Let My People Know

"To be truly free"


"Freedom and slavery appear to be simple opposites, each defined as the absence of the other. 

Slavery, the absence of freedom.

Freedom, the absence of slavery.

But each of these terms must be understood without reference to the other.

Throwing off one’s fetters does not necessarily mean that one has entered into a state of freedom.

Slavery is that condition in which a person is always subject to the will of another.

Freedom, on the other hand, is the ability to act on, and carry out, one’s own independent will.

The individual who lacks a will of his own does not become free once he is unshackled.

He is simply a slave without a master, or,in the case of a people,those whose overlords have abandoned them.

Between ceasing to be a slave and acquiring freedom, the individual must thus pass through an intermediate stage in his progress, without which he cannot become truly free. 

He must develop inner qualities of his own.

The miracle of the Exodus was not completed with the people’s departure from the house of bondage.

They needed to develop to become a truly free people and not merely runaway slaves."

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Pebbles of Wisdom from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, p.100