What It Means To Be Free.

“I have on my table a violin string. It is free to move in any direction I like. If I twist one end, it responds; it is free.
But it is not free to sing. So I take it and fix it into my violin. I bind it and when it is bound, it is free for the first time to sing.”

― Rabindranath Tagore

Long after Judaism and after three thousand years of commentary on the Torah by our sages. This great poet spoke of the difference between the idea of rights and obligations. Most of the humanity focuses on the individuals and societal rights of the human race.

The world is looking to free its self constantly. The young are looking to free themselves from authority and the rules they may or may not have to keep. Husbands and wives are looking for freedom in the duties to family. Everyone wants to be free. Everyone has rights!

Our sages tell us that you will not find the word “rights” in the Torah. You will only find the words obligations. Obligation are what makes me a servant to Hashem and His instructions and commandments.

I once heard Rabbi Akiva Tatz say ” to have a slave is to be a slave”. In the Torah, the one who has a slave has to treat him as if he was a brother. And a slave has to treat his master as if he was his master. Biblical slavery is different than the slavery of mankind and with that said, let me share with you what I learned from Rabbi Tatz.

When a master has a slave he is obligated to give him the best and last of his possessions. An example would be, if there was only one bed the slave would sleep in the bed. Or, if there was only one blanket for the night the slave received it out of the master’s obligation to treat him as a brother. The slave was obligated to treat his master as such, his master.

But what if the two started focusing on their rights. One did not treat the other as a brother and the other did not treat the one as a master. The slave says to his master, ” you are not treating me as your brother and the master says, “you are not treating me as your master”.

Now you see the problem? That is not the biblical way of looking at things. The focus is wrong.  My obligation is the focus in all matters.  My wife and my husband. My boss and my employee. My child and my grandchildren. Everyone in Judaism has an obligation to each other. That is Biblical.

The world was created by the words of Hashem and if a word does not appear in the Tanach or Torah, then that idea or ideal is man-made. It is not from Hashem. It is a lie and not reality.

The word “religion” does not appear in the Torah, so, where does that come from? I am just a Jew who hears and does, that is my obligation. 

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