Avos *Zochreinu* - Etz Yosef


זָכְרֵֽנוּ לְחַיִּים מֶֽלֶךְ חָפֵץ בַּחַיִּים;

וְכָתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר הַחַיִּים לְמַעַנְךָ אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים 1, 2:

(During the Ten Days of Penitence add:) Remember us for life King, Who desires life;

and inscribe us in the Book of Life, for Your sake, Living God.)


וְכָתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר הַחַיִּים לְמַעַנְךָ אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים 1:

This clause of the beracha employs a careful syntactical structure strategically crafted to present a compelling and rational appeal before Hashem, beseeching for to include us in the Book of Life.

The Medrash says:

דבר אחר הולך את חכמים (משלי יג כ) זה יהשע שנדבק למשה שנאמר יהושע בן נון מלא רוח רוח חכמה כי סמך משה את ידיו עליו ומה כתיב כאשר הייתי עם משה אהיה עמך.(יהושע א ה)

ומה אם כשהוא מזדוג לבשר ודם זוכה להיות כמותו, ישראל שמדובקים לחייו של עולם על אחת כמה וכמה שיהו קיימים לעולם, מנין ממה שקרינן בענין ואתם הדבקים וגו',

The Medrash opens us up to the concept that a Jew, just by virtue of being a Jew, is forever attached to his roots, and is shares the qualities that his roots have.

Since, as the Medrash says, we are attached to Hashem, and Hashem is called the "Living" G-d, it stands to reason that we, as His people, should be inscribed in the Book of "Life" - a good case indeed!

In light of the Medrash's assertion that we are forever connected to Hashem, and given Hashem's designation as the "Living" G-d, it logically follows that we, as His devoted people, should be unequivocally registered in the Book of "Life."

This proposition presents a compelling and virtuous argument!


וְכָתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר הַחַיִּים לְמַעַנְךָ אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים, 2:

Etz Yosef gives another explanation of this clause in from a slightly different angle.

In a chapter of Tehillim where Dovid HaMelech pokes fun at the worthlessness of idols being inanimate and powerless objects, he turns his attention to the worshippers who subscribe to the folly of believing in them and says:

In a chapter 115 in Tehillim, Dovid HaMelech, highlights the inherent futility of idols – mere lifeless and impotent artifacts.

His discourse doesn't stop at critiquing these inanimate objects; he also directs his scrutiny towards the worshippers of those idols, where he writes:

(ח) כְּ֭מוֹהֶם יִהְי֣וּ עֹשֵׂיהֶ֑ם כֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁר־בֹּטֵ֣חַ בָּהֶֽם׃

(8) Those who fashion them, all who trust in them - shall become like them.

Now, there is a Talmudic dictum that reward of good deed is meted out in greater excess than the punishment of a misdeed:

וכי איזה מדה מרובה מדה טובה או מדת פורענות הוי אומר מדה טובה

For which is the greater force, reward or punishment? Surely one must say reward.

Based on this, if we curse that the idol worshippers should become lifeless like their gods are, in an even greater measure, we can ask that Klal Yisrael should become living like our G-d is!

This is another rightful "claim" we have to ask Hashem to be written in the Book of Life - just by virtue of us being Yidden!

Ksiva V'Chasima Tova.