Definition of Purpose – How Do We Find It?

Question

It has been made clear that G-d determines our purpose on both a collective and an individual basis. If we choose our purpose, it becomes a goal, not a purpose. So what is Judaism’s definition of a person’s unique purpose and how do we go about finding it? Is it limited to correction of our middos (character traits) or is it more? Do non-Jews have the same type of individual purpose, notwithstanding that their general mission may be different? Thank you for clarifying.

3 years

Answers

  1. I read your letter a few times as I couldn’t decide if I agreed with your definition of purpose and goals and purpose becoming our goals. Finally I decided to try and look for another definition and I found this: “Purpose, which is all about direction, is that something that influences goals. Unlike goal, purpose is broader and deeper. Purpose is directly influenced by the values and beliefs one holds. Purpose is deeply rooted in a person.” To tell the truth I am still not absolutely convinced about that definition either but I find it a little easier to digest as it seems to incorporate both purpose and goals in our lives and it does not suggest that once purpose becomes a goal the purpose disappears.

    In all events, each person’s “purpose” in this world is to do the Will of Hashem. What does that mean? Each person has their own potential to fulfill but the thread that draws us all together is that whatever each person does it needs to enhance Hashem’s Majesty in this world. That means that a person can be lawyer, or a teacher, or a clerk, or a plumber (or anything!) and live a life that reflects the values and the ethics of the Torah and, by doing so, they are achieving their purpose in this world.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team

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