Giving honor to wrinkles

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

It's the day before Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for soldiers and terror victims). Here is a thought from Naama Lahav:

"Have you noticed that on Holocaust Remebrance Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day everyone looks for old people to talk to? Yes, old people. For schools, for radio and television interviews, for public gatherings. Someone who escaped from Treblinka, someone who guarded at night in the orchards of a kibbutz, someone who made aliyah as a ten-year-old girl under impossible circumstances. Suddenly a grieving mother from the Yom Kippur War or a pioneer who helped establish a settlement decades ago receive unsurpassable honor, respect, and attention. We sit in our living room or in our car or with our cell phone in hand and listen slack-jawed to unbelievable stories. We contemplate these individuals with astonishment -- they endured all of this? Such incredible lives, such unimaginable strength, how much we can learn from them. I think it is to these people that the Torah referred in parasha Kedoshim that we will soon be reading when it says: Vehadarta pnei zaken – you shall find beauty in the face of the elderly.

We have been acquainted with this mitzvah since kindergarten to the point where we have perhaps forgotten the meaning of the words. We are not enjoined 'to worry about your elders' or 'to have mercy upon your elders' or 'to give your seat on the bus to your elders.' You shall find beauty in the faces of your elders. Look at the majestic beauty in those faces. Make sure to honor, elevate and extol the elderly in our society. Give respect to every year they have lived and every wrinkle they display. And yet, must this respect be shown only on these special days, or is it possible for us to expand on it and demonstrate it throughout the year?".

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