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When Was Adam's Mid-Life Crisis?

Monday, 28 October, 2019 - 6:33 pm


Question of the Week:


Can you explain why Genesis describes the lifespan of the early generations as being incredibly long? Adam is said to have died at age 930, Noah was almost 500 when he started building the ark (not bad!) and Methuselah lived a world record 969 years! So what happened? Why don't we live that long anymore?




The longevity of our patriarchs raises several questions. What does it feel like to hit 900? When did they have their mid-life crisis? Were centenarians getting up to teenage mischief? Did parents tell their children, "Stop acting like a forty year old!"?


Whatever the case, we find that the first few generations lived extremely long, and then after Noah's flood the average lifespan reduced dramatically, with people living about as long as we do today. 


The main difference between the earlier generations and the later is that in the first generations of humanity, they were all new souls. The souls of Adam and Eve, their children and grandchildren were coming into this world for the first time. Not so the following generations, who possessed souls that had been here before and were sent back in another incarnation.


Each soul comes down into this world to fulfill a set of missions, and it is given a lifespan that is long enough to complete these missions. But if for whatever reason a soul does not complete all the work it needs to in one lifetime, it is given more chances. A reincarnated soul is a spark of an earlier soul that comes back to earth in a new body to complete unfinished business from its previous life.


The earlier generations had big souls and long life spans, because they were fresh and new and had a lot of work to do. But things didn't always work out as planned, and so their souls had to come back and tidy things up. These big souls were spread out among thousands and millions of reincarnations, smaller souls with less work to do, and thus shorter life times to do it.


None of us know how much time we have, but we do know that we don't have centuries. We don't have the luxury to start building our ark when we are 500. Better start now.


Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss



Ohr Hachaim, Parshas Vayechi Bereishis 47:29

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