Man’s search for meaning—This, said famed neurologist Viktor Frankl, was man’s true pursuit. Not the pursuit of pleasure, not the pursuit of money.
He realized this in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. He found that people who had a reason to live or who found purpose in the suffering were a lot more likely to survive.
On a base level, we pursue pleasure, but if one digs deeper, we’re searching for meaning. Where can a Jew find meaning? In the search for truth.
Take Jewish unity for example. It isn’t a feel-good slogan we say so we can get more done or to get along. The Jewish people really are one body, each of us is part of Kenesses Yisrael. When we connect with another, we are connecting to ourselves—just in a separate body.
This is so true that it is reflected in halachah. One who was already yotzei kiddush can still make kiddush for someone who wasn’t yotzei because “kol Yisrael areivin ze lazeh—all of Israel are responsible one for the other.” If another yid hasn’t heard kiddush or put on tefillin or didn’t light Shabbos candles, our mitzvah is lacking.
When we do something, positive or negative, it affects every other member of Klal Yisrael. We are in the same boat. I used to hate when my principal used that analogy to explain why everyone was being punished, but he was right. We are in one boat.
Focusing on this reality can help us overcome our instinctive self-centeredness.
The same is true regarding our belief in the Creator. We don’t believe in one because it gives us calm or because it makes us feel good. We believe in a Creator because this world was created. And this Creator really did communicate what He expects from us in the Torah.
And ultimately the Mashiach really will come.
Wishing you a most joyous Shabbos Mevorchim Adar II,