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THE GOLDEN OLDIE

by Rabbi Herbert J. Cohen, Ph.D.    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

I once asked a rabbi at our local Yeshiva High School if he had made any plans for retirement. He answered me succinctly, "I will retire when G-d retires me. Until then I have no plans to retire."

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I once asked a rabbi at our local Yeshiva High School if he had made any plans for retirement. He answered me succinctly, "I will retire when G-d retires me. Until then I have no plans to retire."

I thought of that conversation when studying this week's Torah portion. The Torah tells us that Abraham was old, advanced in a ge (Genesis 24:1). Literally, the Torah uses the term that Abraham was "coming in days". The commentators interpret this to mean that Abraham was able to make each day of his life count, even throughout his old age. Furthermore, he could remember what was achieved on each day of his life, for every day of this tzaddik's (righteous person's) life was a day of accomplishment; and even when he grew old, his passion for good deeds did not diminish. He still summoned up new energy and wisdom to bring meaning to his daily existence.

Abraham's consistent achievements over his long life, in spite of the vicissitudes of time and the adversity which he faced, provide a model for all Jews. As we grow in age, like Abraham, we do not have to become less productive, we do not have to slow down spiritually or intellectually, we do not have to reconcile ourselves to wasted days and unproductive activity. With Abraham as our inspiration, we can make our latter days the golden days of our lives.

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Rabbi Herbert J. Cohen, Ph.D. has been the dean of the Yeshiva High School of Atlanta for over 20 years.

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