Does reaching the purpose of life depend on your soul’s personal energies, or does it depend on simply knowing the words of Chazal about this and directing ourselves towards it?
In the words of our Sages we find many different opinions about what the purpose of life is. We can simply understand it as another argument of our Sages, such as how Beis Hilel and Beis Shamai argued. But the true way to understand it is that all of our Rabbis agreed that the purpose of life is to become attached to the reality of Hashem (which is d’veykus). It is just that there are several ways to get to this closeness, and the issue was, where to put the emphasis.
To be very general, there are three root paths, based on the three pillars of the world: Torah, avodah (prayer) and gemilus chesed (kindness). Some neshamos in Klal Yisrael mainly become close to Hashem through Torah, some mainly connect to Hashem through tefillah, and others are mainly connected to Hashem through chessed.
When it comes to how Klal Yisrael should act as a whole, it is Torah that must be the emphasis: the main way which Klal Yisrael connects to Hashem is through Torah. (On a deeper level, even the pillars of avodah and gemilus chassadim are included in the path of learning Torah, because everything in the universe ultimately comes from the light of the Torah.)
But when we deal with the ‘branches’ of our avodah, here, there is a dispute in the words of our Sages, about where to put the emphasis. We see that the sage Ben Azai and others would only learn Torah and do almost nothing else. We find that the sages Abaye and Rava were very involved with chessed; they were the ones that said that one should learn Torah and do gemilus chesed as well. The entire issue is: which levush (garment) do we mainly ‘wear’ in order to attach ourselves to Hashem?
The answer depends on each person’s individual soul root, and there is no sefer that can write the answer to this issue. If you do find a sefer that gives an answer, you should know that the answer is based on the author’s personal soul root. You can have a very holy author of a sefer, but that does not mean that everyone must follow his path; even if other great people agree that the author is holy and a ‘reliable’ teacher; of course he is a ‘reliable’ person – we aren’t questioning that. But he’s ‘reliable’ only for those who share the same soul root as his. One needs much inner clarification, as well as a lot of siyata d’shmaya (heavenly assistance), in order to find the path that is meant for his own soul.
In any case, the goal of life is clear, according to all of our Sages and Rabbis: the purpose of life is to reach d’veykus with Hashem. The only issue is, which levush (garment) of d’veykus one needs to use. It depends on each person’s unique situation, and it needs a lot of hard work on a person’s part in order to get to.eeng