Goals & Destiny

I've been reaching a lot of articles on and keep coming across concepts like goals, expectations, potential, effort and destiny. How do these ideas relate to each other, and how does each pertain to a Jew's life? I'm confused!

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

An excellent question, and I can understand your confusion.

Goals: What you want to accomplish.

Expectations: What you think you are capable of accomplishing.

Goals should be congruent with expectations in order to prevent frustration. In other words, goals have to be realistic. This includes not just what we know about ourselves but what we know about other people as well -- since they are often involved in the fulfillment of our own potential.

Potential: What you can become. Each person has to strive to be aware of his own potential and set his goals accordingly.

Effort is what we put forth to fulfill our goals. Prayer is one part of effort.

Destiny: What will happen to you. This is determined either as a result of the choices you make with your free will, or that which has been ordained in Heaven as your "lot." We are obligated to try to improve our lot whenever possible. Yet we may find that certain things are "ordained." Our job at that point is to accept what God has ordained for us. And that is perhaps the greatest challenge of all.

The best way to assess all these factors is to engage in a daily “Cheshbon” - a spiritual accounting. Just as any businessperson would take care to know where he is gaining and where is losing ground, so too we should treat our lives with the same degree of concern.

Read more about the idea of “Cheshbon” at: and

More Questions

Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. For genealogy questions try Note also that this is not a homework service!

Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

Receive the Daily Features Email

Sign up to our Daily Email Newsletter.

Our privacy policy