3

This question is not about the cultural norms, but about the Tanachic sources for that.

The Gemmorah in Kiddushin 32b discusses the subject of honoring the elders. It questions the definition of an elder but does not question the fact that תקום means respect, unlike in many other places where the Gemmorah asks "where [in the scriptures] do we learn that from".

I tried to gather the appearances of the word לקום in the Torah, but couldn't find one that clearly points to a sign of honoring, but the opposite, for example: Kayin - "ויהי בהיותם בשדה ויקם קין אל הבל אחיו ויהרגהו", Jacob said "ויאמר יעקב אל אביו אנכי עשו בכרך עשיתי כאשר דברת אלי קום נא שבה ואכלה", Moses said "ויהי בנסע הארן ויאמר משה קומה יהוה ויפצו איבי". Standing up is clearly not a sign of respect.

What can be the Biblical source for equaling קימה to כבוד and why did Torah use קימה for that Mitzvah?

  • 1
    Don’t limit this to honoring elders - honoring parents and Talmidei Chachamim as well. – DonielF Aug 15 '18 at 0:17
  • If there is a way to expand this question to include a source for standing during tefilla it will be even more useful – Josh K Aug 15 '18 at 1:28
  • 1
    Hmm, obviously the pasuk says to stand before an elder. So the Torah is obviously ascribing positive value to standing? – David Kenner Aug 15 '18 at 3:55
  • @DonielF Strangely it is limited to elders because it seems that תקום לאפוקי כבוד. In other words the obligation for parents is serving them while the elders only honoring (הידור) them. – Al Berko Aug 15 '18 at 17:31
  • @JoshK Nothing to do with Tefila (Tefila is explained in "ואתה קדוש יושב תהילות ישראל) – Al Berko Aug 15 '18 at 17:36
4

The Torah equates rising before an elder with respect and connects it to fearing Hashem.

VaYikra 19:32 "You shall rise before a venerable person and you shall honor the elderly, and you shall fear your God. I am the Lord.

Bereishis 31:35 "And she said to her father, "Let my lord not be annoyed, for I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me." ("לָק֣וּם")

The concept is that when someone of respect walks into your presence, you should not feel "informal" and remain seated or lying down comfortably. Standing up shows that you are making a conscious effort to acknowledge the arrival of a respected person. You are not remaining at ease.

Tanach proves this meaning by showing the opposite usage as well. Mordechai refused to even rise up in respect when Haman entered, because he was planning genocide and declared himself as an idol.

Esther 4:9 "And Haman went out on that day, happy and with a cheerful heart, but when Haman saw Mordechai in the king's gate, and he neither rose nor stirred because of him, Haman was filled with wrath against Mordecai. ("וְלֹא־קָם֙ וְלֹא־זָ֣ע מִמֶּ֔נּוּ")

We see rising before someone would have been taken as respect.

Also, Tanach uses the term "rise" ("ק֗וּמוּ") as a pre-requisite to blessing Hashem in prayer.

Nechemiah 9:5 "...Rise, bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting,..."

  • 1
    Nice answer, David. There is a similar term for "standing", namely nitzav. We see this repeatedly regarding G-d commanding Moshe to "stand before Pharaoh", and other places. – DanF Aug 15 '18 at 14:18
  • 1
    The one area in OP's citations is where Ya'akov tells his father to stand up and then sit. It seems "backwards", as the son should honor his father, not vice versa. Unless, we have a different translation for קום נא in this context, – DanF Aug 15 '18 at 17:41
  • By paragraphs: #1 - you start off with the conclusion, instead of arriving at it. #2 Vaikrah - that's also the Gemmora's conclusion, G. does not prove it from other places. #3 Bereishis - she was married and needed no to honor her father at all - he asked her to rise to search her pillows she sat on #4 That's a nice explanation of the conclusion in #1, still no support from the Torah. #5-7 Rising was the way of idolatry (for Hamman), not a sign of respect, that's your conclusion – Al Berko Aug 15 '18 at 17:48
  • #8-9 Standing before G-d is a different story, we don't learn standing before זקן אשמאי (Halachicly) from standing before G-d. | Some thought: I feel we're biased accepting our cultural standards as absolute truth (as you started off with the conclusion). I am trying to question those biases by trying to find the roots of our beliefs. – Al Berko Aug 15 '18 at 17:48
  • @AlBerko, I have limited time now, but why would you say a married woman has no obligation to honor her father??? Yes, if she had a choice to first help her husband before her father then in that case she should help the husband and then the father. But, absent the husband's immediate needs, the respect owed to a parent is forever. BTW, Laban did not ask Rachel to rise. Also, it says "rise before you" not simply "rise" , which implies personal honor as intent. – David Kenner Aug 15 '18 at 18:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .