Just and Perfect

“I will give 70 of my years to this neshamah (David Hamelech) as a gift…” (Yalkut Shimoni, Beresheet, remez 41)

The above Midrash reveals that Hashem showed Adam all of his offspring in all generations. When Adam saw that the soul of David was to live only three hours, he gifted him 70 years of the 1,000 years he was supposed to live. Adam even signed a contract witnessed by Hashem and an angel to certify the grant. For 930 years, Adam lived without giving a thought to his generous present. However, when his time to leave this world arrived, he not only tried to renege on the deal; he even denied ever signing any contract! Hashem then produced the document and demanded that Adam keep his word. The Midrash says it is to this incident that David refers in Tehillim 146:3: “Do not put your trust in princes nor in the son of man, in whom there is no salvation.”

Is it fathomable that Adam, the human formed by Hashem Himself, who in total selflessness and pure intent gave 70 years of his life to the spiritually awesome neshamah of David ben Yishai, could deny his good deed ever took place?

Rav Chaim Zaichik (Maayanei Chaim, pp. 3–9) explains that Adam was not someone who simply denied the truth; he was motivated by a strong desire to live. This overpowering desire resulted from his sudden realization of the value of a moment in this world; his spiritual self could not bear the thought of forfeiting a minute of the opportunity to earn eternal benefits that this physical world has to offer. His urge to retract did not originate from evil or another shortcoming. On the contrary, its source was his understanding of the true value of life.

In Hallel we say (Tehillim 116:15): “Precious in the eyes of Hashem is death of His pious ones.” Rashi explains that it is, so to speak, “hard” for Hashem to bring death to the righteous. Homiletically, one may interpret that when Hashem sees how the righteous react when facing death, He is happy that they recognize the value of a moment.

There are two important lessons for us in this Midrash. First, one must take note that today’s gentile world is placing high value on “quality” of life, while the Torah world treasures life itself. With doctors, insurance companies and governments espousing anti-Torah values, one must study our Torah and, in crucial life-threatening situations, consult with competent poskim before making vital medical decisions.

Secondly, Adam did not consider denying the “deal” for 930 years. Only when death was “staring him in the face” did he become irrational in his quest to stay alive. We see from here that when one is young one does not place the proper value on one’s days — even years. Thinking there is so much more to come, one squanders precious moments on frivolities. Only when one has little time left does one begin to “pinch the pennies” of time. One must value every new day as a priceless gift of opportunity. A week at the age of 20 is as valuable — if not more so — than the last week in an elderly person’s life. Don’t waste your most valuable possession — TIME!

Shabbat shalom!