Sunday, November 27, 2005

They Shall Still Bring Forth Fruit In Old Age

We just finished the tractate "Shabbat" in my daf-yomi class. This is a long tractate, having 157 pages, and at a rate of a page per day it took over five months to complete.

After the class an old Jew with a long white beard limped into the beit midrash. He's the kind of guy that if you tell him what page you are learning, anywhere in the Talmud, he can tell you what subjects are discussed on that page. We told him that we just completed learning the tractate "Shabbat" and he immediately replied:

That's appropriate for this week's Torah portion as we read:

ואברהם זקן בא בימים

And Abraham was old, well stricken in age...(Genesis 24:1)

"Zaken", the word for "old", has the numerical value 157, the same as the number of pages in the tractate Shabbat. What's more, there are 24 chapters in Shabbat, equal to numerical value of "Kad" (pitcher), which is a central word in this weeks portion (see Genesis 24).

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