The Purpose of Life

August 20, 2011 | by

I'm 16, thinking about my life, college, career. I see a lot of unhappy adults and I don't want to end up like them. They have a lot of money, but their personal life seems empty. So, rabbi, what is man's purpose in life?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

Believe it or not, the purpose of life is to attain pleasure.

A primary source of pleasure is having power.

What is power?

A glance at the world would tell us that power comes from owning things. Ownership is the ability to control, which gives us the feeling of power. The more things we own, people believe, the more power we have!

In truth, however, "things" are temporary since they often break and deteriorate. When the object breaks, so does our power. This cannot be true power, since true power must transcend breakage. It is logical to conclude that true power must transcend physicality all together. It also follows that true transcendent power should only be able to be obtained by plugging into a truly transcendent source of power.

God and His Torah are the truly transcendent sources of power.

Every drop of Torah that is learned, and every mitzvah accomplished, gets one closer to God and nourishes the soul, which is also transcendent. This nourishment gives the soul power, not only in this world, but even when the soul has departed from the body at life's end. This is truly transcendent power!

What does all this have to do with pleasure?

Just as true power cannot be obtained by amassing "things" (since the power it caused was merely transient), it follows that true pleasure must also have a sense of permanence and not be merely a fleeting pleasurable moment.

Permanent pleasure is being plugged in to God. God created the universe so that we could experience this pleasure.

Pleasure is knowing that God loves us. Pleasure is knowing that God is intimately involved in our lives. Pleasure is knowing that our soul is eternal and is completely pure. Pleasure is knowing that there is meaning in life and that our actions on Earth make a difference.

This pleasure is obtained by giving power to the soul - which comes through learning Torah and connecting to God, the ultimate source of power and pleasure.

To learn more, see

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