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    The “Bo-bayomim-niks” – Chayyei sarah

    Genesis 24 begins with the statement, “And Abraham was old, advanced in years”.

    The Hebrew for “advanced in years” is ba bayamim.

    I had a friend who kept telling me he was getting on in years. He called himself a bo-bayomim-nik.

    Naturally I told him that chronology doesn’t matter that much and there were still many things he could do and be, despite his age.

    The feeling that age can be against you probably derives from the ancient Greeks, who left their old people to the mercy of the elements in the hope that the wind and weather would rid their society of its elderly members.

    Judaism had a different notion. It honoured its elderly people and came to them for counsel and support.

    Elderly people themselves knew they could continue to think, remember, study and pray as long as they lived.

    Indeed in Israel some of our greatest sages were still learning and teaching when they were well above 100.

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