

You bought right into #34's drivel.

>"And if he were Modern Orthodox, az vos? Then it would be OK to insult him?

>>Chas V'Shalom. Absolutely not! I apologize if I left the (mistaken) impression that I was in any way derogating Modern Orthodox rabbis. As a ba'al teshuva my return to Yiddishkeit was in the Modern Orthodox derech. Although I personally moved to the right over the years, I retain the greatest respect and fondness for my early MO teachers and mentors. Today, when Rav Schachter shlita, and Rav Belsky shlita, appear on a panel together, it gives me great nachas and hope.

My only point was to object to a person ignorantly pigeonholing Rabbi Hoffman into a derech in which he does not belong, and then proceeding to personally insult his chochma because of it. Further, I hope that I myself did not "insult" Matzahlocal101, but only did my duty to give tochacha in an instance where (I hope most would agree) tochacha was justified.

Once again, I apologize if I gave any other impression.

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