|Hmm -- another author with a beard|
The God of the Old Testament did some terrible things -- smiting, plaguing, flooding, destroying cities with fire and brimstone, converting a woman into a pillar of salt, and more.
God also did a lot of good. I'm glad He (or She or It) created sunshine and water and lobsters, clams, tomatoes and friendly, furry animals. I'm not so happy about asparagus, broccoli, rats, mosquitoes and flies.
In Jewish tradition, the book of life is opened on Rosh Hashanah (which started at sundown yesterday), when God begins an annual evaluation of everyone. Those who will be allowed to live stay in the book of life. Others are deleted.
In the time of the Old Testament (many Jewish people prefer to call it The Bible) God presumably wrote on a roll-up scroll, or maybe a stack of stone tablets.
Today the Book of Life might be a PC with a multi-terabyte hard drive and a delete key.
Or, maybe God uses a customized iPad with huge solid-state memory.
It seems like God was the first self-publisher, and is now the oldest. I'll accept this as an almighty endorsement of self-publishing.
My name is an old Hebrew name. It means "who is like God." If I publish what I write maybe I'm even more like God than I thought. [Yes, I know that my name could be a question, but today's blog post works better if I ignore that possibility.]
The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (starting at sundown on 10/3) are known as the Days of Awe and also the Days of Repentance. This is a time to consider the sins of the previous year and to repent. It can't hurt for non-Jews to try it, too. You can also repent in February or August, or on every day. Off-season repentance may not buy you another year, but maybe it will help a bit.
The the operating procedure for the book of life is ambiguous (as are many aspects of religion).
God is sometimes said to have two "books" -- a book of life and a book of death, and He/She/It records who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. It is said that these books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter God's decree. The actions that change the decree are repentance, prayer and good deeds (usually charity). The two "books" are sealed on Yom Kippur.
A common greeting at this time of year is L'shanah tovah ("for a good year"). This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."
At this time, it is common to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the previous year.
So, if I pissed you off during 5774, I'm sorry. I hope I won't be deleted. I'll probably piss others off during 5775. It's educational.