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מרכז ההדרכה המקוון

Atzmaut – Is It A Torah Value? - עצמאות- האם זה ערך מהתורה?

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Atzmaut – is it a Torah value?



Atzmaut – is it a Torah value?

Begin the sicha by restricting the chanichim somehow.  Give them a lot of rules that the must follow during SNIF, rules that are not easy to stick by.  (eg. No scratching or playing with hair.  No loud breathing.)  Perhaps physically restrict them (gently) by tying their hands or legs together.  Lock the door.




Play a game that forces them to be follow someone else’s instructions:

·        Follow the leader.  Madrich as the leader. 

·        Shimon Omer (Simon Says).

·        Do This – Do That: the leader goes through various movements.  As he does each movement, he calls either “do this” or “do that”.  If the movement is accompanied by the command “do this” the chanichim must imitate that movement.  But if the movement is accompanied by “do that” than anyone who imitates that movement is out.

·        Three legged race

·        Red Light-Green Light: The Madrich/a stands by a wall-when s/he calls out “Green Light” the chanichim have to run as quickly as they can to the opposite wall-But when the Madrich/a yells “Red Light!” they must all stop, and if anyone slides or moves even one inch they have to go back to the start.

·        Talking Tennis: Two people have to have a conversation in front of the entire group. Catch is this: They can only say one sentence at a time, and every sentence has to be in the form of a question! The first person to pause, say  “uhh…” or not respond with a question is out!


After the game, ask the chanichim if they felt their “Atzmaut” – independence taken away.  How?  Why?  What made them feel dependent?  What makes us, in general, independent?  How do we fit this into Yahadut?


In Sefer HaKuzari, at the end, the chaver decides to make aliya.  Melech HaKuzar attempts to convince him not to go.


The King: I see that you love freedom but now you are trying to put more restrictions on yourself by moving to Eretz Israel.  Once there, you’ll be required in mitzvot hatiluyot ba’Aretz, that you are not required to do if you stay here in Chutz La’aretz. 

The Chaver answers: Freedom means something different in Yahadut that what you think it means.  The freedom for which I am searching is freedom from society.  The ideal freedom is freedom from the general society, and being given the greatest opportunity, to serve God.  Being a servant to God so not the loss of freedom, l’hefech, it is the absolute freedom.

(Sefer HaKuzari, Mamar 5; 24- 25)


Now, is freedom a Torah value?

Freedom in a sense is.  As explained above by Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, at the end of the Sefer HaKuzari, freedom to serve God is the ultimate freddom and absolute freedom.  We see this as well through Yetziyat Mitzryim.  Why did God free us from “shiabud mitzrayim”?  In order for us to receive the Torah and to enter Eretz Israel!  And the purpose of that is what?  So we have a nice place to live?!  Not only!  Also so that we could serve God to the best of our ability. 

Now Atzmaut as independence is dealt with in the same manner.  The Torah has a concept of slavery, eved ivri, but that is not the ideal.  In fact it is far from the ideal.  The Torah has many restrictions on the owner of the eved ivri because the Torah does not approve of slavery nor does the Torah want to encourage servitude to man, just servitude to God.  And in order for a person to really serve God he cannot have any other masters, for this reason an eved ivri is not obligated in many Mitzvot. 

This emphasizes the idea that “Ein Ben Chorin elah mi she’osek baTorah.”

Being independent is having responsibilities.


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