Know Your Life's Purpose

The Rebbe's answer to the ultimate question.

Rabbi Aron Moss,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7
I am fascinated by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneersohn. He has touched so many lives, and even now, fourteen years after his passing, he has the power to inspire. Can you sum up what his philosophy was all about?
I once read a correspondence the Rebbe had with a man who was questioning his own life's purpose. He wrote to the Rebbe saying that for his entire adult life he had been searching for the reason for his existence. He had discussed this with every wise person he had ever come across, read every book on meaning and purpose he could find, and he had traveled to faraway places to seek the guidance and insight of some of the greatest spiritual leaders, but no one had ever been able to tell him what his purpose was.

"So now," he wrote, "I am turning to the Rebbe for his insight. Can you tell me what my purpose in life is?"
I was excited when I read the question. What answer would the Rebbe offer to the ultimate question we all ask? This wisest of sages, with the keenest insight into human nature and the workings of the universe, how would he respond to the most fundamental question of all - why am I here?
I was disappointed by the answer.
The Rebbe responded: By the time you figure out what your mission is, you will have no time to fulfill it. So just get on with it.
When I read this, I was confused. What type of an answer is that? Here you have a guy asking what his mission is and the Rebbe responds by saying forget about what your mission is and just do it. Well, how are you supposed to do that? You can't give someone a job without a job description and tell them to get on with their work.
My life's purpose? I'm not sure. But today's purpose I can know just by opening my eyes.
But, in time, I have come to appreciate the extraordinarily simple wisdom in the Rebbe's response, something that reflects his entire approach to life.
We can spend a lifetime philosophising about the meaning of life, pondering our purpose in the universe, and miss out on actually living. I may not know why I am here, I may never know, but one thing I do know: today I was given another day of life; and along with that I was given many opportunities to do good.
We can't afford the luxury of self-absorbed soul-searching. Not that we shouldn't think about life. Just that we mustn't be drowned in our own thoughts and never get around to doing anything. Life is too short for that.
My life's purpose? I'm not sure. But today's purpose I can know just by opening my eyes. Who around me needs my help? How can I improve the little corner of the world that I live in? How can I edge the world towards goodness today? What can I do, no matter how small, to bring smiles to faces and hope to hearts in need?
This is the depth of the Rebbe's advice. Do more acts of goodness and your life's purpose will unravel before you, one day at a time.