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    Life before death

    choose lifeDeath is a fact but not an obsession.

    Some Jewish texts such as Pir’kei Avot assert that this world is the entrance hall of the World to Come.

    It is problematic if this implies that the afterlife matters more than life on earth.

    The Kabbalah said that this is olam ha’asiyyah, the world of action, the world where things are done, the world of achievement.

    Life on earth is important in itself, not for any reward that lies in store in the World to Come.

    This is the world where so many things are good and we can make them even better. This is the world where there is so much potential and our task is to uncover and discover the potential and bring it out into the open to flourish and grow.

    No-one knows precisely what awaits us in the next world; indeed we don’t even know what lies around the corner in this world. But in this world we know that if we have challenges we also have opportunities.

    The High Holyday prayers say, Hayom Harat Olam, “This day the world is burgeoning with promise” (the translators often miss the point that harat is a word for pregnancy; it is sheer imagination to render the words “This day is the world’s assize”).

    Turning the promise into reality is the privilege that is placed in our hands every Rosh HaShanah.

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