Consider the example of two people. One is lying on his couch, watching a soccer game on television and drinking can after can of beer. The second is exercising or playing basketball in order to improve his health. The first seems relaxed, while the second is perspiring profusely. But who is the free man? Our first reaction will be that the free man is the one lying on his couch. But he cannot even raise himself up. In contrast, all the work of exercising -- if not done for commercial reasons -- gives the person control over his body and maximal development of his talents and abilities. In other words, it affords freedom. The person who exercises in order to give his body the necessary freedom fulfills the injunction, "do not read harut but heirut." He shows that, paradoxially and strangely enough, we attain freedom through self-subjugation and self-discipline. The second way sometimes promises much, but actually enslaves one. It is freedom that leads to enslavement.This is also the message of the classic book, The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, where Papa Bear explains that being messy and disorganized actually prevents you from having fun and doing what you want to do. This is a lesson that applies to everything in life, including business and spiritual growth. It is the disciplined life that can come through keeping the mitzvos that allows for reaching great spiritual heights.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Enslavement That Leads To Freedom
From Dr. Shalom Rosenberg, In the Footsteps of the Kuzari, vol. 2 p. 177: