Kenneth Cohen

Choose Life

There is a very famous verse in the Torah, that says the following. “It shall come to pass, that life and death, and the blessing and the curse, shall be placed before you, you shall choose life.”

This would seem to be a pretty obvious choice. Why wouldn’t anybody choose life and blessing, over death and a curse?

The painful answer applies to those whose free choice has been taken from them. This refers to those who are prisoners to their addictions and lusts. They lose their ability to make decisions that will be in their best interest.

Rabbi Twerski included in his list of addicts, not only those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, but he included workaholics, smokers, and eating disorders. This could also apply to those who cannot control their lusts and passions.

All of these individuals are unable to see clearly. They are unable to see the harm they are causing themselves. It is very difficult for their loved ones to reason with them, and get them on the proper path.

A little self analysis, should tell us where we are at this time. The ultimate goal is to have our “Sechel,” intellect, have more power over us than our “Regesh,” emotions. When we are able to do this, we will certainly, “choose life.”

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at