No … I’m not talking about that kind of schnapps, though Chabad does have an explanation for the association between schnapps and the secret to life. I’m talking about the five elements that ubiquitously attach themselves to Carbon to make more complex arrangements in life forms: Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorous, and Sulfur. A marvelous book by astrobiologist Charles Cockell mentions these six as having the “unmemorable mnemonic CHNOPS”, but that’s likely because he never made a l’chaim!
CHNOPS are the most common elements in living organisms. These elements make up 98% of living matter on earth! It’s time to move on from the schnapps at Tevye’s table, and re-visit these six vital biochemical elements in the periodic table. To learn more about the power of CHNOPS, and how it confers life, here’s a pleasant and informative YouTube video.