Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein In the loving memory of Alta Shula Swerdlov And in honor of Yetta Alta Shula, "Aliyah" Schottenstein
Is Judaism Stifling or Liberating?
Let freedom ring! But what does it mean to be free?
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This class will travel into the world of some of Judaism’s greatest geniuses, Maimonides, Rabbi Yosef Rosen, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and see how they understood some of life’s deepest truths from textual halachik nuances. What is freedom – is it merely the absence of slavery and oppression? What is rest – is it merely the termination of work? Maimonides says that the obligation to remember and recount the story of the Exodus on Passover is the same as the obligation to remember Shabbos. Why does he make this comparison? But how is ‘rest’ different than ‘refraining from work’? How is ‘freedom from slavery’ differ from active ‘freedom?’ Indeed, the Hebrew language offers us two words to describe liberty: Chofesh and Charus. The difference between them is dramatic: One is freedom defined by what we are not; the other is freedom defined by what we are. The famous Rogachover Gaon, Rabbi Yosef Rosen, teaches an extraordinary and innovative law based on Maimonides: It is not enough to refrain from work on Shabbos, but one must actively engage in rest. This then is Maimonides’ point. It is not enough to be released from slavery, one must actively live ‘free.’