What does it mean when we ask Hashem for life and we say למענך אלקים חיים – “Let us live for Your sake Hashem”?
The words למענך אלקים חיים, for Your sake אלקים חיים mean more than one thing. But one important thing is this. Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants to give us a great gift, the gift of knowing about Him, and that’s what life is for. Now, the fact that you believe in Hashem is very nice but it’s not enough. It’s too weak, too pale. Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants us to think about Him and know Him more than that.
That’s why when Hashem gives us a favor, some form of kindliness, one of the purposes – actually the most important purpose – is so that we should say, “Oh, Hashem, now we see that You are kind. You’re so good to us. We thank You.”
That’s why a beautiful peach is given such a fine color. A blush on each cheek. Why is the peach so beautifully colored? Besides for tasting good inside, why is it so beautifully colored on the outside? Because Hashem wants you to enjoy the peach even more. And why does Hashem want you to enjoy it? We enjoy the peach so that we can thank Him: “Oh Hashem, I thank You so much for this peach.” That’s the purpose – to thank Him. While you’re eating the peach you’re thinking, “Hashem, You’re זן את העולם, You feed the whole world; but not only do You give us food, but You do it בחן בחסד וברחמים. You do it with kindliness. It tastes good too!”
And so as we are living our lives we are learning about the kindliness of Hashem and we are gaining more and more knowledge of Hashem. The more you appreciate what Hashem does for you, the more you gain knowledge of Hashem’s kindliness. And that is a tremendous benefit for us.
And therefore we say, “For Your sake Hashem, give us life.” “For Your sake,” means, “You, Hashem, want us to learn about You because that’s our success in this world. So give us a happy life and we promise You Hashem, that this coming year we’re going to utilize every day to say, ‘Thank You Hashem for today.’”
Today we began the seventh day of the new year! “Oooh, we thank You Hashem.” Seven days already! Seven days! Are you thanking Hashem?! Right now, thank Him. Right now! It’s already seven days. Soon it will be seventy days. Soon it’ll be three hundred and sixty five days. Soon it’ll be Rosh Hashanah again. Did you thank Hashem for that yet? Every year it comes, and you forget to thank Hashem.
So your first obligation is to thank Hashem for what He did for you already. When you use your life to thank Hashem, that’s למענך, that’s living for Your sake, Hashem. You want us to know about You. And the more we enjoy what You give us, we’re going to think about You more and understand You more.
So the coming year, whenever you eat, say,“Ahh! I thank you Hashem for the good bread.” When we wash with soap, we thank Hashem for the soap. “Ahh! Soap is such a wonderful thing!” You drink water, you thank Hashem. You take a bath, you thank Hashem. You put on clothing, you thank Hashem for the clothing. You breathe the air, you thank Hashem for the air.
“Oh, now I see that you know how to live,” Hashem says. “That’s living for My sake. I’m giving you these things for My sake, so that you should appreciate who I am. And if you will understand that I am the מקור החסד, the source of all kindliness in the world, then that’s called living for My sake and that’s what I want from you because that’s your success in life.” That’s למענך אלקים חיים.
TAPE # E-201 (Sept 1999)