"Now Avraham was old, he came with days (Bah Bayomim)…" (Genesis 24:1)
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 He most certainly didn’t reach old age carrying a stack of outdated calendars!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, 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, the Zohar says there is a deeper lesson being conveyed here. 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 Hashem 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.The Baal Shem Tov makes a similar point in reference to Genesis 22:3. The verse says 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 Avodah. In turn, he brought them with him to his old age and eventually to Olam Haba (the World to Come).
Although most people intrinsically recognize the preciousness of time, few and far between are those individuals who regularly wring the most potential out of each moment. 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.