Rabbi Mark Blazer | Writing in the Book of Life

Rabbi Mark Blazer
Rabbi Mark Blazer

Just last month we lost a great Dodger and national treasure Vin Scully. He was a legend who not only shared his vast knowledge of sports, but also wonderful stories and even a gentle philosophy of love and respect. 

He shared so many memorable words over his amazing career, but one of my favorite moments came about 30 years ago as he was calling a game where the great Montreal Expo Andre Dawson couldn’t play because he was injured. And as Vin said: 

Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day.” He paused… “Aren’t we all? Aren’t we all?” 

Each year at the High Holidays, which this year begin on Sept. 25, we are confronted by our own fragility, our own mortality. We pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life as we recognize humbly that this coming year could be our last. A frightening thought.  

However, in a positive way this imagery teaches us to use our fear of death to appreciate the immense potential that life has to offer. There is no time for regret or worry, no time to put off facing the truth, or to delay thanking our beloveds. In addition, each moment takes on an urgency, as we ask ourselves the question: “What remarkable, extraordinary and amazing things will I do with this wild and wonderful miracle, my one and only life?” 

This reflection will hopefully lead us into a life where the day after the holidays and every day to come, for however many we will blessed with, we will ask ourselves: “What will I do with this wild and wonderful miracle, this one and only day, which can never be repeated?” For how we spend each of our days, will decide how we spend our lives. 

We write in the Book of Life. We write it — day by day, moment by moment. During the High Holidays we are reminded of our potential, and that every action, every good deed, has the power to change the world. You don’t have to be Jewish, celebrate Rosh Hashanah or believe in a Book of Life to understand this.  

In the end when your time is done, when that last page is written, hopefully you will have created a book that is also a legacy, a life that wasn’t only for you. It is a force that continues on after you are gone. One for your children, for your grandchildren, for your friends and community. If we understand this truth, that when you leave this world with important, life-affirming work still left to be done – and it isn’t an if, it’s a when – there will be people who will finish your work for you. 

We hope with all our hearts that we will be blessed with another year of life, of health and peace, however we measure our calendar. But not only that, let us make whatever time we have a blessing. Let us live our lives with the belief that we are all capable of doing amazing things, endowed with the potential for wondrous growth. So that as we consider our lives, we are strengthened with the knowledge that the time we have been blessed us with, was time well spent. 

May you be written in the Book for Life, peace and blessing. 

Rabbi Mark Blazer is the rabbi of Temple Beth Ami in Santa Clarita.  

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