ואברהם זקן בא בימים וה' ברך את אברהם בכל.
“And Avrohom became old and came with his days, and Hashem blessed Avrohom with everything.” (Bereishis 24:1)
Why does the verse say that Avrohom came with his days, instead of his years, when in fact Avrohom was very advanced in years? We must also understand the connection between the first and second parts of the verse. What do Avrohom’s days have to do with Hashem blessing him?
The Kedushas Levi zt”l would quote (Devarim 4:39): “In the Heavens above and on the earth below,” and he would glean the following teaching from these words: Every person has a tendency to be jealous of others who have more than him, but there are also times when a person is satisfied with whatever he has despite others having more. Some people use their jealousy on materialistic things but at the same time they are content with whatever they have spiritually. Such people confuse their priorities. If they see others who have more money or fancier homes, they become envious and cannot be happy with their own lot. But if they see people who have reached greater spiritual heights, they do not become jealous and remain satisfied with their own comparatively minor spiritual achievements. The ideal way is for a person to use his jealousy on spiritual matters and be envious of those who are better than him, and he should be content with the materialistic things he has.
The verse in Devarim can be interpreted that when it comes to “the Heavens” – spiritual matters, then one should look up to those who are “above” him and strive to reach higher, but when it comes to “the earth” – material things, then he should look at those who are “below” and have less than him, and then he will be content.
With this concept, the Kedushas Levi interprets the verse. “And Avrohom was zaken – old, and came with his days.” The word zaken means “zeh shekana chochma” – one who acquired Torah wisdom. When it came to zaken, Torah matters, Avrohom came with his days (as opposed to years). He felt as if he had acquired only a minimum of Torah knowledge and still needs to acquire much more. “And Hashem blessed Avrohom with everything.” But when it came to Hashem’s blessings of wealth and other earthly matters, he always felt as if he already had everything and he was completely satisfied with whatever he had.
“And Hashem blessed Avrohom bakol – with everything.”
Rashi comments that “bakol – with everything, amounts to the numerical value of the word ben – a son. And acher (after) he had a son, he had to find him a wife.”
Why does Rashi say the word acher, after he had he son, instead of saying “since” he had a son?
Rashi’s comment can be understood as follows: The Ari Hakadosh teaches that Yitzchak was born with a neshama that was unable to have children. However, during the Akeidah, his soul left his body, and when the ram was slaughtered in his stead, Yitzchak received a new part to his neshama. This is why after the Akeidah he was able to have children. Yitzchak became “acher” which can also meananother. He became a different person.
Now we can understand Rashi’s comment as follows: “Avrohom was blessed with everything, which means a son. When this son became acher – another person, after the Akeidah, then he had to find him a wife, because he was now able to have children.”
The Kamarner Rav zt”l quotes his father, Rebbe Sender of Kamarna when explaining this verse: “Our sages tell us (Rosh Hashanah 21b) that there are fifty gates of wisdom in the world, and all were given to Moshe except one. Why does it say that ‘all’ where given except one? It should have said that 49 gates were given to Moshe. The reason for this is because the fiftieth gate of wisdom is the concept of ‘nothingness.’ When a person acquires this gate, he understands his own nothingness and he reaches the essence of humility. Since this is a form of wisdom that cannot be given to a person, but must be reached through a person’s own efforts, our sages therefore phrased their worlds to indicate that the fiftieth gate of wisdom was an exception, and although Moshe acquired it, it was not given to him.”
Hashem blessed Avrohom bakol – with everything. Rashi comments that bakol means ben. Both words, bakol and ben, have the numerical value of 50, thereby symbolizing the 50 gates of wisdom. Avrohom was zaken – wise in Torah, and then he acquired the fifty gates of wisdom. And after reaching “ben” (the 50 gates of wisdom), he reached the level of ishah (wife), which symbolizes yiras shamayim, fear of Heaven.
We must learn from Avrohom Avinu to focus all our thoughts on Hashem and concentrate on serving Him, and then we will bring about the ultimate tikkun for the entire world.