We are discussing the halachos of kavod talmidei chachamim, specifically the halachos of hiddur. We need to discuss the status of the wife of a talmid chacham. The Gemara says that when Rav Huna’s wife would come to bais din, Rav Nachman would stand up for her. He did not stand up for her because she was the most learned woman of the city, but because she was the wife of a talmid chacham, and part of the respect of the torah of a talmid chacham is respect for his wife as well.
A girl who has a female teacher who teaches her avodas Hashem and Torah has a chiyuv kavod towards that woman, in the same way one has a chiyuv kavod towards a rebbe. Regarding the wife of a talmid chacham, even if she does not teach anything in particular, one has a chiyuv to stand up for her simply because she is the wife of a talmid chacham.
The Gemara continues, and says that when a relative of Rav Anan came to bais din, Rav Nachman wanted to judge his case first out of kavod to Rav Anan. We see that the kavod for a talmid chacham would not only extend to his wife, but to other members of the family as well.
We need to clarify the definition of a rebbe nowadays. We have mentioned that it is almost impossible to have a concept of rebbe muvhak, because most of our learning comes from seforim, and not orally as it was in the past. Nowadays, the purpose of the rebbe is more to explain things rather than to pass down the material. Nevertheless, the dinim of rabbo she’eino muvhak would apply to any person who was a rebbe to the talmid, and taught them Torah for a period of time.
The chiyuv kavod to the rebbe does not end when one is no longer a talmid to the rebbe. In the sefer Ve’ahavta Le’reiacha Kamocha, the author brings from Rav Elyashiv zt”l that the chiyuv kavod to a rebbe extends even if a talmid is no longer in that rebbe’s shiur. This would include a rebbe in grade school, or a person who gives a regular shiur in the community. Even if the maggid shiur is just a person from the community, without an official title, since they are teaching Torah on a regular basis, they become one’s rebbe and one would have a chiyuv kavod towards them.
The Gemara discusses someone who learns torah from a rebbe indirectly, such as a shemuah (saying) that went around in the name of a specific rav. The Gemara says that the people who hear those shemuos are considered talmidim of the rebbe and have a chiyuv to give kavod to him, even if they have never met the rebbe and never learned from him directly. We can learn from this Gemara that if a person learns the seforim or hears the recordings of a talmid chacham, and becomes knowledgeable through them, that person becomes their rebbe. This applies when a person listens on a regular basis, similar to the community member who gives a regular shiur.
When Rabbi Reingold’s son was young, he would get recordings of a specific talmid chacham who had recordings for young children. Rabbi Reingold’s son listened to them enough that Rabbi Reingold felt he had the status of rebbe to his son. There is a minhag to give one’s rebbe a present Chanukah time, so they sent the rebbe a present, even though they had never met him.
We will discuss the status of someone from whom one does not learn on a regular basis in the next shiur, be’ezras Hashem.
There is a chiyuv kavod to the wife of a talmid chacham, as part of the respect for the Torah of a talmid chacham. This chiyuv extends to other relatives as well.
Although it is almost impossible to find a rebbe muvhak nowadays, any talmid chacham who taught someone Torah, through any medium. over an extended period of time is considered one’s rebbe, and there is a chiyuv to give them kavod.