Friday, 13 November 2020
"Then Avraham breathed his last, dying at a ripe old age, an old man full of years; and he was gathered to his people." (Genesis 25:8, CJB)
In the same parasha we have the death of our first matriach, Sarah, and the death of our first patriach, Avraham. With a global pandemic and thousands of people dying, this might not sound the cheeriest topic we need to consider right now!
But I am struck by the prhase that is used: Avraham died "at a ripe old age, an old man full of years". What does it mean to be "full of years"? Does it mean he lived many years? Or more that he had a full life? Maybe it's not so much that he had a long life, but that he made the time count. Did he die satisfied? Did he feel that he had accomplished much? Or is more a comment on his life from the outside, with the Writer telling us that Avraham had had a long life?
Maybe it's an important concept to consider right now. With lives being curtailed unexpectedly, the pandemic creating such uncertain change and life feeling less stable than before, this is a good time to consider: are we living full lives? Are we chasing an endless dream of wealth, success or power without being fully engaged in the present? Or are we prioritising what is important and before us now, so we don't miss out?
These are serious questions which will mean different things to each of us and each one of us will have a slightly different answer. But let us take the time this Shabbat to learn lessons from Avraham Aveinu's life so that, when our life comes to an, it might be said of us that we are "full of years"!
"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'" (Matthew 25:1, ESV)