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The Path of the Just

Chapter 19 (Part 8)

If there are times of the week and year that call for special attention, as wed said about Shabbos and the Holy Days, there are also certain items and individuals that deserve that too. And so the pious would pay special homage to our holy books and to those who study them.

In fact, we're all charged with having respect for our holy works. For while it is their content that makes them sacred, the actual books embodying those words need to be tended to as well -- just as much as one is expected to care for his or her body because it encases our holy souls.

But while none of us would show actual disrespect for our books, the pious would always be sure to place them in perfectly clean and appropriate places.. And they'd only study them when they themselves were freshly tended-to and clean.

We're all likewise expected to honor those who study Torah. As it's said, "Rise up before a grey-haired person and honor the face of an elder" (Leviticus 19:32). But the pious would pay special homage to them. We're taught that whenever Jehosephat, king of Judah, would see a Torah scholar "he'd rise up from his throne, hug and kiss him, and call out to him 'My Rabbi, my Rabbi; my teacher, my teacher!' (Ketubot 103b).

And we're told that Rabbi Zaira would make a special point of "seating himself at the doorway to the study-hall, when he would be fatigued from his own studies, and engage in the mitzvah of rising before a Torah scholar" (Eruvin 28a).

We're also to treat our synagogues with respect, and to "do nothing within them we wouldn't do in a king's palace" as Ramchal puts it.

The point of the matter is that the pious expanded upon all of this, and to the best of their abilities -- all in order "to give honor to the name of G-d". And that brings us to the next subject of piety, the love of G-d. It's one of the areas in which the pious most especially stand out.

Text Copyright 2010 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and

Rabbi Feldman's new book, Bachya Ibn Pakuda's The Duties of the Heart, is now available! Order Now



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