Two retired gentlemen live in my neighborhood. A while back, both were hardworking family men who toiled to provide for their families and accumulate comforts. Now they’ve both reached the golden years.
One of the men has a weekly routine that includes a trip to one of several doctors whom he frequents, a night at the senior citizens’ center, a restaurant dinner with his wife and a lot of time reading newspapers and magazines and listening to “talk radio.” In the winter he goes to Florida to enjoy nice weather, yet finds the days hard to fill productively. In the summer he moves to the mountains where other people his age share a bungalow colony with social activities that fill the time between minyanim. If asked to guess his age, you would probably guess him to be about 10 years older than he really is.
The other man has no time for news and talk. His visits to doctors are for semi-annual checkups and his days are filled with learning Torah and doing chessed. His sage advice is sought by several major institutions of education and chessed. Vacations are a two-week visit to Eretz Yisrael, where he spends busy days visiting Gedolim and observing holy institutions. He has to make time to fit in his minyanim. When anyone becomes aware of his age they are shocked, because he appears to be at least 10 years younger than his age.
Involvement in good when young will keep one young later in life. A Torah life when young will determine how you spend time once you “get old.” The difference between the two men isn’t how they are now — it’s how they’ve lived up to now.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Our culture has become so money-oriented that we judge good or bad, happiness or misery, by material wealth. We even judge people by how much they own. You have heard it said, “He’s worth millions.” That person may have millions of dollars, but that says nothing about how much he is worth… Great wealth is no more a sign of happiness than obesity is a sign of good health. (Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D., Wisdom Each Day, p. 137)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.