Don’t disregard the elderly – they have special role

OLD age, senior citizens, geriatrics are all rather pejorative terms for people who have reached a certain age or stage in their lives. Like me!

Shakespeare’s famous description of the stages of humanity is in As You Like It. Human beings go through seven stages from infancy to old age, dotage... and death.

“The last scene of all that ends this strange eventful history is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

In King Lear, Regan mocks her father Lear: “O, sir, you are old... you should be ruled and led, by some discretion that discerns your state, better than you yourself.”

Of course, the dreaded Alzheimer’s has made us all painfully aware of diseases that target older minds. We do get weaker in body and mind. It is expressed so beautifully in the liturgy of the High Holy Days when we ask God not to abandon us in our old age as we get weaker.

The Bible reiterated the moral and religious obligation to respect and learn from one’s elders. “Rise before the hoary head and respect the aged”(Leviticus 19:32).

Almost every English translation I have come across varies. Here are three examples...

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