“You must rise before an aged man!” (Vayikra 19:32)
It is a positive commandment to honor wise men and to arise before them, as it says “You must rise before an aged man!”, and Onkelos translates “You must rise before one who has a logical understanding of the Torah!”. In the same way, Chazal translate the verse “And you shall honor the face of an old man!”, to refer to a man who has acquired wisdom. The reason for the Torah naming a wise man old is that a young wise man has already seen through his wisdom that which the old man has seen through his many years.
Amongst the roots of the commandment are that the main point of the creation of the world is for wisdom so that he would recognize his Creator. It is therefore fitting that a person should honor one who has reached wisdom, and through this other people will be awakened to wisdom. For this reason, Yehudah Ben Tabai said that there is a commandment to honor even a foolish old man who has no wisdom, for in the fullness of his years he will have seen and understood a small amount of the deeds of Hashem and His wonders, and because of this he is worthy of honor.
Amongst the laws of this commandment are that which Chazal said that it is unnecessary to say that one who is not wise is obligated to honor a wise man, and even a wise man must honor another wise man. Chazal also said amongst the laws of fearing one’s teacher are that one must not sit in their places or affect their decisions or contradict them or make Halachic decisions in front of them.
This commandment applies in all places and at all times, both to men and women. One who transgresses this commandment has disobeyed a positive commandment and his punishment is great for this is a great foundation in the strengthening of our religion.