“You shall rise up before the aged, and honor the face of the elderly…” (Leviticus 19:32)
On a basic level, this verse commands that one pay certain respects to the aged and the elderly, such as standing in their presence or affording them other honors.
On a deeper level, this verse refers not only to the honors conferred upon another individual, but directs one’s behavior toward oneself. How so?
To “rise up before the aged” means that each person must elevate oneself while still young, utilizing one’s years of vitality to work on self-improvement and character refinement, growing in Torah wisdom and observance of the commandments, building one’s relationship with God and with one’s fellow man. In that way, one “honors” one’s old age, reaching one’s golden years in a state of refinement, holiness, and great personal achievement.
May we merit to actualize every opportunity of life to achieve our boundless potential for greatness!
Based on Shla”h, Parshas Kedoshim
(Image from ger leddin)