Meaning and Purpose
What are you living for? Can you imagine a life void of meaning? Of course not. Dr. Victor Frankl, noted psychologist, in his book “The Unheard Cry for Meaning,” sites the study of an American university in which eighty-five percent of the students who attempted suicide did so because to them “life seemed meaningless.” Frankl writes, “Man is always reaching out for meaning. What I call the ‘will to meaning’ is to be regarded as man’s primary concern.
In Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto’s ethical masterpiece “The Path of the Just,” he begins with the wisdom, “The foundation of piety and the root of pure divine service, is that a person must clarify and make real, what is his purpose/duty/responsibility in life.”
We all know there are different levels of meaning and purpose. Sometimes the meaningful act is short-lived. Others are far-reaching and aimed toward one’s ultimate purpose of life. There are sensory experiences, such as art, music, nature and sports. Then there are intellectual appreciations, when we learn about history, culture, news, and science. Personal relationships can be very meaningful and important. Some strive to connect on the spiritual level through prayer, faith, meditation, and love. We typically feel good about ourselves when we have achieved excellence, prominence, or recognition in some arena of striving. We also feel good about ourselves when we do good and help others.
What is the common denominator? The ultimate meaning is striving to reach your potential and to fulfill your purpose in being created. We are taught that God created each of us in the His image. He created us with a divine soul, a mission (or missions), and with all the means and abilities to achieve our potential and purpose. We attain greatness when we gain true awareness of God – recognizing His greatness, wisdom and kindness. We achieve our higher purpose when we use our G-d-given abilities to strive towards His perfection. We become everlasting when we become attached to His Oneness.
Want to go for the gold? We at Judaism1on1 will teach you how.