Yom Kippur

What does the “Book of Life” mean?

Yom Kippur is over! I had a great time praying in the Old City but I have to admit that I was suffering from a terrible headache yesterday afternoon. Most of the time during Ne’ilah service, I had to sit because I felt dizzy. Despite the easy fast pills I took before the fast came in. Well, it looks like I am getting old. 🙂
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the Yom Kippur service at Aish HaTorah together with the Heritage House. What I always like most are the lectures in between given by Rabbi Yaakov Marcus. We had a great crowd this year and lots of Q&A answered by the Rabbi.
Someone was asking a question “What the whole Book of Life business means”. Can we really change our destiny when we pray with tremendous Kavanah on Yom Kippur?
Rabbi Marcus answered that many Jews overestimate the “Book of Life” concept because they think that our Yom Kippur prayers and repentance causes G-d to provide us with success, money, a career and health for the New Year. The more intense we pray, the more G-d is changing our destiny and we won’t die during the year.
People who think this way are very much mistaken. What the “Book of Life” actually stands for is “our ability to live according to the Mitzvot”. If we lead a life according to the Torah, our Neshama (soul) is receiving a better place (closer to G-d) in the Olam Habah. The closer our Neshama is to G-d, the more “life” it receives. Meaning that our Neshama receives eternity.
In case we do not live according to the Torah Mitzvot, our Neshama does not get such a great place and the more it is distanced from G-d, the less it receives the kind of “life” if it was the other way around.

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