What makes a person's life meaningful?
What makes a person's life meaningful? Is it the acquisition of objects? Or is a meaningful life found in things like getting married, having children, getting a good job and buying a house? The answer is yes, but only if one criterion is met in achieving these things. I propose that this criterion is found in looking forward in time and answering a simple question: Did I take advantage of these moments to understand and experience them as sacred opportunities when they were presented to me?
In the Torah God instructs us, "You shall be holy for I the Lord God am Holy." (Leviticus 19:2) The Rabbis of Talmud understood this verse to mean, "Sanctify yourself through that which is permitted to you." (Talmud Yebamot 20a). We learn here at least two things: What we should do and how we should do it. First, we should strive to be holy because God is holy. Second, the way we become holy is by taking advantage of opportunities as they arise and understanding them as special events.
As we move forward into the new year we must recognize that every event we encounter is a chance to sanctify ourselves. Our interactions and struggles will be opportunities to find God and make ourselves holy through our actions and interactions. Thinking is good. However, meaning and understanding often do not come from study and deliberation rather they arrive to us through action. Take advantage of the moments and opportunities in the year to come. When you do, try and find the holy in them. By doing this we can begin to live a life of sanctity and holiness and thereby make our lives as meaningful as possible.
P.S. I will out of town for this weekend with my family, along with other TBD families, taking part in URJ Eisner Camp Family Ski Weekend in Great Barrington, MA. Can't wait to share stories with you of the camp-style Shabbat, family activities and hitting the slopes at Ski Butternut!!