times, gray hair was considered a sign of old age, and women tried
to eliminate or conceal white hairs that showed up on their heads,
as recounted in the Talmud: "Seeing a single white hair, she
plucked it out."
the hair was common practice. Josephus
relates that when King Herod grew old and wanted to hide his age, he started
dyeing his hair black.
Even the dyeing of beards was known among the Jews:
"How does a man primp?"
"Like the old slave who went and dyed his head and beard
[so that he'd looked younger and thus be more marketable]."
however, teaches us to accept our sprouting grey hairs graciously.
Abraham became old" (Gen. 24:1).
Until the time of Abraham, there was no old age, so that one who wished
to speak with Abraham might mistakenly find himself speak to Isaac, or
one who wished to speak with Isaac might mistakenly find himself speaking
Abraham came, he pleaded for old age, saying, "Master of the universe,
You must make a visible distinction been father and son, between a youth
and an old man, so that the old man may be honored by the youth."
God replied, "As you live, I shall begin with you."
went off, passed the night, and arose in the morning. When he saw that
the hair of his head and of his beard had turned white. He said, "Master
of the universe, if You given me white hair as a mark of old age, [I do
not find it attractive]." "On the contrary," God replied,
"the hoary head is a crown of glory" (Prov. 16:31)
JT Shabbat, 6a [7d] [back]
 Josephus Flavius (c.38-100 CE), politician, soldier
and historian, accompanied Vespasian and Titus during the siege of
Jerusalem and later lived in Rome, where he wrote his famous books
on Jewish history, The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews. [back]
 Antiochus 16, 233 [back]
 BT Baba Metzia, 60b
 B BM 87a; Gen. R. 65:9 [back]
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