Rabbi Yosi: "You shall not eat anything with the blood..." (Lev. 19:26) This verse has been explained by the colleagues in several places, [that you can't eat from the sacrificial offering until you pour the blood libation, and that one cannot eat until one prays upon one's "blood", which means you need to pray the Amidah in the morning before eating (since eating rejuvenates the blood –but first we should be spiritually rejuvenated!)] They have also explained all the verses that follow. Each verse has been explained [by the sages] at the level of the revealed Torah. However, this verse requires an arousal of deeper thought. It is written: "You shall rise up before the elderly." (Lev. 19:32) The words, "before a hoary head," refers generally to a Torah scholar for which you must rise [as one who can explain and understand the Torah]. And so did Rav Hamnuna Saba. When he saw a Torah scholar, he would rise and say, "You shall rise up before a hoary head." (Lev. 19:32) [He learned from this ruling that one should stand for a wise man whose wisdom comes from the Torah – how much more so should one stand for the Torah scroll itself!]

Similarly, man should rise fully before a Torah scholar, because his very being hints at the supernal holy image
[of Atika Kadisha who has a white beard, as it says in Daniel, "the hair of his head was like clean wool"; when one sees this supernal holy image, one must stand before him], which indicates the supernal holy priest [related to chesed/kindness, for the white beard is from the side of chesed]. As the verse says, "and honor the face of the old man", who is in the world. Rabbi Shimon said: From here is an allusion to the Written Torah [thus one must stand before a Torah scroll] and Oral Torah [thus one must stand before a Sage who is the aspect of the Oral Torah].


We further learned what this verse, "You shall rise up before a hoary head," teaches, as commented on by the colleagues. "You shall rise up before a hoary head" warns a person that before reaching old age, he should establish himself properly in the world
[with good deeds and teshuva] because this will be better for him.1 But if late in life, this is not such a praiseworthy act for him, since he is old and doesn’t have the same ability to do much wrong. The praiseworthy one is good when he is in his full strength. King Solomon exclaimed, "Even a child is known by his doings whether what he does is pure and right." (Prov. 20:11) Similarly, it is written: "Remember now your creator in the days of your youth before your bad days come when you shall say I have no pleasure in them (being weak and sickly)." (Eccl. 12:1)

Rabbi Elazar said: Certainly, this way is ready before us, this being the way of G‑d.
[Rabbi Elazar had great joy in this new insight for he was in the company of R. Hiyya and R. Yosi.] He opened: "For G‑d knows the way of the righteous; but the way of the wicked shall perish." (Ps. 1:6) What is meant by, "G‑d knows"? That G‑d knows and looks after the very pathway the righteous walk on to benefit them and defend them, and He walks before them to guard them. Therefore, whoever sets on his way needs to see to it that this pathway is properly prepared for G‑d [by learning Torah as he travels], so that He will participate with him [since the Divine presence/Shechinah dwells wherever Torah is being learned]. For this reason, it is written: "For G‑d knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the wicked shall perish" - on its own, since G‑d does not make Himself known to their way, and does not go with them. (The wicked, by their actions, cause G‑d to remove His supervision and protection from them. As it is said "No bad comes from above". Thus we see that the wicked deeds of bad people are the very cause of their downfall).

In some places the Torah describes a road as "a way,"
["G‑d knows the way of the righteous"] in other places it is called "a path." ["the path of the righteous is like gleaming sunlight that shines more and more until full daylight" (Prov. 4:18)] What is the difference between them? "A way/derech," implies a way that is trodden/darach on by all people. "A path," implies a recently opened pathway [This newness hints at new work requiring a gradual process until all can be able to use it and it then becomes a road]. About this path does the verse say, "But the path of righteous is like the gleam of sunlight, that shines ever more brightly, until the height of noonday." (Prov. 4:18) Amen, may it be His Will.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

We should honor and involve those of us who have lived and learned life's lessons. "Saging—Not Aging." Even the broken tablets—those which were no longer completely functional—were still honored and carried in the desert. They were not fossilized and kept in cabinets.

King Solomon said, "better is the day of death than birth, the house of mourning over the house of feasting." We look with delight at the infant, and we joke over all of his or her excretions. But to the elderly we recoil in revulsion with similar productions. Can we not see that the infant and the elderly are similar, that they are closer to G‑d than us. The infant has just left the womb where the angel held a light over its head and taught him or her the entire Torah. The elder is going home soon, to be united with Him, and to leave the difficulties of this earth plane.

The elder is thus compared to the Sacred Grandfather of the Holy Family of Partzufim, whether or not he possesses a physical beard. Because ZaKeN 's 3-letter root means both beard and elder, and is also an acronym for Zeh Koneh Chochmah--one has acquired wisdom. Some of us are proficient in this mitzvah of honoring the elderly, but most of us could use some improvement. While we are young and vital, that is the time for movement.

What does the above mean for your teshuvah, and why is it being revealed right now?


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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