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Steven Zvi Gleiberman

True Freedom

The Rambam discusses the need for the Jewish nation to wander the desert for 40 years, as walking the desert without the usual urban amenities was meant to instill courage and faith in a higher power. Additionally, this 40-year time period will create a new generation of people who haven’t experienced slavery. What is the advantage of creating a generation of people who haven’t experienced or been impacted by slavery? Says the Rambam in מורה נבוכים, that people who haven’t experienced slavery in their lives, are also the same people for whom freedom is a given.

Now why is freedom being a given (or a “right”) a prerequisite to entering the land of Israel? Because to enter, live, and thrive in the land, you need to be part of a nation whose freedom is a given, not a mindset of slavery, where survival, and not leadership, is what guides daily decision making. Making it in one’s land needs to be accomplished through leaders, not survivalists.

If one were to think in the present or even look back to our history, you can see a world that has been surrounded by people that have not been free. Think slavery, rulers and kings, and in more current, authoritarian regimes and dictatorships – the people of the world have not been free. This lack of freedom is even more significant on an individual level, where people are bound, burdened, and enslaved by the requirements of mere day-to-day survival, and you can see that, as a people, we aren’t truly free.

Freedom needs to be worked for as freedom isn’t free, and when one does have freedom, it should never be taken for granted, lest it be lost. On a macro level, here in Israel, we live in a democracy, so yes, we do have that freedom. But on a micro level, every single one of us has our own personal slaveries, be they conscious or subconscious slaveries, holding us back.

I challenge each and every one of us today to take one thing in our daily lives and unshackle ourselves from it to become free. Imagine for a second, a life where one doesn’t need to be enslaved to the slaveries of workplace toxicity, the toxicities of those around them, enslaved to their phone that they can’t turn it off for even 1 hour, enslaved to their perfect social media image so they can’t be themselves, or enslaved to other people’s perceptions of them. Imagine a world where one does things because it’s the right thing to do and not because there is pressure on them to do that thing. That, ladies and gentlemen, is true freedom.

May we become our true selves by becoming free from what’s holding us back, and as a truly free nation, may we be privileged to not only live in the land of Israel but to appreciate all of its beauty.

Shabbat Shalom!

About the Author
StevenZvi grew up in Brooklyn and in his professional life worked in the healthcare industry in New York City. Wishing to create additional meaning and purpose in his life, he moved to Jerusalem in November 2020, where he lives with his wife, works in the Medical Technology space and volunteers for Hatzalah. He uses his writing capabilities as a healthy outlet not to receive money, recognition or fame. It’s his hope that his articles will have some positive impact on the Jewish nation and humanity worldwide. He may not live forever, but his contributions to society might.
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