Kenneth Cohen

Choose Life

It is very fitting that we read in the Torah about the choices that we have. We are in the season of soul searching, where we need to rethink about the path we are taking in our lives.

Moshe Rabbeinu lays it out very simply. Each of us has been given free will that we are supposed to use wisely to make the correct decisions.

There are two paths before us. We can choose blessings and life, or curses and death. Obviously, it is a little more complex than that. For if this were the case, who wouldn’t choose life?

We need to be able to look more deeply at the way we conduct our lives, and what it is that we place the greatest emphasis. It might appear that what we are doing is noble, but maybe it isn’t.

In today’s world, it seems to be perfectly okay, to do “whatever makes you happy.” It is similarly okay to do “whatever makes you feel good.” Such philosophies might seem harmless and legitimate. But this is not the path of life and blessings.

The Book of Job, has the verse, אדם לעמל יולד, “Man was born to struggle.” We are in this world to serve G-d, live by His Torah, and give to others, by way of acts of kindness.

A life of self indulgence and the pursuit of pleasure, will not bear fruit. It only leads to frustration and depression.

The choice before us might require a major change in our lives and our priorities. A wise man sees the future products of his labors. Such a wise man must choose life and blessings.

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