Monday, September 8, 2014

Judaism's Top 40 - Elul 13, # 29 in the countdown - Hayyim - Life

Most people are aware that "chai" or "life" in Hebrew numerology (Gematria) equals 18.  Hence, all those $18 checks you got for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah - or a higher multiple of 18 of your great aunt was a big spender. 

But life (hayyim, the plural, is the more common usage), is more important than simply a number on a check.  Our Torah demands it: Choose life!  Rabbi Yitz Greenberg has written eloquently of Judaism's narrative as being one of the "Triumph of Life."  (Also hear this lecture on the topic).  Greenberg states that life is growing, perfecting and is the ultimate reality.  Rabbi Neil Gillman also speaks of the Jewish narrative being that of the "Death of Death."

Judaism has a variety of accepted views on the afterlife, the general view is that action is taking place here and now, that this life is very real and of cosmic significance, and that ultimately it right here where death will be defeated.  There is a movement, from chaos to order, from no life to life itself, to highly evolved forms of life.  Kabbalistic views would have it that even God is evolving and we are rooted in that divine energy.   

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