Showing Disrespect for Talmidei Chochomim

  1. Besides the Torah prohibition of hating or showing
    disrespect for a fellow Jew, it is a very great averah to show disrespect for
    talmidei chochomim or to hate them, and a person who shows disrespect for a
    talmid chochom has no portion in the world to come. It is as though he has
    scorned the word of G-d. Chazal say (Shabbos 119b) Jerusalem was destroyed
    because they were disrespectful toward talmidei chochomim. Chazal were so
    severe in describing the punishment of a person who is disrespectful toward
    talmidei chochomim that they said that a person who shows disrespect for a
    talmid chochom has no healing for his afflictions, and we find that in the
    Gemora, a person who shows disrespect for talmidei chochomim is called an
    apicorus (non-believer). It is even worse to show disrespect toward a talmid
    chochom who has died. “Anyone who speaks badly of a talmid chochom after his
    death descends to Gehenom.” This, of course, is in addition to the cherem
    and takanos (rules) which were made by the kadmonim (earlier chochomim)
    forbidding a person to speak badly of a person who has died.

  2. The prohibition of showing disrespect for talmidei
    chochomim applies in our times as well, even though there are those who say
    that the din that a person who embarrasses a talmid chochom must give him a
    litra of gold doesn’t apply in our time. Who is a talmid chochom? The Rosh
    defines him as anyone who learns at fixed times and works irregularly. Such a
    person learns on a regular basis without wasting any time, and when he’s not
    working to cover his living expenses (not to acquire wealth), he returns to
    learning.

  3. It is a great averah for a talmid chochom to show
    disrespect for another talmid chochom. Even though a talmid chochom is not
    required to stand for another talmid chochom, each one should be demonstrably
    respectful of the other. The students of Rebbe Akiba died because they did not
    show respect for each other and, in doing so, diminished the importance of
    Torah in the eyes of others.

  4. Heads of the community are considered like talmidei
    chochomim in regard to the respect which is due to them.

  5. The wife of a talmid chochom is also enjoined to show
    respect for her husband and forbidden to treat him in a way that is
    disrespectful.