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    My old grandma was 99 – Lech L’cha

    There is an old music-hall song, “My old Grandma was 99 and couldn’t thread a needle”.

    The Bible has a quite different notion of old. Instead of deteriorating eyesight at 99, at that age Abraham had gained extra perception. At 99 his mind became aware of God (Gen.17:1).

    Why did God’s self-revelation come so late in Abraham’s life? Maybe it indicates that Abraham had been puzzling things out for many years and it was not until he was elderly that he had a probably sudden inrush of inspiration.

    Tradition denies that this was full prophecy, and it seems that what really came to Abraham at that point was that the Divine Name Shaddai, meant “self-sufficient in power”, though some of the Targumim think that what God revealed to Abraham was not the idea that He was powerful (she-dai) but that He is the God of the heavens (shamayim).

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