Aging Well – Parashat Chayei Sarah

November 7, 2017 at 12:31 AM , , ,
“….And Avraham was old, advanced in days….” (Bereishit 24:1)

 ואברהם זקן בא בימים….. – בראשית כד, א

When Avraham passed from this world, he rose and vested himself in his days, for he was not lacking even one of these precious garments… —Zohar

Aging Well

When the Torah depicts an aging person as “advanced in days”, this refers not to the length of his life, but to the effect that each day of his life has have left on him.

This is the meaning of the twofold expression, “old, advanced in days”, for it is possible for someone to be old, but not advanced in days. No person’s life is uneventful, but most people mellow with age, attributing less and less significance to the events that each day brings. The expression “advanced in days”, on the other hand, describes someone who advanced – entered and immersed himself – in the happenings and changes of every day of his life. Understandably, deeply experiencing all of life’s ups and downs takes its physical toll. The Torah therefore finds worthy to mention that Avraham was not only in elderly in years, but that the effects of being “advanced in days” had also left their mark.

This explains why the Zohar (vol. 1, 224a) interprets the words “advanced in days” to mean that none of Avraham’s days were “missing”; he had utilized every single day of his life in the service of G-d. For Avraham, whose love of G-d animated his very being, life was not defined by the experiences of his flesh, but by the experiences of his soul. Therefore, when the Torah states that Avraham was “advanced in days”, having been profoundly impacted by every day of his life, this refers not only to a physical impact, but to a spiritual impression as well.

The Zohar therefore teaches that each and every day of Avraham’s life had been a spiritual experience. There had not been even one day in his life in which he had not immersed himself in the spiritual calling of the moment.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 35, pp. 90-92

 

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