A choice between life and not-life, that we can understand. But to add, “that you may live”: that seems the height of superfluity. If we choose life, of course we shall live.
Rashbam has this to say: “God did not exhort them to choose life like one who serves for a reward; He meant that they should choose what really is life”. Choose life? Of course we will choose life. But what sort of life? That is the question.
Someone said, “Only God can add years to your life. Only you can add life to your years”. The quantity of our life is up to God; we can want many years, but that choice is God’s. Our choice is about quality, putting excitement, meaning and purpose into every single day.
I remember someone saying to me, “I have all I want. Why do I need to live any longer?” I think I gave the right answer: “Life is not about accumulating assets – it’s about being an asset”.
Someone else told me, ‘I’m in pain every day. Every night I ask God to make sure I don’t wake up again”. Here too I hope I gave the right answer when I said, ‘Pain is unbearable, and I hope that God and the doctors can bring you some relief. But don’t pray to die. By being your own sweet self you give your life meaning and enhance the life of those around you.”