וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן, בָּא בַּיָּמִים
The Degel Machaneh Ephraim taught that each and every single day of Avraham Avinu's life could be accounted for; each day was directed towards the purpose for which he was created.
I came across this teaching in Parshas Chayei Sarah last year and I have been contemplating it ever since my first prima facia reading. I have days where I struggle to shake off my sluggishness and muster even a tiny bit of enthusiasm; where my mind feels clouded and it is difficult to live with the knowledge that there is a deeper purpose behind my routine actions. So, when I attempt to comprehend this level that Avraham Avinu lived on I am simply in awe.
As I continued thinking about the Degel's teaching, I found myself wishing that I could have an instrument that would detect whether or not my actions for that day were directed to the purpose for which my neshoma was sent down into this world; an instrument that could mimic the children's game where one is told whether he is getting "hotter" or "colder" as he attempts to look for an object hidden in the room. I recalled a posting that I wrote three years ago which essentially expressed my wish that free-will could be suspended periodically so I could re-correct my bearing.
Although it is impossible to know whether each individual daily action might register a response of "freezing cold" or "burning up", I suddenly came to the realization that there is, in fact, an instrument in this world that is so sensitively calibrated that it could detect such a thing.
That instrument is the tzaddik who understands that the entire world hinges on his every choice and action.