Sadly, the rule of thumb in this area is that the closer one senses he is to his death, the more he appreciates lost time and wasted opportunity.
If we’ve perhaps been somewhat careless with this golden commodity in the past, now is the time to work on managing our time correctly, infusing it with meaning, and rededicating ourselves to appreciating its transcendental power.
In the Torah, the Patriarch who perhaps best exemplifies what it means to maximize one's time is Avraham.
In the Book of Genesis (24:1), we find an enigmatic statement: "Now Avraham was old, he came with days (Bah Bayomim)…"
What does it mean that Avraham came with days? He most certainly didn’t reach old age carrying a stack of outdated calendars!
Addressing this question, the Zohar (Vayechi) explains that in the supernal Garden of Eden, a person’s clothing – their soul’s ‘clothing’ – is made up of the days of their lives.
In other words, in Heaven we are clothed with time, and one who has wasted their lifetime on Earth will have no garments for their soul in the Afterlife.
By way of example, the Zohar relates that when the Torah tells us that Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:7), in addition to expressing a basic truth about their absence of physical garments, there is a deeper lesson being conveyed here as well.
Adam and Eve are described as naked because at this point, they had only experienced one day in this world … and they had wasted this time in sin! This is the mystical explanation as to why Adam and Eve were naked, and also sheds light as to why G-d had to fashion for them new garments shortly thereafter.
So what does it mean that Avraham “came with days?”
The Zohar explains that in contrast to Adam and Eve, Avraham had used each and every one of his days correctly, replete with maximum Torah accomplishment and mitzvah performance.
As such, Avraham entered his final days in this world with all of his time intact, ready to accompany him to the Next World.
Quite interestingly, the Baal Shem Tov makes a similar point in reference to Genesis 22:3.
The verse there states that Avraham “took his two young men (Shney N’arav) with him.” He notes that the words Shney N’arav can also be read as referring to the “years of his youth.”
In other words, Avraham used his youthful years correctly and packed them with Torah and spiritual accomplishment. In turn, he brought them with him to his old age and eventually to the Afterlife.Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman is an internationally recognized Torah scholar, #1 best-selling author, matchmaker, entrepreneur, attorney, and media personality. His energetic and empowering messages currently reach over 350,000 people per week via social media, NYC radio, and newspaper columns worldwide. His website is www.RabbiBregman.com and his email is RabbiBregmanOfficial@gmail.com.