Want to keep in the loop on the latest happenings at Chabad Lubavitch of Idaho. Subscribe to our mailing list below. We'll send you information that is fresh, relevant, and important to you and our local community.
Printed from JewishIdaho.com

Just Getting Started

Thursday, 21 October, 2010 - 5:57 pm

One of the great political debates currently raging in America surrounds Social Security entitlement. Contemporary thinking is that the Social Security fund will run dry soon if taxes (contributions) aren’t raised or benefits reduced. One of the passionate issues at hand is at what age people should retire. The question rages, “Should the eligibility age be raised?”

In other words, with longer life spans (thanks to modern medicine and health awareness), there is considerable thought given to keeping people in the workforce longer.

Indeed, there are many variables that affect this discussion and it would be remiss to draw a conclusion based on retirement age alone. The dialogue does, however, allow for a side-discussion on retirement.  When is the ripe age for retirement? What is the goal of retirement? How should one’s time be occupied after retiring from an occupation?


In this week’s Parsha of Vayeira we read about Avraham recovering from circumcision. The Torah relates that “he was he was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot.”

The Talmud explains that he was sitting at the entrance of his tent “to see whether there were any passersby whom he would bring into his house.” In other words, he was looking to do a mitzvah, the commandment of Hachnasat Orchim, hospitality to guests.

Let’s view this with some background. Avraham is now recovering from an intense surgery at the age of ninety-nine. Instead of convalescing indoors, he sits out in the hot sun to search for guests.

From the last Torah portion it is very evident that Avraham led a life full of good deeds and was a successful trailblazer in his campaign to spread the belief in ethical monotheism. 

At 99 years old, wasn’t it time to sit back and let others do the heavy lifting? Was he not due some R&R?

Yet Avraham realized that retirement applies only to a job, not to a way of life. If I’m still alive, Avraham teaches, there must be something important for me to contribute.

In fact, at 99, he began a brand new life. A life of a new bond and covenant with G-d (circumcision).

When we look at our senior citizens or our aging selves, let’s remember the model and lesson of Avraham. Retiring from employment may be an end to a career, but it’s also an opportunity to start a new mission, a new contribution to society.

Comments on: Just Getting Started
There are no comments.