Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Good Life

On our list of items for which we pray, we generally include: health, blessing, and prosperity. In our minds, parnassah plays a prominent role in our assessment of the blessings that we enjoy. This seems logical, as our livelihood impacts prominently on so many other areas of life.
And yet, during davening today, it dawned on me that while we do certainly pray for a good livelihood, it's not at all connected to the quality of our lives. During the responsive section of Avinu Malkeinu, we pray that God inscribe us in a number of books.
כתבנו בספר חיים טובים
כתבנו בספר גאולה וישועה
כתבנו בספר פרנסה וכלכלה
Inscribe us in the Book of Good Life
Inscribe us in the Book of Redemption and Salvation.
Inscribe us in the Book of Livelihood and Sustenance
These clearly are three distinct and separate books. (Wouldn't you love to download the Book of Good Life on your Amazon Kindle and read that!) We pray first for a Good Life, and only later for parnassah. They are not, as we might have imagined, interconnected. Apparently, one need not be blessed with Livelihood and Sustenance to be inscribed in the Book of Good Life.
What then does it mean to live a Good Life?