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How Do I Know What Is My Mission in Life? (I)

How Do I Know What Is My Mission in Life? (I)



I've been told that each one of us has a specific, individual mission in life. How do I know what mine is?


King David writes, "The steps of man are directed by G‑d" (Psalms 37:23). The Baal Shem Tov, the eighteenth century founder of the Chassidic movement, explained this verse in the following manner: Although we go about our daily tasks at what seems to be our own initiative and will, our steps are "guided" for a spiritual and loftier purpose. We end up in a specific place so that we will have the opportunity to do a mitzvah (good deed or Torah precept), help someone in need, or to pass on a positive message.

In short: You don't have to worry about finding your mission. G‑d will direct your steps to the location where you mission lies; He'll orchestrate the circumstances to ensure that you have the position and tools to execute your mission. The challenge is to seize the moment and utilize every opportunity you have to do more good. When you find yourself in a specific place and situation, that itself is the greatest indication that there is something for you to accomplish there.

Another important hint: it is specifically the tasks that you find most difficult to carry out in which you need to place the most effort. Because true achievement only comes through challenge, there will be many more obstacles and challenges placed in your path when a particular assignment is the one that you, specifically, need to accomplish...

In conclusion, allow me to suggest some additional reading on this subject. You can start by browsing our knowledgebase's entry on What's my mission in life? I particularly recommend Diamonds and Fish, a very instructive parable, and There Now, a vacation meditation (video). You also might want to check out some articles and stories about the Baal Shem Tov.

Rabbi Shmuel Kogan of Brooklyn, NY, is a responder for's Ask the Rabbi feature.
Artwork by David Brook. David lives in Sydney, Australia, and has been selling his art since he was in high school. He is currently painting and doing web illustrations.
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Ordinary girl UK July 29, 2016

Just an ordinary girl Even though I am nothing "special", University of Solitude taught me that I still have a mission in life. Everybody has it, but to actually understand it, we need to forget on ourselves first... Reply

J. L. Sims Lexington, KY September 20, 2014

A life's mission I am going to be 60 years old next month. It took me the better part of those years to understand what my own mission is in life. I am here to be a stumbling block for the Christian denominations, to wake them up and bring them back to the service of G-d. Quite an undertaking, I know, but I believe I will get the help I will undoubtedly require. HE is faithful and, having revealed my mission to me, will not abandon me to go it alone. I'm certain He could have found a better vessel to hold this message, but I won't turn away from what He has given me to do, regardless of my flaws. Reply

Anonymous ghana February 21, 2014

Why am I so eager to know my mission in life and want to live a life in my mind's eye Reply

Joshua Glenview, Il November 11, 2013

Please keep it up Rabbi, you are amazing, and I really love you. You helped me twice when I was in need of help for I felt insane, and you answered my questions in a way that no other rabbi I have asked ever answered them! Reply

Christian_Kendra Goodyear, AZ May 6, 2010

I learned my mission I learned that God wants me here after 3 near death experiences. I know I have a purpose on this earth and I'm yet to find it out. Reply

Bridget Sterling, VA January 7, 2010

Thank you Mystery Google sent me here, and this is just what I've been praying about! Reply

odason nobunaga billings, MT December 17, 2009

? whats my mission Reply

Menachem Posner for July 3, 2009

to Annon: Please have a look at Why Don't You Spell Out G-d's Name for the answer to your question. Reply

annon June 23, 2009

Why don't you put the "O" in God? Reply

Anonymous March 4, 2009

mission in life It's too simplistic to hint that what you struggle with is your mission. What a setup for misery! What a waste! One would think that your mission rings true to you and feels natural and flows from you, not drains you. Every difficult thing doesnt make you better, else I should try to be a ruthless CEO, or an athlete. Reply

Anonymous Jacksonville, fl October 31, 2008

mission in life This was very inspiring for me. We tend to go through each day forgetting that G-d is guiding us. Sometimes when we go through difficult times we forget this. Reply

shara dillon Winfield, mo,usa October 31, 2008

How do I kno what my mission is? I know an 80 year old lady who is still waiting for her mission. G-d tells us plainly what our mission is. He says what do I desire more than sacrifice? Then he tells us what that is. He wants us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, provide for the widows and orphans and give to the poor. He tells us to love our neighbors and to do all kinds of good works. If we do His will He will add joy to it, and I think that it is happiness that we are looking for when we ask what is my mission, we are feeling a little lost within the muck of self interest. G-d understands that we need to work in order to be fulfilled we have to love and work in order to gain the love that we are longing for. All of the things that G-d asks us to do are for our own personal joy in the end. That is the real miracle work of G-d. Obedience brings about happiness,joy and fulfillment. Reply

Anonymous October 30, 2008

Journey of Life I am so glad I found the Chabad website when i did.

I am personally on a journey to bring meaning to my life. I have "this feeling" that I need to be open to G-d, and I will then know the way.

It gets difficult at times, as I am starting a new job - but i thank you for the reminder to try even harder, when it is challenging.

All this to say, thank you for this wisdom! Reply

Anonymous February 28, 2008

Rabbi Kogan is the best!! More wonderful postings by Rabbi Kogan please. He is a brilliant mind, and brings down deep concepts in an easy to understand and simple manner.

From his students in Kendall Florida. Reply

Jonathan Levy Johannesburg, South Africa February 28, 2008

Thank you for your reply to my question about the criminal.
I had further comments/questions which I see you did not answer. Will these still be answered?
Thank you. Reply

Shmuel Kogan (author) Brooklyn, NY February 27, 2008

The steps of a criminal. One might wonder, if G-d directs our steps, then what is the challenge in life? If I turn out to be a criminal than it is by the 'direction' of G-d. If I end up accomplishing great things then what credit do I deserve?

As mentioned in the article, G-d directs us to a particular location or circumstance. The challenge is to seize the opportunity to accomplish the great deed that lies in the world of potential; to actualize this wonderful opportunity G-d has set up for us. Reply

Nosson February 27, 2008

A criminal G-od guides the criminal giving him the test of morality whether to commit the crime or not. If he succeeds in withholding himself from evil that may be his task in life.
Sometimes its not what we do that counts rather what we do not do. Reply

Jonathan Levy Johannesburg, South Africa February 27, 2008

Does G-d also direct the steps of a criminal?
If so, why?

"In short: You don't have to worry about finding your mission. G‑d will direct your steps to the location where your mission lies."

Does this also apply to a criminal? Reply