Search Library

Origin of l'chaim

Origin of l'chaim

Clip Featured in Ezra Haggadah's

Consecration and wishing l'chaim.

וכששבין מלחקור, אומר להם, סברי מרנן. והם אומרים, אם לחיים לחיים, ואם למיתה למיתה. אם הוא מחויב סקילה, מביאין לו יין טוב וחזק ומשקין אותו, כדי שלא יצטער מן הסקילה.

"After they return from the investigation, one says to them ' savri maranan (have the gentlemen formed an opinion)?' And they say, if to life lechayim - to life, and if to death, lemavet - to death." And if he is sentenced to stoning, they bring him strong good wine to drink, and have him drink it, so he won't suffer during the stoning. "

After this vivid picture associating wine with capital punishment, one can understand how there would be a need to put a more positive spin on wine. And so we see the continuation of the midrash:

וכן שליח צבור כשיש בידו כוס של קדוש או של הבדלה , והוא אומר סברי מרנן, ואומר הקהל לחיים, כלומר כי לחיים יהא הכוס.

"And so also the Shaliach Tsibur (= cantor) when he has a cup of kiddush or havdala in his hand and he says 'savri maranan', and the congregation says lechayim - to life, as to say that the cup will be to life."