web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Why Did God Put Us Here?

It is easy to go through the motions of our days, weeks, months and years and not ask ourselves, “What is it that God wants from me?”

Some of us tend to think it is our right to choose and become anything we want to be without checking in with Him. We enjoy the pleasures this world has to offer – food, travel, entertainment, you name it. And if our plans go haywire, we get angry at God for having the audacity to intervene.

For example, a spouse who dies prematurely, a child who gets sick and passes away at a young age, or someone learning he or she has a life-threatening illness. “But God,” we ask, “how could you do this to me? Just when my business was beginning to flourish, and we were finally solvent enough to enjoy our new and spacious house, how could you throw us a lousy curveball at a time like this?”

Many of us are forced into thinking about existential questions only when we are confronted with a crisis. Why is it that we need a jolt before thinking about life in a deeper, more meaningful way?

Someone once lamented to me that his severely handicapped child would never walk or talk, couldn’t get dressed by himself, and needed to be fed and bathed. He asked me, What good purpose is he serving here? Why does he need to go through the torture and pain of having such a severe disability? Why does God put such beings on earth altogether?

The great 20th century gadol the Chazon Ish (Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz) made it a practice that when a mentally or physically challenged person entered the room, he would stand at attention out of kavod.

What? This talmid chacham got up and stood for a mentally handicapped individual? For a wheelchair-bound person who drooled all over himself and couldn’t even say the letter aleph? For an incoherent one with a contorted face?

Ah, the Chazon Ish explained, these individuals have special neshamot – they are all on a much higher level than us “normal” functioning humans. They already had led lives filled with Torah and mitzvot – they raised beautiful families, were brilliant students, were successful professionally. They had accomplished all these things in a previous gilgul (incarnation).

But these special neshamot, after 120, begged Hashem to come back to earth because there were maybe one or two little tikunim they needed to make toward perfection, and they could only do it here on earth. So they are born with severe disabilities – because they have no further need to speak or to hold a job or to sit and learn or to do mitzvot. They are here in their seemingly limited capacities.

Why? Read on carefully now: In order to give their parents and others around them the opportunity to do chesed. Here, take care of me so that you can grow in your deeds. I am here so that I could be an object of your love. Nothing more, nothing less.

Who are we, then, to judge whether their existence is justified or not? The Chazon Ish stood because these individuals are a cut above – a special breed that should not be judged by outer appearance.

Life is full of twists and turns. Everything that happens around us is for a reason. Each person we come in contact with is there for a specific purpose. Some neshamot get replanted in this world just to fix one thing they failed to accomplish in a previous life. They might spend fifty or sixty years living their lives waiting for that one critical moment that defines their whole purpose in being here.

Rabbi Yitzchok Kirzner said that we are given a soul in an underdeveloped state, and it is our task to develop that soul through its contact with the world. We create a relationship with our soul, and in doing so we create ourselves as expressions of it. It is by struggling to define ourselves in terms of the soul that we gain possession of it. Only by overcoming barriers placed in our path does the soul become something earned and thus our own.

About the Author: Dr. Bernie Kastner is the author of the newly released book “Understanding the Afterlife in This Life” (Devora Publishing). He holds a doctorate in Counseling and is currently in private practice in Jerusalem.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Why Did God Put Us Here?”

  1. God put us here to know, love him and serve him.
    There is no such thing as reincarnation.
    The law was given to show what we should do even though we can't.
    We need a savior and he was sent 2,000 yrs ago. He is coming back.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
What, me incite terror? Abba: "The Jews must be barred by any means possible."
Ex-Senior Justice Official Asks Homeland Security to Ban Abbas from US
Latest Indepth Stories
Jo-map

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

bulb

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

Medics evacuate the dead and injured after attack on Har Nof synagogue Tuesday morning.

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Kfar Kana Riots

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

Israel’s Temple Mount policy prefers to blames the Jews-not the attackers-for the crisis.

When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.

I joined the large crowd but this time it was more personal; my cousin Aryeh was one of the victims.

Terrorists aren’t driven by social, economic, or other grievances, rather by a fanatical worldview.

The phrase that the “Arabs are resorting to violence” is disgraceful and blames the victim.

Tuesday, Yom Shlishi, a doubly good day in the Torah, Esav’s hands tried to silence Yaakov’s voice.

Because of the disparate nature of the perpetrators, who are also relatively young, and given the lack of more traditional targets and the reverence Palestinians have for their homes, one now hears talk of Israel returning to a policy of destroying the houses of terrorists’ families.

More Articles from Dr. Bernie Kastner

It is easy to go through the motions of our days, weeks, months and years and not ask ourselves, “What is it that God wants from me?”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/why-did-god-put-us-here/2013/06/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: