Gershon Hepner
Gershon Hepner

Pursuit of Meaning

Pursuit of meaning is what life’s about, said Victor Frankl.
Awareness of apparent lack of meaning tends to make us nervous,
and feel bewildered with a sense of emptiness that rankles
profoundly inside us, while never rising to the surface.

Apparent lack of meaning in our lives has consequences we
can feel, the emptiness that it creates a void that’s visible.
Religion is the route that many people take to flee
from lack of meaning  that deranges lives that seem derisible.

The quest for meaning often isn’t the desired healing process,
containing contradictions making it still more absurd,
a paradox providing a most poor prognosis
for sense that we can’t de-encrypt sans pious password.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes “The Pursuit of Meaning” (“Vayikra – Covenant & Conversation 5776 on Spirituality, 19 March 2016 / 9 Adar Shemini 5776”):

No one did more to put the question of meaning into modern discourse than the late Viktor Frankl, who has figured prominently in this year’s Covenant and Conversation essays on spirituality. In the three years he spent in Auschwitz, Frankl survived and helped others to survive by helping them to discover a purpose in life even in the midst of hell on earth. It was there that he formulated the ideas he later turned into a new type of psychotherapy based on what he called “man’s search for meaning”. His book of that title, written in the course of nine days in 1946, has sold more than ten million copies throughout the world, and ranks as one of the most influential works of the twentieth century.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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