One of the values of modern Judaism is הגשמה Hagshama, translated often as fulfillment. As we reach the station of old age, and at every stop along the way, we ask ourselves if we are fulfilled.
After the last of his life tests, our text teaches that Abraham reached a moment when all was complete – he was blessed בכל bakol with everything. Those familiar with the Prayer after the Meal ברכת המזון Birkat Hamazon will find this word associated there with the legacy of Abraham, asking that we are also blessed as Abraham was, with everything.
However, what does it truly mean to reach this destination of hagshama – fulfillment? To be blessed in all things?
While he was blessed with children, the rabbis are not happy that only this is true fulfillment. They posit that maybe it is (1) the confidence to conquer your own desires, that he was (2) financially secure, that (3) his children finally reconciled, or that (4) God had finally stopped testing him.
The most remarkable thing about this line in the Torah, in my reading, is that it appears as an introduction to the section of חיי שרה Chayeh Sarah where Abraham sends his servant out to find a wife for Isaac. He clearly still has ambition, wants and desires – so I read this a signal of a different kind of faith from Abraham – a faith and a confidence that he and his community can overcome the problems in front of them as they appear.
I pray that we are all able to find moments in our lives where we can appreciate the blessings, and have faith that the community around us will support us in whatever life’s challenges bring – and thus give us an inner sense of peace and fulfillment.