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Home » Chayei Sara, Life Is Beautiful

CHayei Sarah: Meaningful Days

Submitted by on November 20, 2005 – 10:07 pmNo Comment | 2,589 views

The Question

And Abraham was old, had entered his days, and Hashem blessed Abraham with everything.” (Bereishis 24, 1) The commentators struggle with the meaning of the words “entered his days.” What exactly does this mean?

Old Age

Ramban and Eben Ezra tell us that entering into one’s days suggests longevity. This translation is problematic in our case since this term is also used to describe Sarah when she was only ninety years old and by the standards of her day, ninety was yet considered young.

A Milestone

The Baal Haturim encourages us to look at the numerology of the Hebrew word “Yamim,” which means days. “Yamim” has a numeric value of one hundred. When Abraham entered his “Yamim” i.e. the milestone age of one hundred, G-d blessed him with everything i.e. his son Isaac. Interesting as numerology is we still strive for a simple understanding of the text.

Illuminated by G-d

Kli Yakar argues that this verse sheds light on Abraham’s life style. His old age was the brightest era of his life. For most, growing older is a time to slow down. Our days grow shorter as our abilities shrink and our strength ebbs. Not so Abraham, the essential ingredient in his life was Torah and as he grew older his understanding of G-d steadily increased. He only began to fully enter into his days, i.e., fully appreciate the secrets of G-d light, in his older age. Once again an interesting translation but it is more homiletic then it is simple.

A Simple Meaning

To enter into a day we must invest ourselves completely into the day’s experience. Not a single day went by that left Abraham untouched, not a single moment left him unmoved, not a single occurrence left him unchanged. To him, everything had meaning, no experience was without significance, no encounter was without purpose, no day was without a mission.

It Applies To Us Too

How often we marvel at the speed of life’s passage. Hours, days, weeks, months and entire years march past and vanish before we even sit up and take notice. Perhaps it is time to take a page our Patriarch’s book. Let us ensure that every day is fulfilling, that every action brings us inexorably closer to our pre-destined goal.

When we merit looking back upon a long life we will know with satisfaction that our days have passed productively. We will know that our life was not in vain. We will know that we have utilized the gift of life bestowed upon us by G-d.