What's the purpose of life?

Question 7

What is the purpose of life? That’s a very good question. In one sense, between us and God, the purpose of life is to create spaces in which the Divine Presence rests: Whenever we reach out to another human being in love; whenever we do what God does; “Somech noflim v’rofeh cholim umatir assurim,” “Support the fallen, heal the sick, give freedom to those who are confined and bound, imprisoned”; Whenever we are “Oseh mishpat la’assukim”, when we “do justice for the oppressed”; When we are “noten lechem larayvim,” when we “give bread to the hungry” [Psalms 146:7]; Wherever we bring hope, or love, we create a space in which a little fragment of heaven comes down to earth.

And that seems to me to be the fundamental purpose in life. I think people who live that way live extraordinarily meaningful lives. And somehow or other, even though no life is without its trials and its temptations, and its failures, and its sadnesses, and occasional almost moments of despair, nonetheless, if you dedicate your life to bringing God into the world through love, through justice, through compassion, and through forgiveness, you cannot but help to live a life full of meaning, which ultimately is a life filled with joy.

In partnership with TorahCafe (www.torahcafe.com), Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks recorded a series of short videos in May 2013, in answer to some of the most frequently asked questions of Judaism (and faith in general).