Halacha for Monday 9 Tevet 5780 January 6 2020

Showing Honor to One’s Rabbi in the Middle of Keri’at Shema

In the previous Halachot we have explained the laws of rising before a Torah scholar and an elderly man.

Halacha dictates that one should not show honor to a student in the presence of his rabbi, meaning that if there are two Torah scholars in front of an individual and one is the rabbi of the other, one should not show honor to the student in the presence of the rabbi (however, one may certainly degrade him or withhold honor that will cause him to be humiliated). Nevertheless, if the rabbi himself shows honor to the student, one may show honor to the student in the presence of his rabbi.

In a similar vain, when one shows honor to Hashem, it seems that if at the same time one’s rabbi appears before him, one should show honor to one’s rabbi. For instance, if one is sitting in the synagogue reciting Keri’at Shema and its blessings or Pesukei De’Zimra, one must nevertheless rise completely to one’s full height for an elderly man or a Torah scholar who is passing by. Although one is showing honor to Hashem while reading Keri’at Shema and the like and it seems improper to show honor to a rabbi at this time, for the rabbi is considered a student in the presence of his rabbi with respect to Hashem, nevertheless, since Hashem himself has commanded us to rise before an elderly man or a Torah scholar, this is similar to the rabbi showing honor to the student in which case one should likewise show honor to the student in the presence of the rabbi. Maran Ha’Chida writes likewise in his Birkei Yosef.

The same applies to one who is reciting Birkat Hamazon and sees an elderly man or a Torah scholar passing within one’s four Amot in that one must rise in their honor (although Birkat Hamazon retains the same law as the Amida prayer with regards to greeting someone and thus, one may not reply “Shalom” or “Hello” even to a highly-respected individual while reciting Birkat Hamazon as opposed to one reciting Keri’at Shema, nevertheless, one must rise for an elderly man while reciting Birkat Hamazon, for rising silently is not considered an interruption).

Indeed, Hagaon Harav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld zt”l was asked about this in the following manner: “Should one reciting Keri’at Shema and its blessings fulfill the Mitzvah of rising for a Torah scholar or an elderly man, for it is possible that we should be concerned for a human being’s honor not being greater than Hashem’s honor since the individual is involved in accepting the yoke of Heaven?” Hagaon Harav Zonnefeld replied: “The same Hashem who has commanded us to recite Keri’at Shema has likewise commanded us to rise before Torah scholars and by doing so, one will only be doing what one was commanded to do.” This ruling is the same as that of Maran Ha’Chida. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules likewise.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Matanot La’Evyonim

In the previous Halacha we briefly discussed the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of two monetary gifts, one to each pauper. What Must One Give? In order to fulfill this Mitzvah, one need not give actual gifts; rather, it is permissible to ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Mishloach Manot

The Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot The verse in the Megillat Esther (9, 22) states: “In order to mark them as days of feasting and merriment and sending portions (Mishloach Manot) to one another as well as giving gifts to the poor (Matanot La’Evyonim).” The Gemara in Masechet Megillah......

Read Halacha

The “Mechaye Ha’Metim” Blessing

In the previous Halacha we have explained that one who sees a truly dear friend or relative after thirty days f not seeing him and is happy to see him recites the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon seeing him. The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who se......

Read Halacha

Question: When should “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo” be recited?

Answer: Moshe Rabbeinu exclaimed, “When I call upon the name of Hashem, exalt our G-d.” Onkelos translates this verse to mean that Moshe Rabbeinu meant to say that when I mention Hashem’s name in prayer, give praise to Hashem our G-d. Based on this, the Tur (Chapter 124) writes tha......

Read Halacha


Question: Must one answer “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo” upon hearing the name of Hashem recited during Kiddush and Havdala?

Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained the primary reason for answering “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo” after hearing Hashem’s name, for this was indeed the custom of the Rosh who would answer “Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo” every time he heard Hashem&rsquo......

Read Halacha

Reciting the “Shehecheyanu” Blessing Upon Seeing a Dear Friend or Loved One

Question: If one travels overseas, returns home more than thirty days later, and is happy to see his wife or a dear friend when he returns, must one recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who sees his frie......

Read Halacha

Disassembling Doors and Windows on Shabbat

Question: May one remove a door from its hinges or a window from its frame on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that one of the works forbidden on Shabbat is building. However, just as it is forbidden to build something or add anything to a standing edifice on Shabbat, it......

Read Halacha

Giving Birth on Shabbat

Question: If a pregnant woman knows that there is a reasonable chance that she will be giving birth on Shabbat (for instance, if her due date is on Shabbat) and as a result, if she begins experiencing contractions on Shabbat, Shabbat will have to be desecrated on her behalf by travelling to the hosp......

Read Halacha