Q. Why ask God to inscribe us “For Your sake, O Living God” and not for our own sake?
A. On Rosh HaShanah our agenda is almost entirely spiritual. It is not really physical or material blessings that we ask: not property, furniture, cars or money, but serenity, spirituality, stability, enlightenment, insight and understanding.
When we pray, Avinu Malkenu, kot’venu b’sefer parnasah v’chalkalah – “Write us in the book of sustenance and prosperity”, the material blessings are not an end in themselves but a means to accomplishing mitzvot.
When we pray, “Remember us for life… write us down for life”, it is a life lived for God’s sake that we seek.
If all we want is physical satiety, we are no higher than the animals; otherwise, as the prayers remind us, “the pre-eminence of man over the beast is nothing, for all is ephemeral” (Kohelet 3:19).