Standing for Talmidei Chachamim and the Elderly
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This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
Standing for the Elderly
- There is a positive mitzvah Deoritta to stand up for a Jew who is 70 years old.
- If one is unsure if the person is 70, one should stand up. 
- One should offer support to a non-Jewish elderly person but technically one doesn't have the same obligation to stand as one does for a Jewish elderly person.
- One should stand for an elderly person even if he isn't wise in Torah as long as he isn't a wicked person.
Standing for a Talmid Chacham
- There is a positive mitzvah to stand for a Talmid Chacham who is more knowledgeable in Torah than most people and not simply a Yeshiva Bachur. 
- One should stand for a Talmid Chacham once he enters one's 4 amot until he leaves one's view.
- One should stand for one's Rebbe Muvhak once he enters one's eyesight until he leaves one's eyesight. A Rebbe Muvhak is defined as a teacher that one learned a majority of one's learning from.
- A Gadol HaDor is considered like one's Rebbe Muvhak even if one didn't learn from him.
Details of Standing Up
- For an elder or Talmid Chacham, one should stand up completely, not just partially. One should stand from the time the elder or Talmid Chacham enters one's 4 amot until he passes from before one's face; some say that one should stand until the elder or Talmid Chacham leaves one's 4 amot. 
- According to Ashkenazic minhag, one has to stand for a particular Talmid Chacham or elder only once in the daytime and once at night unless one is in the presence of people who don’t know he stood previously; Sephardim, however, hold that one must stand up every time. 
- One should stand up even if one is middle of learning. 
- If one is middle of davening, one should stand up except for if one is middle of the first pasuk of Shema and according to some any part of Shema.
- Two talmidei chachamim do not have to stand for one another. 
- There are some who try to justify a minhag of being lenient regarding standing for an elder and Talmid Chacham. 
- Regarding standing for an elderly person or a talmid chacham in middle of pesukei dezimrah, see Pesukei_DeZimrah#Interruptions_in_middle_of_Pesukei_Dezimrah
- Regarding to standing for parents, see Kibud_Av_V'Em#Standing_for_one.27s_parents.
- Regarding the recital of a beracha upon seeing a talmid chacham see Brachot_on_Sights#Bracha_for_seeing_a_scholar
- Ten Minute Halacha on Standing for the Elderly by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
- Article on Standing up for a Talmid Chochom by Rabbi Yehuda Balsam
- S”A YD 244:1 writes that it is a positive command to stand up for an elderly person of age 70. This is from the pasuk in the Torah (Vayikra 19:32) מפני שיבה תקום והדרת פני זקן. Kitzur S”A 144:2, Chaye Adam 69:2, and Aruch HaShulchan 244:1 agree. Birkei Yosef 244:4, however, quotes the Arizal who says that one should stand for a person of age 60. Sh”t Yabia Omer 3:13 and 9:13 writes that while the halacha follows S”A, one who is strict for the Arizal will be blessed.
- Yechave Daat 3:70 and Yalkut Yosef YD 244:16 write that if one isn't sure if the person is 70, he should stand up based on the principle of Safek Deoritta LeChumra. Tosefet Chaim on Chaye Adam 69:2, Shevet Halevi 5:130, Salmat Chaim YD 62, and Hiddur Panim (p. 109#14, citing Rav Elyashiv) agree. See, however, the Rogatchover’s comment on Salmat Chaim p. 58 who seems to say one is exempt.
- S”A 244:7 writes that for a non-Jewish elder one should speak respectfully and offer one’s hand to support him. Levush 244:7, Chaye Adam 69:2, and Kitzur S”A 144:2 agree. Kesef Mishna (Talmud Torah 6:9) writes explicitly that there is no mitzvah to stand for a non-Jewish elder. Therefore, Kavod VeHiddur (p. 78) rules that one does not have to stand for a non-Jewish elder at all.
- Rama YD 244:1. According to Rav Wosner (Shevet Halevi 9:198) and Rav Nissan Karelitz (Kibud Vehidur page 447) one need not stand up before modern day non-observant Jews, who desecrate Shabbos and do not adhere to halacha.
- S”A 244:1 rules that it is a positive mitzvah to stand for a Talmid Chacham.
- Gemara Makot 22b bemoans how stupid some people are that they will stand up for a sefer torah and yet not stand up for a talmid chacham
- Shach 244:2 explains that only a Talmid Chacham who is wiser than most people is considered a Talmid Chacham for this halacha. This is quoted by Baeir Heitev 244:2, Chaye Adam 69:1, and Aruch HaShulchan 244:4. Avnei Yashfeh 188:1 writes that certainly there is no obligation to stand for a yeshiva bachur. Yalkut Yosef YD 244:16 writes that one has to stand only for a Talmid Chacham who knows how to give psak in even haezer and choshen mishpat and not just someone learning in kollel.
- Shulchan Aruch YD 244:2
- When does the chiyuv start? Shach 244:6 adds that it is forbidden to stand before he enters one's 4 amot because there is no presentation of respect by standing at that distance. Birkei Yosef 244:11 agrees. Sh”t Yabea Omer 4:16 agrees and argues on Ben Ish Chai Ki Tetzei 13 who says that once the elder enters room one should stand as whole room is like 4 amot. [Kavod VeHiddur pg 63 writes that the din of the shach 244:6 applies to a elder and a talmid chacham.]
- What is measure of 4 amot? Kavod VeHiddur pg 63 quotes Hadar Zekenim 1 note 15 that one doesn't need to measure 4 amot to be strict for shach but it's enough to stand where it seems like 4 amot.
- When does the chiyuv end? S”A 244:2,9 based on Rambam says the chiyuv ends when they're no longer in front of one's face. Bach 244:5 based on Rashi says that one should be strict to continue to stand until they leave one's 4 amot. Shach 244:7 quotes this. Kavod VeHiddur pg 65 note 69 writes that there's no chiluk between elder and talmid chacham for this halacha. Birkei Yosef 244:12 holds like S”A.
- Shulchan Aruch YD 242:16. Ran (Kiddushin 14a s.v. kemelo aynav) says that the reason that one needs to say for one’s rav muvhak when he sees him is because it is evident that one is standing in honor of one’s rebbe even though he is far away. The Rambam (Mamrim 6:3 as understood by the Griz Talmud Torah 5:11) says that one standing as far as one can see one’s rav muvhak because there’s an additional obligation of honoring him just like one honor’s parent, which is different than the regular obligation to stand for a talmid chacham.
- Gemara Bava Metsia 33a, Shulchan Aruch YD 242:30
- S”A YD 244:10
- Tur 244, Taz 244:4, Gra 244:11, Chaye Adam 69:4, Kavod Vehiddur p. 64, and Sh”t Yabia Omer 3:13 write that one should stand completely for an elder just like one stands completely for a Talmid Chacham. This is in opposition to Aruch HaShulchan 244:10-2 who defends the minhag to stand partially for an elder. See also Teshuvot VeHanhagot YD 3:279 who is seems to agree.
- S”A 244:2 rules that one should stand once the Talmid Chacham or elder enter one's 4 amot. Shach 244:6 adds that it is forbidden to stand before a Talmid Chacham enters one's 4 amot because there is no presentation of respect by standing at that distance. Birkei Yosef 244:11 and Chaye Adam 69:3 agree. Kavod VeHiddur p. 63 writes that this applies equally to an elder and a Talmid Chacham. Sh”t Yabia Omer 4:16 agrees, rejecting the Ben Ish Chai Ki Teitzei 13 who says that once the elder enters the room, one should stand, as the whole room is considered like 4 amot. Kavod VeHiddur p. 63 quotes Hadar Zekenim (chap 1, note 15) that one doesn't need to measure 4 amot; it's enough to stand where it seems like 4 amot.
- S”A 244:2 and 9 says, based on Rambam, that one may sit after the elder or Talmid Chacham has passed from before one's face. Bach 244:5, based on Rashi, says that one should be strict to continue to stand until they leave his 4 amot. Shach 244:7, Aruch HaShulchan 244:13, and Hiddur Panim (p. 109 #16, quoting Rav Elyashiv) agree with the Bach. Chaye Adam 69:3 quotes S”A as the anonymous opinion and Bach as “some say.” Birkei Yosef 244:12 holds like S”A. Kavod VeHiddur (p. 65 note 69) writes that this applies equally to an elder and a Talmid Chacham.
- The gemara Kiddushin 33b states that one shouldn’t stand for one’s rabbi more than once a day and once a night so that one doesn't accept the yoke of Heaven in Shema less often than one shows respect to one's Rabbi. Rambam (Talmid Torah 6:8) and Aruch HaShulchan 242:45 codify this.
- However, the Tur YD 242:16 cites the opinion of the Rif and Rosh who hold that one should stand every time one’s rabbi comes by. Rashba (responsa 1:144) and Meiri (Kiddushin 32b s.v. Talmid) agree. The Birkei Yosef 242:21 writes that Shulchan Aruch’s opinion is like the Rif and Rosh. Yalkut Yosef (Kibbud Av 4:8) agrees. Rabbi Mansour on DailyHalacha.com (12/30/10) writes that Sephardim should follow Birkei Yosef.
- Lastly, the Smag (Asin n. 13), Tosfot Yeshanim (cited by Gra YD 242:53), and Tosfot Chullin 54b s.v. ein hold that it isn’t an obligation to stand more than once a day and once a night but it is optional. Maharsha Kiddushin 33b agrees. Bach (242 s.v. Katav HaRambam) and Rama YD 242:16 hold like this opinion. Shevet HaLevi 5:130 and Hiddur Panim (p. 109 #18) quoting Rav Elyashiv rule like the Rama.
- Tosfot (Kiddushin 33b s.v. ein) writes that if new people come who didn't see one stand up the first time that day, one has to stand up for one's Rabbi even though one already stood. The Rama YD 242:16 codifies this.
- Kavod VeHiddur p. 67 quotes gedolei horaah who say that this applies equally to an elder and Talmid Chacham.
- In Kiddushin 33b, Rabbi Elazar and Abaye argue whether or not a student should stand up for his Rabbi when he is in middle of learning. Bet Yosef YD 244:11 writes that it seems we hold like Abaye since he has the last word in the gemara.
- S”A 244:11 writes that even if one is learning Torah one should stand. Aruch HaShulchan 244:7 explains that it is not different than other mitzvot which is supposed to do even at the expense of Talmud Torah. That is, when it comes to Talmud Torah we don't apply the familiar rule of one who is involved with a mitzvah is exempt from other mitzvot. The Chida in Chaim Shaal 1:71:2 agrees. Similarly, Kavod VeHiddur pg 69 writes that one should stand even if it causes bitul torah. However, Levush 244:11 writes that one should stand while learning because standing up doesn't cause Bitul Torah. Makneh (Kiddushin 33b s.v. klum) implies this as well. Therefore, Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 14:10 writes that according to the Levush, if one is learning a difficult topic and one will lose his train of thought by standing one doesn't stand.
- If one is davening Birkei Yosef 244:1 writes that one should stand even in the middle of davening except for the first pasuk of shema. Rav Chaim Zonenfeld in Salmat Chaim OC 48, Ben Ish Chai (Ki Tetsei #15), and Yalkut Yosef (Kibbud Av pg 174) agree. Hiddur Panim (pg 110 #29) quotes Rav Elyashiv saying that if it disturbs one's kavanah in davening one doesn't have to stand, otherwise one should stand except in first pasuk of shema. Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 14:10 writes that one should stand except for any part of Shema.
- Ran Kiddushin 14a s.v. Amar, S”A YD 244:8
- Shach 244:11 seems to say that the minhag is to stand only for an Av Bet Din or Rosh Yeshiva, but he leaves it as a tzarich iyun. Rav Chaim Zonenfeld in Salmat Chaim YD 59-60 explains that the Shach doesn't mean that they uprooted a Deoritta but rather that the Talmidei Chachamim forgo the respect due to them. Rabbi Zonenfeld seems to say that this is not accepted as the Halacha but only a defense of the minhag. Moadim Uzmanim 3:248 writes that he's unsure if this is enough to rely on. Similarly, Sh”t Yabia Omer YD 3:13 writes that one should certainly not rely on the assumption that Talmidei Chachamim are mochel. Kavod VeHiddur p. 38 cites some who say that we assume that in general a Talmid Chacham is mochel. Rabbi Hershel Schachter (Halachipedia Article 5772 #15) stated that we assume a Talmid Chacham is mochel people standing for him.
- The Rogachover in Salmat Yosef 1:3 writes that the biblical mitzvah of standing for a Talmid Chacham only applies to someone who has semicha going back to Moshe Rabbenu. Yabia Omer YD 4:16:2 rejects this based on a number of rishonim.
- Regarding elders, Kavod VeHiddur p. 64 quotes Rav Elyashiv saying that the minhag of standing slightly has what to rely on, since we assume that elders forgo the respect due to them, but does not say anything there about not standing at all.