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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Section - Question 12.25: What is the "Book of Life"?

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                                  Answer:
   
   The "Book of Life" is called Sefer HaChaim in Hebrew. The only
   reference to such a book (where the lives of humans are written) that
   occurs in the Torah is in Sh'mot (Exodus) 32:32. According to the New
   JPS translation:
   
     "Now, if You will forgive their sin [well and good]; but if not,
     erase me from the record which You have written!".
     
   In Hebrew the words that are translated as "the record which You have
   written." can also be translated as your book that you wrote. It is as
   close as we come in Torah itself. In the Prophets Malachi 3:16 speaks
   of a scroll of remembrance. Scroll is often a translation of the word
   sefer which is mostly translated as book. In T'hilim (Psalms 69:29)
   you have the expression Sefer Chaim (Book of Life) and the idea of the
   righteous being written into the same. The idea has been developed
   much further in post T'nach (Old Testament) times and is today a
   central motif in the Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur services.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Previous Document: Question 12.24: Why are there different names for G-d?
Next Document: Question 12.26: How does one atone for sins?

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