The Sephardic Community of Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Man’s Search for Meaning

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.   They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. . .  We have come to know man as he really is.  After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the  Lord’s prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.

It does not really matter what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.  We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly.  Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.   Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

Excerpted from Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.

 

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