Kenneth Cohen

Everything Is Relative

The question is asked as to why the birth of Moshe when his mother Yocheved was 130 years old, is not given more emphasis. The Torah made a big story about Sara delivering Yitzchak when she was 90 years old.

The Maggid of Dubnov answered this question with a parable, to show how everything is relative. He told the story of two beggars who were discussing a particular town they had visited, seeking financial assistance.

One beggar complained that this town was extremely cheap, and they barely helped him at all. The other fellow said that he did very well on his visit to that same town.

The explanation was pretty simple. The first poor person, visited in the middle of the week on a cold winter day, and was unable to find donors. His friend visited the place on Purim day when everyone was giving מתנות לאביונים, money for the poor.

The Maggid continued and said that in Egypt, when women were having six healthy babies at a time, it was a miraculous time. Therefore, a woman giving birth at 130, wasn’t so outstanding. But when Sara delivered at ninety, it really stood out, as something remarkable. Everything is relative.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at