G’mar chatima tova” is the Hebrew greeting on Yom Kippur. It means “May you be sealed in the Book of Life.” (Source: Marriane Williams)
What a blessing, what a hope to be sealed in the Book of Life.
I have always struggled with dualistic takes on spirituality, the goodies and the baddies version of spirituality. All those poor souls on the left hand path or languishing in hell; those poor goats sprily gamboling away from love, light and peace. No one is entirely beyond the pale, surely?
The idea of the righteous and the unrighteousness seems too bound up with social control and religious power. Woman in pure white gown go straight to heaven, while woman struggling with ambiguity goes straight to purgatory. And as for the big bad woman, she's already on her way to hell, right? No. That doesn't seem right to me, especially if such a philosophy/theology is wielded by those in authority.
I did a bit of lazy research on Wikipedia and discovered there is also a Book of the Dead in the Jewish tradition and, once your name gets written in there, you're knackered, unlike those lucky souls who get written into the Book of Life and are therefore guaranteed a passport to heaven. Surely it's not so simple? People are not wholely or good or wholely bad. (Not that I've ever had much truck with the self declared followers of darkness such as Satanists and Alister Crowleyites. Something lacking there, I think.)
Despite my issues with dualism, though, I would want my name to be sealed in the Book of Life, who wouldn't? To be, metaphorically and spiritually, sealed into to growth, wisdom, love, forgiveness, compassion, to radiate the love of something greater and infinitely precious would be just grand.
For me, being 'included in the book' would not be about perfection or being some goody- two - shoes-holier-than-thou arse-hole but something far more human altogether. Being a good friend, a wise counsellor, to be kind and funny, to be less of dick when it comes to my relationship with other people. To be internally at peace with myself and the world around me, and being filled with the 'divine' spark of life. To be able to get out of bed in the morning with a bit of joy inside.
That would be nice. That would feel really blessed.
And because I want this for myself, I want it for all those with whom l share space, those with whom I interact and anyone who has taken the time to engage with my ramblings.
So, several days after Yom Kippur, and within a wide and very secular context, please accept my blessing that you 'be sealed within the book of life.'