Passing Phrase -

Ba Bayamim

Literally: Arrived in Days
Idiomatically: Advanced in years

First a quick note: The Bible sometimes uses the word days but means years (see Rashi’s commentary on Genesis 24:55). Now to the phrase itself: What a nice way to say, got very old! We find this phrase used regarding Abraham (Genesis 24:1). But there is an even a nicer twist to it. The commentary "Metzudat David," written by David Altshuler in the 18th century, explained the phrase "Sometimes people look old, with white hair and wrinkles before their time, others receive their looks in the fullness of their days."

To quote the classical text Bereishit Rabba ( 59:9) written in the 3rd-5th century.

"יש בן אדם שהוא בזקנה ואינו בימים, ויש בימים ואינו בזקנה."

"Yesh ben adam shehu bezikna velo bayamim , veyesh bayamim ve-aino bezikna." There are people who are old without the years, and there are those who have the years but are not old.

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