1

Posting for a friend:

"Where is the medrash that describes the eight stages of life? I think it refers to the first stage of infancy as being like a king.

Thank you!"

3

The source seems to be Kohelet Rabba 1:2, which describes seven stages of life, corresponding to the seven occurrences of הבל in Ecclesiastes 1:2 (the plural form is counted as two occurrences):

רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר רַב יִצְחָק מַתְנֵי לָהּ בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר, שִׁבְעָה הֲבָלִים שֶׁאָמַר קֹהֶלֶת כְּנֶגֶד שִׁבְעָה עוֹלָמוֹת שֶׁאָדָם רוֹאֶה, בֶּן שָׁנָה דּוֹמֶה לְמֶלֶךְ נָתוּן בְּאִיסְפְּקַרְפַּסְטִי וְהַכֹּל מְחַבְּקִין וּמְנַשְּׁקִין אוֹתוֹ, בֶּן שְׁתַּיִם וְשָׁלשׁ דּוֹמֶה לַחֲזִיר שֶׁפּוֹשֵׁט יָדָיו בְּבִיבִין. בֶּן עֶשֶׂר שָׁנָה קוֹפֵץ כִּגְדִי. בֶּן עֶשְׂרִים כְּסוּס נָהֵים מְשַׁפַּר גַּרְמֵיהּ וּבָעֵי אִתְּתָא. נָשָׂא אִשָּׁה הֲרֵי הוּא כַּחֲמוֹר. הוֹלִיד בָּנִים מֵעֵז פָּנָיו כְּכֶלֶב לְהָבִיא לֶחֶם [נסח אחר: להם] וּמְזוֹנוֹת. הִזְקִין, הֲרֵי הוּא כְּקוֹף. הֲדָא דְּתֵימַר בְּעַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ, אֲבָל בִּבְנֵי תוֹרָה כְּתִיב (מלכים א א, א): וְהַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִד זָקֵן, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא זָקֵן, מֶלֶךְ.

The stages are:

  • When a person is 1 year old: king
  • When a person is 2-3 years old: pig
  • When a person is 10 years old: goat
  • When a person is 20 years old: horse
  • When a person is married: donkey
  • When a person has children: dog
  • When a person reaches old age: monkey

And finally, righteous people remain similar to kings their entire life.

  • I wonder what the Midrash's reasoning is for likening certain animals to certain ages. – ezra Oct 17 '18 at 6:06
  • @ezra Most of the reasons are mentioned in the midrash itself. For example, a person at the age of 1 is like a king because everyone is hugging and kissing him. Apparently the comparison of an old man to a monkey is the only one that is without an explanation – b a Oct 17 '18 at 8:40

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