Tuesday, June 1, 2010

REAL Freedom

I heard this wonderful mashal (parable, illustrative concept) in a lecture from Rabbi Shmuel Skaist about what freedom means:
We think freedom is the freedom to do anything. My wife told me an example many many years ago that I think is wonderful:
A guitar string that is sitting in the package could say "I am absolutely free. I can do anything; I can bend this way and that way, I could be used for anything. Somebody could design all sorts of new uses for me, for who knows what, but I'm free! - I can be anything."
That's true, but one thing that guitar string is not free to do is to actualize it's own potential to produce beautiful music. It is only when you take that guitar string and you tie it down with a certain amount of tension to the guitar - you restrict it's movements, it can't go anywhere it wants, it can't bend into any shape, it has very limited availability of what it can do - it's only then that it's free to produce the beautiful music that is it's potential.
I'm sure the lesson is quite clear. Judaism and the Torah offers us a framework that allows us to maximize our potential, very much like the guitar string. As a musician, this idea really spoke to me; I hope that everyone else enjoys it as well!

Rabbi Shmuel Skaist is a very talented educator and musician who is involved with the great mitzvah of kiruv (outreach). I find his lectures to be dynamic and enjoyable, and he is one of the most patient people I have ever seen. His lectures can be found on Torah Anytime, and this particular one can be found here.

While we're on the subject of music and potential, I'll share with you a video that I found on Raisin Soul's blog last week. It moved me so much, and if you have the time (about a half hour) it is well worth watching it in it's entirety.

I believe that Zander is really touching on the chinuch techniques that Reb Kalonymos Kalman describes in his introduction to Chovat HaTalmidim. You have to enlist the student in his own training and education, and make him believe in his own capabilities...

No comments: