I come from a culture that has no honor for the elderly. We have no Torah and I am deaply and sincerly in need of HaShem’s Torah. My question is, what is the role of a man in his seventies? Where does he find his place in this time of his life, and how does the younger generation continue to honor him.
Thank you and Shalom
In the Jewish tradition, the “seventies” are years when a person has “acquired wisdom” (Mishnah, Avos). Whether scholar or not, there is an obligation (for younger men) to stand up before one who has reached the age of seventy, because of the wisdom he has acquired over the years of his life. In the wake of Scripture (the tale of Rechavam, who is criticized for heeding the advice of the young, and leaving the advice of the elderly), the Sages (Talmud, Megillah 31b) write that one should be careful to heed the advice of the elderly, whose experience serves them as a shining beam in the darkness of the world.
in addition, the elderly are respected in the Jewish tradition because they are seen to be closer to greatness of our ancestors, who merited Divine revelation. There is a general principle that defines a “descent of generations,” and the further one goes down the line, the lesser the stature of the generation, so that elders are honored as being part of the “former generations.” It is to be regretted that other cultures do not share the respect for the elderly inherent to Jewish belief and practice.
For yourself, the “seventies” years are years during which a person lowers gear from the hectic lifestyle of former years, and dedicates his time to introspection, self-improvement, and benefiting others from his experience/knowledge. Everybody has his specialist field, his unique talents and abilities, and the seventies year enables a person to bring them out in a more quiet, yet no less potent way than in the years of youth.
May G-d lead you on the path of truth.