During his sermon on Yom Kippur the other night, my friend Rabbi Norman Cohen shared that the Torah describes Abraham as being both “old and advanced in years,” a seemingly redundant description. Rabbi Cohen explained that the Torah commentaries “explain this apparent redundancy by insisting that that not only was [Abraham] full of years but his years were full. He made the most of each day.” That reminded him of a satirical quote by Jonathan Swift: “May you live all the days of your life.”
Rabbi Cohen then shared a blessing he sometimes uses at baby namings, a blessing addressed to all present. I thought it was beautiful and asked his permission to share it here. He gave that permission, while also letting me know that he did not compose it; he found it a long time ago. With gratitude to whoever is the source:
To live all the days of our lives means to keep our minds alive, to be open to new ideas, to entertain challenging doubts, nurture a lively curiosity and strive constantly to keep learning.
To live all the days of our lives means to keep our hearts alive, to deepen our compassion, add to our friendships, retain a buoyant enthusiasm, grow more sensitive to the beauty of the world and to the wonder and the miracle of being part of it.
To live all the days of our lives means to keep our souls alive, to grow more responsive to the needs of others, more resistant to consuming greed, more nourishing of our craving for fellowship, more devoted to truth and integrity.
To live all the days of our lives means to keep our spirits alive, to surround ourselves with positivity and hope, even when life sometimes brings so much uncertainty, while attempting to face the future with confidence.
To live all the days of our lives means to keep our faith alive, to remain rooted in a rich heritage, to be sustained by worship, and strengthened by a community from which we draw abiding kinship, and to which we lovingly bring the finest fruits of our minds and hearts.
To live all the days of our lives means to love and to be loved.
Let us bring all our energies to bear upon the rewarding and exhilarating task of fully living all the days of our lives.
May we each live all the days of our life.