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November 24, 2008


Dixie Yid

As a point on the other side, there is a chapter in Tzav V'Ziuz, by the Piaczena Rebbe, where he laments the humiliations of old age when a person hasn't worked to refine himself throughout his life. He had witnessed a very old man doing something repulsive and it really saddened him to see the low point a person could come to, even at that age, when he hasn't already worked to refine himself. It makes the point that this kind of old age can indeed be a blessed time, as you write about, for those who have been working all along to sanctify themselves.

-Dixie Yid


Yes, I recall seeing that in the English translation of this work. It's not quite the issue of infirmities but the absolute disgust at this old man seeking out sin despite being physically weakened to perform it. There was also an interesting discussion of why a person can be a tsaddik when young and then succumb to the lowest sins at an old age.

I think that Chazal hold the same.

Cf. Pesachim 113: The rabbis taught: .... The following four are unbearable: A poor man who is vain, a rich man who constantly tells lies, an old man who is lascivious, and a president of a congregation who considers himself superior to all others without cause.

A more relevant source is the dsicussion of Barzilai in Shabbat 152a and "Rav sighed when Rav Kahana read the passage from Job regarding the impotence of old age in front of him", ibid

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