By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, March 6, 2009

This months award to Israeli professor, Robert Aumann, of the Nobel Prize for Economics, kalkalah, got me thinking about the origins of the Hebrew term.

Kalkalah derives from kol, meaning all and kollel, meaning to encompass or include. The verb kilkel therefore means to provide with everything or sustain. On Yom Kippur we ask for parnasah and kalkalah, all the material support and wellbeing that we need over the coming year.

A kalkalah is also a fruit basket. Kalkalah is thus the science (so economists will tell you) of managing ones basket of goods. This is similar to the sense of economy, which derives from the Greek word oikonomia, meaning the management of a household.

Succot is the holiday more than any other when we pray for blessings of kalkalah for the coming year. The water- drawing rituals of the Temple served to ask for the blessing of rain, which was the main ingredient for a year of prosperity. Our prayer for rain on Shemini Atzeret is also a request for material blessing of all kinds.

Last updated: 12:31pm, March 6 2009