|The Profundities of Torah-Acharei-Kedoshim-Stand Up for Yourself|
|Written by HaRav Yochanan Zweig|
“In the presence of an old person shall you rise...” (19:32) The Torah instructs a person to rise in respect of the sagacity of a scholar. The verse concludes “veyareisa meilokecha ani Hashem” - “and you shall fear your G-d, I am Hashem”.1 Citing the Talmud, Rashi explains that the Torah juxtaposes the two parts of the verse for a person may pretend not to see a scholar to avoid standing for him. Therefore, we are reminded to fear Hashem for He is aware of our thoughts.2 If the sage is unaware that he was seen why is the person still obligated to stand?
The Talmud states that if a sage has the option of walking through an area that will require people to stand for him or take a circuitous route, he should opt for the second path. The Talmud cites a verse to uphold this ruling.3. The implication is that if there had been no verse concerning this issue, it would be preferable to walk through the area that requires others to rise. The message that the Torah is delivering is that the obligation to stand for a sage is not a “bein adam lechaveiro” - “between man and his fellow man” responsibility. Rather, it is a “bein adam l’atzmo” - “between man and himself” responsibility. This precept is aimed at sensitizing man to the awe and respect that he must have for the Torah and those who study it. Consequently, one could have assumed that the sage is required to take the path that will require people to stand, not for his own benefit but to instill within the people the necessary sensitivities. Therefore, even if the scholar is unaware that a person is standing for him the individual is still obligated to stand.
1.19:32 2.Kidushin 33a 3.Ibid