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    Senior citizen courses – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. I know it’s not politically correct to say this, but I don’t see why society should spend so much on courses for senior citizens. After all, they’ll soon die, and the money will be wasted. How would you respond to this argument?

    A. Your question hits a nerve, since I am one of the senior citizens you are talking about. But regardless of my personal situation, you are still quite wrong.

    The human mind can still grow whatever your age and bring you closer to truth; according to Maimonides the closer we are to truth the closer we come to God. Older members of society have a rich record of experience with which to enhance the world when shared with others.

    Further, there are emphases which younger generations may not yet have reached, especially when it comes to what works and what doesn’t, what brings joy to the world and what beings only heartache. So whatever we spend on courses for seniors it is not enough.

    It is said that in ancient Greece they had no patience for the elderly and put them out on the mountain tops to die. Judaism had more brains and said, “Rise up before the hoary head” (Lev. 19:32). (This verse is often found on Israeli buses to indicate the seats allocated for senior citizens.)

    Everywhere in society this ought to be a fundamental principle – not just because older people are often physically frail, but because they have so much to give.

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