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Mitzvah #17

Mitzvah #17

Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (the concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim

This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today

First Section – the Positive Commandments

17. It is a positive commandment to rise before an elderly person or to honor a wise man by rising for him

As it says in Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:32, “Before an elder (seivah) you shall rise and you shall honor the presence of an elder (zakein).” Seivah – this is a person that is elderly even if he is not wise. A person, even if he is a young wise person, is obligated to stand in front of him, but he is not obligated to rise to his full height in front of him, only enough to honor him. Zakein – means Zeh Sh’Kaneh Chachmah (this one acquired wisdom). Even if he is a young Torah scholar, one must rise in front of the Torah scholar to his full height from four amos (approximately six feet) before he reaches you until he has left your presence. Also, a person is obligated to give honor to his Rabbi, even if he has not learned most of his learning from him. And if a Rabbi is willing to overlook his honor, one is not obligated. It is a great sin for one to disgrace a Torah scholar or to hate them. All that disgrace Torah scholars do not get a share in the World to Come.

This mitzvah is obligated in all places and at all times, for men and for women.

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