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Glorify the presence of the elderly

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

When speaking about the condition of hungry Holocaust survivors, we say that we must help them. When speaking about the elderly who need medicine, we say that we must provide them with assistance. All of this is appropriate, of course, but the Torah portion that we read on Shabbat, Parshat Kedoshim, demands a different sort of response from us: "You shall rise before the grey-haired and glorify the presence of the elderly."

Notice that we are commanded not only to have pity on an unfortunate eldery person, but to honor, to admire, to esteem, to glorify. This is a call to find glory in those advanced in years, to see the beauty in their wrinkles and their life experience, to learn from them and their life story.

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day), and Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Independence Day) are days when we hear from many elderly people, from different places and with different accents, suddenly privileged to tell their story to an audience that listens with rapt attention. The parasha reminds us to glorify these older, venerable individuals and their entire generation throughout the year.


The above words are dedicated to the memory of Daniel Golev, murdered yesterday in a terrorist attack in Ariel, who will not enjoy the privilege of reaching the age of grey-haired glory.


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