Minute #660: Free at Last

When the two old school friends bumped into each other on the boardwalk, they first stopped and stared to make sure their eyes were not deceiving them. Then they held out their arms to each other.

“I can’t believe it’s you!” Mr. Shore exclaimed. “I never come here anymore, but something got into me this morning and I decided to unwind with a walk.”

“I can’t believe it, either,” Mr. Sutton said. “It’s a Heaven-sent reunion. Nothing happens by accident.”

The men stepped back and did a head-to-toe appraisal of each other.

“You look great!” Mr. Sutton said.

“Ditto!” Mr. Shore replied.

After a few minutes of discussing old times and touching briefly on current events, Mr. Shore commented, “It’s obvious you’ve become more observant. I’ve been thinking about it, but find that I like my freedom too much to be bound by so many restrictions.”

“I couldn’t disagree more. Why don’t we have lunch and I’ll explain what true freedom is all about.”

It’s not uncommon for a non-observant Jew to believe that Torah-observant people are bound by restrictions that inhibit happiness. The fact of the matter is that one who is directed by impulses and desires has no inner freedom and cannot perform up to Torah standards. Our Holy Book was composed by Our Creator to free us from ourselves so that we can achieve spiritual success. Controlling speech, eyes and mood enables a person to grow positively and to behave according to the precepts that will yield true happiness. Working on what initially seems to be the more difficult path eventually results in freedom to do what is best. When performing up to one’s potential, one is not only truly free but genuinely happy as well. Submit to Torah and succeed.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

When speaking to someone who is in a rage, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to calm him down by saying, “Anger is wrong,” or, “Don’t be angry.” If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. The person might be angry at you for not replying, but saying the wrong thing will make him even angrier. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Anger: The Inner Teacher, p. 216)