Honoring Elders

in the Talmud, a collection of rabbinic commentaries, we read that the Hebrew word for “elder” comes from an acronym meaning “this person has acquired wisdom.” Older people have so much to teach those around them since “With age comes wisdom, and length of days brings understanding” (Job 12:12) They deserve our respect as we learn from them.

Honoring elders, kibud zekaynim, is important not only as a Jewish value, but for society as a whole. We value the wisdom of past generations, our ancestors, and older family members. Treating everyone with respect, but paying particular attention to how we treat seniors, is a building block of Jewish life.