Excellence Reporter: Rabbi Wolpe, what is the meaning of life?
Rabbi David Wolpe: Life has no meaning, but meanings. The meaning of one life is to raise a child and for another, to go to sea. One will carve monuments and the next write laws. All are growing their souls but souls grow in different ways; all are serving the world but the world requires many kinds of service; all are fulfilling dreams but dreams are as expansive as the sky and numerous as the stars.
The greatest use of life, wrote William James, is to spend it on something that will outlast it. Our aim is to shape a life of growth, of legacy and of love. Every interaction is an opportunity. In the face of the other is the summons to responsibility.
The meaning of life cannot be fulfilled in solitude alone, although solitude is a school of character. We live with each other, called to kindness in the hope of leaving the world and others better for our having lived. At our best each human being is a grateful spirit of multiple meanings and expansive love who arrives here from the beyond and will return there, battle scarred and blessed.
~Rabbi David Wolpe, named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. Rabbi Wolpe is the author of eight books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times. Rabbi Wolpe’s new book is titled, David, the Divided Heart. It was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards, and has been optioned for a movie by Warner Bros.
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