I get older losing my hair, many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?
by McCartney and Lennon
The wise question asked by our beloved Beatles is a
lasting one. The catchy melody you may find yourself humming conceals the deeper
question of inclusivity and the value we place, regardless of the number, upon
aging. Media prefers that the signs of having lived decades should be
concealed, covered up, ironed out, colored with hair dye or surgically replaced
The Jewish approach to living a long life is much
different. We would like to share with you a very different approach to
celebrating long life from the teachings of Rabbi Schacter-Sholomi from his
book, From Aging to Sage-ing. He writes:
Sage-ing is a process of approaching
aging as a positive journey filled with wisdom, learning and spirituality. It
affirms the importance of the elder years and teaches how to harvest life's
wisdom and transform it into a legacy for future generations.
As an alternative to inevitable senescence, sage-ingis a new model of late-life development that enables older people to become
spiritually radiant, physically vital and socially responsible, elders of the
draw on growth techniques from modern psychology and contemplative practices
from the world's spiritual traditions to expand their consciousness and develop
wisdom. By expressing this wisdom as consecrated service to the community, they
endow their lives with meaning and avoid becoming economic and psychological
burdens on their loved ones and on society. This ongoing process, called sage-ing,
helps us consciously transform the downward arc of aging into the upward arc of
expanded consciousness that crowns an elder's life with meaning and purpose.
This coming Friday, April 27th at 7:30 p.m. we will
celebrate Shabbat with a special focus on Seniors. Sponsored by our CBS Social
Justice/ACT committee, our conversation from Age-ing to Sage-ing commences on
Friday with a practical presentation on health care and legislative support
available to Seniors. We are delighted to welcome two guest speakers Heidi
Richardson and Debra Nussenbaum who will inform on what is provided and what is
possible to making life better.
This week's parasha, Tazria-Metzora, speaks about those
who are put outside the camp due to perceived illness and explains what takes
to bring them out of quarantine. How
does one move from being on the outside to being brought back to the circle?
How can all of us feel included?
It is our duty as a Jewish community to swim against the
media's tide and proclaim that "age-ing is sage-ing." The midrash
teaches that Biblical forefathers, Abraham and Isaac once looked as though they
were exactly the same age. However, G-d wanted Abraham to receive greater
respect, so G-d added lines to his face and whitened his hair. Wisdom of the years needed an visible sign so
we can thank or blame G-d for those tell tale reminders! Like our rabbinic
scholars, in our community we affirm our commitment to our elders and celebrate
the gift of their years. Everyone should be so blessed!