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    Inner & outer freedom

    On Pesach, z’man cherutenu, “our time of freedom”, we not only celebrate freedom but try to define it.

    The following idea might be relevant and useful.

    There was a 19th century German novelist, Berthold Auerbach, who wrote, “Only he is free who cultivates his own thoughts”.

    What a remarkable definition!

    Freedom has an outer shape – freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom from fear, freedom from want.

    Auerbach tells us that it also has an inner shape – the independence of heart and mind that allows one to think his own thoughts.

    Sometimes that private freedom has to be kept private: when others deny a person their outer freedom, the freedom to think one’s own thoughts retains a specially precious value.

    How many people over the course of history have known what it was to defy the forces of evil by determining that nothing would prevent their thoughts from soaring upwards.

    The ability to cherishing the inner thinking of one’s own thoughts eventually, hopefully helps towards gaining outer freedom too.

    In a sense it is what was said by another German author, Ludwig Boerne, who wrote, “To want to be free is to be free”.

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