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Why Don’t I Know My Life Mission?

Why Don’t I Know My Life Mission?



I understand that we each have our own set of talents, our own specific mission and our own “puzzle piece” of the world. We are all on this earth to add and contribute our parts.

But if that is what G‑d wants, why is it so hard to figure out how to accomplish our mission? Some people go through their entire lives just searching. Why is that?

It would be so much easier if G‑d would just point right or left.


The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, once sent Jewish activist Rabbi Zev Segal on a mission. It was a difficult assignment, and when he returned, he made sure to convey this to the Rebbe.

The Rebbe responded, “Since when did you make a contract with the Almighty for an easy life?”

Mystery Missions

The families we were born into; our talents, personalities and abilities; the circumstances of our lives—all are clues to help us figure out what our mission may be.

If I am musical or artistic or creative, if I can write or teach, then it’s likely that my mission involves using these abilities to help others. But if I’m struggling financially, it’s probably not my mission to build a Jewish institution (although I do, of course, have the obligation to give charity).

King David wrote (Psalms 37:23), “The steps of man are directed by G‑d; He desires his way.” Divine providence prods us in the direction we need to go in order to fulfill our missions.

Why the Secrecy?

The bottom line is that, for a couple of reasons, we never know exactly what our ultimate mission is:

  1. The struggle is itself part of the test. It’s real easy when you know exactly what you have to do, and you do it. But G‑d doesn’t want us to be angels. He doesn’t need us to be angels. He has those already. Part of our mission is doing our best even though we are moving in the dark, so to speak.
  2. Let’s say that I knew that my true mission in life is to teach little children. I would most certainly focus all my efforts in that direction. But, there are so many more obligations I am also meant to fulfill. What about charity, prayer and kindness? There is a strong possibility that I might neglect other mitzvah opportunities that I do not feel are really my mission or obligation.

    Sometimes, something seemingly inconsequential can have very important and far-reaching results. Since we do not know what our mission is, our approach to all positive things has to be, “Perhaps I was created just for this!” When an opportunity to do something good comes our way, we should never dismiss it as “insignificant.” Our reaction should be, “Who knows if I was created for this very moment!”

See How Do I Know What Is My Mission in Life? from our selection on A Person’s Mission in Life.

Chaya Sarah Silberberg serves as the rebbetzin of the Bais Chabad Torah Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan, since 1975. She also counsels, lectures, writes, and responds for’s Ask the Rabbi service.
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ruth housman marshfield hills, ma January 31, 2012

another way to look at it is it's a JOURNEY we're all taking, and there are many forks in the road we might take, and for each fork there are more branchings, as in a mirroring of the Tree itself, the Tree known as the Tree of Life. Perhaps relevant to talk about this right now, given Tu B'Shevat.

In looking down over the years we see we were none of us ever thread bare, and the journey starts to take on more and more sense in looking down the years, at all those who mentored us, at all those moments of inspiration, of love, of reverence. It's a climb, and a climb is so often arduous, but when we reach that peak, those peak experiences, it seems it was all worth it, and having it too easy, does detract totally from the accomplishment of taking that climb.

You can also view this as the acent to G_d in performing, as you climb, also aspects of your "mission" even when you are in doubt, in deep anguish and questing. It's about the Search. Without the Search we'd never make it to Delicious. Reply

Destiny Man Anonymous January 17, 2012

Whenever any kind of opportunity knocks my door, I never let it go. Yet in most of those i failed and lost myself in completely darkness of desperation. But still I get some few success in among them and at that time I realize and belief that this is what God gave me, this is what God had for me, this is what God wanted me to do. So all I do in simple is walk on the God's path created for me and let Him to decide where I should go and where I should stop. My work is to walk, His work is to show me the rigtheous path. Reply

Anonymous Swansea, Uk January 16, 2012

Sometimes we all want a special mission,when in fact God has already placed us where He wants us.Maybe we don't consider the mundane things of life,such as raising children,etc,as a mission,but they are,with all the frustrations that come with it.For every Samson( I haven't met a single one yet),there have to be millions of ordinary people,yet they are by no means ordinary,not in the heart and mind of God who created all of them; each fulfilling a purpose,either it is the paramedic who came to your rescue after an accident,the doctor or nurse treating you,etc..In fact,forget about Samson,what would we be the " ordinary people" I have just mentioned?For the rest,it is true that many life missions are aborted. Some souls encounter too much opposition,and give up!Others press on ,but there is only so much a person can take.Moses probably didn't see it that way,since he fulfilled his life's mission,in the midst of great opposition,all followed by 40 years in the wilderness! Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY January 16, 2012

I appreciated this article, and it resonates with me. I'm wondering if these are the thoughts of the writer, or is it from the Torah, and if yes, what are the sources where these ideas are discussed? Reply

Sarah Akhtar New York, USA January 16, 2012

Perfectly expressed. Another way to say it might be that we are continually laboring, throughout our lives, to give birth to something better than what we thought we were. Sometimes it's the pain of the process that awakens you to its value and meaning. It's a matter of making the right choices, moment to moment, and then looking back, decades later, to realize what they led to. Reply

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