Am I truly living or am I merely existing?
When the rabbis of Pumpeditha would take leave of one another, they would wish each other, “May the One who revives life grant you a healthy and good life.” This blessing was based upon the adage in the Book of Proverbs, “For length of days and years of life and peace He shall add to you.” “What does that mean?” asks the Talmud, “are there some years of life and some years not of life?!?”
Rabbi Elazar explains that this blessing refers to those years that are turning points in a person’s life from the bad to the good. In other words, when one is having a bad year, it’s as if one is not living at all! The blessing is that the Almighty grant us years of life, i.e. years that are clearly good and worth living.
While there are some circumstances in life that are beyond our control in terms of fortune and misfortune that befalls us, very often the question of whether or not we are living comes down to our personal attitudinal choices. Will this be a year of life or of non-life? Will I make the most of every moment or will I simply pass the year going through the motions of life, but merely existing and passing time until next year and the following year and the year after that?
Living life, says the Talmud, means that my life is full of joy, full of purpose, full of meaning and direction. If not, I may have had a year, but I have not lived a year. May the Almighty grant us years of life and may we make every effort to do our part to live that blessing to the fullest!