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    Real & imaginary freedom – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why does Judaism place so many restraints on one’s freedom?

    Slavery in Egypt, Golden Haggadah Catalonia, early 1300s

    A. The Israelites who left Egypt would have disappeared from history if they had not gone to Mount Sinai and received the Torah: they would have had freedom but no idea of what to do with it.

    Abba Hillel Silver said, “When is a man free? Not when he is driftwood on the stream of life, free of all cares or worries or ambitions. He is not free at all, only drugged.

    “To be free in action, in struggle, in undiverted and purposeful achievement, to move forward towards a worthy objective across a fierce terrain of resistance, to be vital and aglow in the exercise of a great enterprise – that is to be free, and to know the joy and exhilaration of true freedom.

    “A man is free only when he has an errand on earth.”

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