Bernie D. Kastner, Ph.D.

Individual and Family Counseling

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Why Did God Put Us Here?

It is easy to go through the motions of our days, weeks, months and years and not ask ourselves "What is it that God wants from me"?  Some of us tend to think that it is our right to choose and become anything we want to be without checking in with Him.  We enjoy the pleasures this world has to offer from food, to travel, to entertainment, you name it.  And if our plans go haywire, we get angry at God for having the audacity to intervene.  For example, a spouse who dies prematurely, a child who gets sick and passes away at a young age, or finding out you have a life threatening illness.  "But God", we ask, "how could you do this to me?  Just when my business was beginning to flourish, and we were finally solvent enough to enjoy our new and spacious house, how could you throw us a lousy curveball at a time like this"?

Many of us are forced into thinking about existential questions only when we are confronted with a crisis.   Why is it that we need a jolt before thinking about life in a deeper, more meaningful way?

Somebody once lamented to me that his severely handicapped child will never walk nor talk, can't get dressed by himself, and needs to be fed and bathed.  He asked me: What good purpose is he serving here?  Why does he need to go through the torture and pain of having such a severe disability?  Why does God put such beings on earth altogether?

The great 20th century scholar, The Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz) made it a practice that when a mentally or physically challenged person entered the room, he would stand at attention out of kavod (respect).  What?  This talmid chacham (Torah scholar) gets up and stands for a mentally deranged individual?  For a wheelchair-bound person who drools all over himself and can't even say the letter aleph?  For that incoherent one with the contorted face?  Ah, but The Chazon Ish explained that these individuals have special neshamot (souls) - they are all on a much higher level than us "normal" functioning humans.  They already had lives that were filled with Torah and mitzvot (good deeds) - they raised beautiful families, were brilliant students, were successful professionally.  In a previous gilgul (reincarnation) they had accomplished all these things.  But these special neshamot after 120, begged Hashem (God) to come back to earth because there were maybe one or two little tikunim (adjustments) that they needed to make toward perfection, and they can only do it here on earth.  So they are born with severe disabilities, because they have no further need to speak nor to have a job nor to sit and learn nor to do mitzvot.  They are here in their seemingly limited capacities – why? Read on carefully now - in order to give their parents and others around them the opportunity to do chesed (act of kindness).  Here, take care of me so that you can grow in your deeds.  I am here so that I could be an object of your love.  Nothing more nothing less.  Who are we, then, to judge whether their existence is justified or not?  The Chazon Ish stood because these individuals are a cut above – a special breed who should not be judged by their outer appearance.

Life is full of twists and turns.  Everything that happens around us is for a reason.  Each person we come in contact with is for a specific purpose.  Some neshamot get replanted in this world just to fix one thing that they didn't accomplish in a previous life.  They could spend fifty or sixty years living their lives waiting for that one critical moment that defines their whole purpose in being here.  Rabbi Yitzchok Kirzner once said that we are given a soul in an underdeveloped state, and it is our task to develop that soul through its contact with the world.  We create a relationship with our soul, and in doing so we create ourselves as expressions of it.  By struggling to define ourselves in terms of the soul do we gain possession of it.  Only by overcoming barriers placed in our path does the soul become something earned and thus our own.

Each baby comes into this world as a holy neshama wearing a body as it would a coat.  It lives on earth for one purpose – to establish its identity and then use life's experiences to acquire wisdom, build character and attain individual stature.  When the body is discarded at death, the consciousness continues in spirit dimensions until perfection is achieved.

According to Dr. Michael Newton, noted author and hypnotherapist, coming to Earth is about traveling away from our home to a foreign land.  Some things seem familiar but most are strange until we get used to them, especially conditions which are unforgiving.  Our real home is a place of absolute peace, total acceptance and complete love.  As souls separated from our home, we can no longer assume these beautiful features will be present around us.  On Earth we must learn to cope with intolerance, anger and sadness while searching for joy and love.  We must not lose our integrity along the way, sacrificing goodness for survival and acquiring attitudes either superior or inferior to those around us.  We know that living in an imperfect world will help us to appreciate the true meaning of perfection.  We ask for courage and humility before our journey into another life.  As we grow in awareness so will the quality of our existence.  This is how we are tested.  Passing this test is our destiny.

--By Bernie Kastner, Ph.D.

Next Article : Things You Hate To Do

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Why Did God Put Us Here?

It is easy to go through the motions of our days, weeks, months and years and not ask ourselves "What is it that God wants from me"?

Things You Hate To Do

A former professor of mine told me that if you have something unpleasant to do, don't put it ...