- General Questions
Hello, I recently read a Jewish book called "All for the boss". In a certain section of the book, it describes how a grandfather "Gave away years of his life" to his ill son (or grandson) in order that he shall live. A few questions about this. 1. Is this even possible? 2. If it is, is it possible nowadays? 3. Is it Kabalah? Thanks.
The Midrash tells of how Adam was supposed to live 1,000 years, but when he foresaw that King David was destined to die after 3 hours, Adam asked God: “Is there [the possibility of giving a] gift in heaven?” And Hashem answered “yes”, and consequently Adam donated him 70 years of his life, and died at the age of 930, and David at the age of 70 (Yalkut Shimoni, Breishit, 41). The Kdushat HaLevi (p. VaY’chi) figures that each of the forefathers in Breishit was supposed to live until the age of his predecessor or son, where Yitzchak lived until 180, but Avraham “gave” 5 years to David and died at 175. Ya’akov died at 147, which is 28 years less than Avraham, which he “gave” to David, and Yosef died at 110, “donating” the 37 years which he lived less than his father, altogether (5+28+37)= 70. On the other hand, as far as we’re concerned, a. Today, we don’t receive such obvious answers in our conversations with God, like our heroes did, in the Tanach. b. When someone gives us a gift, it’s “not nice” and shows a lack of gratitude and appreciation, to give it away to others. c. This is so much more true, regarding God, Who really gives us exactly what we need, that it’s counter-productive and sort of "chutzpa" to give it away! d. It’s a kind of “ayin hara” that a person shouldn’t talk about dying before his time. e. Although it sounds altruistic, halachically, one isn’t allowed to give his life to save someone else’s. Although our question isn’t referring to actually giving up one’s last water to save another at his own expense, the spirit of the law seems to be clear, “v’chai achicha imach” (Bava Metzia 62a, based on Vayikra 25, 36). As mentioned above, this concept is found in the midrash, not necessarily just kabbalistic sources, but we don’t learn practical halacha from midrashim (which usually just comes to teach a message, e.g. David is a continuation of Adam or the fore-fathers…). In short, it’s not recommended, and life should be appreciated and not taken lightly, but if someone does ask God to do so, he has a source upon which he can rely, but that doesn’t mean his request will come true, and maybe, God forbid, just half may be fulfilled (both may die early). We can obviously ask Hashem for help and health, but shouldn’t think that we can “play God”, knowing better than He on such basic Godly issues as who will live and who will die. We are obligated to serve Him, and He isn't obligated to "serve" us…