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Resources Rabbi Mitch's Weekly Teachings Rabbi’s Weekly Teaching November 16, 2012

Rabbi’s Weekly Teaching 
Friday, November 16, 2012

"Abraham grew old .... and God blessed Abraham with everything." (Genesis 24:1)

Who likes to get old? My Zaydye Z'L (grandfather of blessed memory) would drive me in a carpool that always went past a cemetery. As he looked out the window at the cemetery, he would routinely comment out loud that he hadn't "yet" found the marker intended for him. Aging can be challenging and worrisome, although most people would acknowledge that it's far better than the alternative. Ultimately, as we age our hope is that we can preserve as much physical vigor and mental acuity as possible.

Abraham "grew old," and the Torah records that God blessed him with "everything." Rabbinic tradition asserts that we will age in a manner in which we preserve "all of our blessings," and these blessings can grow every day. These "blessings" are the personal attributes of being created in God's image, including our love, kindness, and mercy. As we grow older, we may lose sight of how we pursue our holy qualities, or conversely, we may gain greater clarity in refracting God's light within the world.

Abraham, in his old age, was "blessed with everything." He had nurtured and maintained the best attributes of his self-discovered faith and was rewarded. According to a rabbinic mantra, during our lifetime we will either go forward or backward, but we never stand still and each day we will receive a blessing. Aging may bring more "aches and pains" with each passing year, but if we remain resolute in our faith and in the pursuit of blessing and holiness, we can mitigate the perils of aging.

Time is finite, and we need to prioritize our choices. Who are we sharing our blessings with and how are we pursuing these daily opportunities afforded us? If blessed with growing old, how are we assuring a life by which we are blessed, and blessing others.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Mitch

 

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