At the beginning of Chaye Sarah, this week’s Torah portion, we learn of Sarah’s passing away. We read:
And the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years; [these were] the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kiriat Arba, which is Hebron, in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to eulogize Sarah and to bewail her.( Genesis 23:1-2)
It seems strange that the text does not just say that Sarah was 127 when she died. On this Rashi quotes the Midrash which says:
The reason that the word “years” was written after every digit is to tell you that every digit 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. And when she was twenty, she was like a seven-year-old as regards to beauty. (Genesis Rabbah 58:1)
Reaching the end of life makes one reflect about all of life’s stages.
This Midrash reminds me of 7 Years Old by Lukas Graham. Check out the video:
It is worth a reading all the lyrics of this song with the Midrash in mind. But for now I wanted to focus on:
Soon I’ll be 60 years old, will I think the world is cold
Or will I have a lot of children who can warm me
Soon I’ll be 60 years old
Once I was seven years old, my mama told me
Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely
Once I was seven years old
With the passing of time we cycle through our ages, stages, wishes, and aspirations. The wisdom of our elders is that they see the lives that they have lived in hindsight. The beauty of our youth is that we do not know how much we will mess up along the way. It is noteworthy in the song that at the beginning and end of life we are motivated to not be alone. Rashi also comments on the years of the life of Sarah, “All of them equally good.” We should all be blessed to live every stage of life equally full of good deeds and better company.