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

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha

Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach

Question: When the Chazzan recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation responds “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must one rise and bow or is this unnecessary? Answer: Regarding the obligation to rise while answering &ldquo......

Read Halacha

Which Vessels Require Immersion in a Mikveh-Continued

In previous Halachot, we have explained that vessels purchased from a non-Jew, such as those produced outside of Israel, require immersion in a Mikveh before using them. We have also discussed which types of vessels require immersion and which do not. We shall now continue discussing this topic. ......

Read Halacha