Remember Us? / Zochreinu Le-Chayim
Is God not only compassionate, merciful, and patient, but...forgetful, too? "Zochreinu Le-Chayim" - Remember us for life - is one of a number of additions, which are included in the daily Amidah (silent) prayer, beginning on Rosh HaShanah through the end of Yom Kippur. In this striking prayer, we seek to remind God that God desires life and ought to write us in the Book of Life.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהֵי יִצְחָק וֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב הָאֵל הַגָּדוֹל הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא אֵל עֶלְיוֹן גּוֹמֵל חֲסָדִים טוֹבִים וְקוֹנֵה הַכֹּל וְזוֹכֵר חַסְדֵי אָבוֹת וּמֵבִיא גוֹאֵל לִבְנֵי בְנֵיהֶם לְמַֽעַן שְׁמוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה: זָכְרֵֽנוּ לְחַיִּים מֶֽלֶךְ חָפֵץ בַּחַיִּים וְכָתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר הַחַיִּים לְמַעַנְךָ אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים: מֶֽלֶךְ עוֹזֵר וּמוֹשִֽׁיעַ וּמָגֵן: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה מָגֵן אַבְרָהָם:
Blessed are You, Adonoy, our God, and God of our fathers, God of Avraham, God of Yitzchak, and God of Yaakov, the Almighty, the Great, the Powerful, the Awesome, most high Almighty, Who bestows beneficent kindness, Who possesses everything, Who remembers the piety of the Patriarchs, and Who brings a redeemer to their children’s children, for the sake of His Name, with love. Remember us for life, King who desires life; and inscribe us in the Book of Life, for Your sake, Living God.King, Helper, and Deliverer, and Shield. Blessed are You, Adonoy, Shield of Avraham.
  • The word "Life" (chayim) is mentioned five times in this Amidah insertion. What connections do you see between Rosh HaShanah and life? How do you relate to this request right now? Do you understand it as a request for a sustained physical, emotional, or spiritual life? For quantity of life or quality of life?
  • "Zochreinu Le-Chaim" is based on Ezekiel 18:32, which notes that God seeks our repentance, which keeps us alive. In what ways do mistakes you've made and have yet to rectify, or steps you've taken you cannot walk back, lead you to feel like your life is being less than fully lived? If you were able to right those wrongs, how might you feel more alive?
  • "Remember us for life" seems to suggest that we are concerned God will forget us. In what ways in the past year have you felt forgotten? Who in your community has been forgotten about, overlooked or less often included?
  • It makes sense that being inscribed in the book of life is for our sake. How do you understand the prayer's request that God remember us for God's sake?

Want to dive deeper into Jewish sources on these topics?
Check out the remembrance, book of life, and Amida topics pages to get started!