Steven Zvi Gleiberman

When Will Our Life End?

This week’s Parsha begins with the passuk stating that; “the life of Sarah was 127 years, (these were) the years of Sarah”. Many ask why the word “years” appears twice. Rashi states that the reason is to tell us, that every year is to be expounded upon individually; when she was one hundred years old, she was like a twenty-year-old regarding sin. Just as a twenty-year-old has not sinned, because she is not liable to punishment, so too when she was one hundred years old, she was without sin. I would like to add to this, that the extra “these were the years of Sarah’s life” also teaches us the finite level of life, that life is limited by the number of years. No matter what Sarah was capable of beyond that, she only had a limited time of 127 years.

Let’s take a step back from this and imagine for a second; if we truly lived our daily life with full recognition of this “life deadline”; would we have time for petty fighting? Would we endlessly watch Netflix or spend any time on nonsense?

But we do. We (at least speaking for myself) argue over nothingness, spend time on nonsense and will most definitely be watching the next season of קופה ראשית.

What, and where is the disconnect? I think it’s the mindset of living forever that causes people to feel invincible. However, when that mindset of living forever is broken, people feel the fragility of life and their true essence comes out. The bad essence and the good essence.

Let’s focus on the good for a second.

There is currently a tangible mindset shift, occurring with almost everybody in the country over the last 33 days. People have said that in their entire life, they have never seen such a unified Jewish nation (Hamas has succeeded, more than anything else I could even dream about, in uniting the Jewish people) or a nation more spiritual and observing religious practice. In Israel today, it’s very difficult to distinguish between a religious and non-religious soldier, as the largest number of Jews in Israel over the last two thousand years are wearing tzitzit, a kippah and putting on tefillin. I was listening to a shiur by R’ Assaf Bednarsh, who told us a story of Rav Rimon, his shul Rabbi, and Chief Rabbi of Gush Etzion, who, when making arrangements to visit army bases, decided that he will not be “that rabbi” who attempts at every tragedy to make people more religious. Instead, he said that he will be the “Avraham Avinu rabbi”. So, he arrived at the vastly not-religious army bases with snacks, socks, and warm clothing etc. and when he offered the soldiers the items, they responded with; “You’re a Rabbi, where’s the tzitzit we need? Where’s the Torah we need?”

The political right and political left are coming together like never before in history. Sworn enemy politicians are fully aligned and communicating with each other to bring calm and safety to the people. Instead of protests on judicial reform, we are seeing protests to release the hostages, who we don’t know how they politically, religiously, socially, or morally align. People over the last 33 days are focusing on what, we, as fellow Jews, have in common and are ignoring the things they don’t agree on. Charedim volunteering for the state, seculars updating their internet-free Chasidic neighbors with news updates. Chasidim in droves supporting the soldiers who are protecting them. Avid secularists bringing Sifrei Torah into their kibbutzim. Hardcore Anti-Israel advocates rethinking their position. On an individual level, people’s true identities are coming out in full force and making the world shine even brighter.  If you ask whether this is just a phase or is radical change and a turning point in our society, I am 100% convinced that it is the latter.

We don’t know when our days in this world will come to an end. For Sarah, it was 127 years. These past 33 days have shown us that freedom isn’t free and should never be taken for granted, as well as the fragility of life. Let us appreciate the value of life by living every day to its fullest, so that when we die, they will say that; “so and so lived X number of years…these were the years of his/her life” in that they lived each day to its maximum.

But does this mean that I won’t be watching the next season of קופה ראשית?

Shabbat Shalom!

About the Author
StevenZvi grew up in Brooklyn and in his professional life worked in the healthcare industry in New York City. Wishing to create additional meaning and purpose in his life, he moved to Jerusalem in November 2020, where he lives with his wife, works in the Medical Technology space and volunteers for Hatzalah. He uses his writing capabilities as a healthy outlet not to receive money, recognition or fame. It’s his hope that his articles will have some positive impact on the Jewish nation and humanity worldwide. He may not live forever, but his contributions to society might.
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