If you don’t know where you are going,
it doesn’t matter which road you take!
(The Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland)
Little children are so curious. They are always asking why this and why that. Why is the sky blue, and why do ducks have webbed feet? Why is there sand on the beach? Why does a ball fall down
and not up? Why, why, why?
Isn’t it sad that when we grow up, we stop asking questions? It isn’t so much that we know all of the answers. It’s more that we lose hope of finding real answers. During our school years we are trained to accept things: That’s the way it is. That’s the way it’s always been. Just accept it.
After a while, we realize that these are the types of answers that the people around us are happy with, and we start questioning less and less, until we lose the ability to even question at all. We even stop asking those questions that lead to the pat answers — we become socialized into acceptance. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it’s always been. Just do it, and stop asking so many questions. We don’t need questions around here; we need people who get things done!
It’s unfortunate that we lose that instinctive desire to know why, because from questions come knowledge, and from knowledge comes understanding.
However, the one “why” that a thinking, intelligent human being can never stop asking is: Why am I here? I accept that Hashem created the world. I know that Hashem created the galaxies, the cosmos, and all that they contain. I also understand that Hashem created me — but why? What is my purpose? Why am I alive? Why did Hashem make me?
We human beings are a curious breed. We go about life, busy as beavers, with plans and goals — five-year goals, ten-year goals. I will live here. Get that job. Marry that sort of person. Send my children to that sort of school. Teach them these life lessons. We have it all worked out, all well-planned. Yet we might not have the foundation to it all. Why do it? Why pursue it? What is the purpose of it all?
Can I live without knowing the answer to this question? Isn’t this the most fundamental question that a human must answer? Forget philosophy, forget religion; there is one simple, vital question that demands an answer: What am I doing here? Why did God create me? What is my purpose in life?
How can I get up in the morning and pursue a life course without an answer to this question? How can I raise a family? What do I teach my children? This question frames everything we do, everything we value, and everything we impart as life lessons to those we love. If I am alive, if I am a thinking, intelligent person, how can I continue without a solid answer to this most elementary question: What is the purpose of my life?