The Freedom Blues - Official Kabbalah Publication of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute
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The Freedom Blues

Did you ever wonder why you like going on vacation? What are you looking for in another place that you can’t find at home? Kabbalah explains that what we’re looking for is actually right in front of us, or rather, right inside of us.

Looking for a Getaway

Freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of information, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to create, freedom fighters, academic freedom, economic freedom, free time… In the 21st century, it appears that almost everyone can make up his own kind of freedom.

But is there such a thing as absolute, unconditional freedom? Not freedom of something, but simply limitless, unbounded freedom in every imaginable sense? Is there such a thing as simply, freedom?

Kabbalah says there is, but it's very different from what we usually imagine. For most of us, freedom means getting away from the daily grind and the troubles of day-to-day life. We want to be liberated from the worries, the pressures, the boss at work and the overdrawn bank account. In short, we'd like a bit of escape from real life so we can catch our breath.

So we work hard all year and save money, so as to finally get a few moments of mercy on a sandy beach.

And between you and me, something always doesn't work out quite the way we wanted. One time it's the hotel, another time it's the flight, and if it’s nothing else, then the kids decide that now is the perfect time to get sick... Somehow or other, most vacations don’t end up being exactly what we dreamed of.

And even when we get lucky and go on that perfect vacation, every passing moment reminds us that it will all be over soon and before we know it, we’ll have to plunge back into “real life.”

If you stop and ponder this for a moment, some interesting questions will pop up: Does getting away from the routine really make us freer? What if there were a way to live differently so we would not want to escape our lives in search of freedom? And is there such a thing as an endless, perfect dream vacation?

Freedom Lies Beyond This World

Actually, there is. But in order to find our way there, we should stop looking for it in the framework of this world.

The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that in our world, a person is everything but free. Think about it: you did not choose your family or your natural talents and qualities. As a child, you were constantly influenced by your parents, teachers, and other educators.

And when you grow up a bit more, society and the media dictate practically everything in your life: what to wear, who to be, what to aspire to, how to think, what to eat and whom to love. Even the notions of what is beautiful or ugly, right or wrong, proper manners, patterns of speech or behavior—all are instilled in us by society.

Naturally, it isn’t easy to accept the idea that there is no freedom in our world. But here’s the funny thing—once you realize that there is no freedom in this world, you’ll begin asking about the meaning of it all, and then, Kabbalah explains, you’re on your way to real freedom.

“ ... if we set our hearts to answer but one very famous question ... It is the tiny question, asked by the whole world, which is: What is the point of our lives?”

Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam),

“Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot

Kabbalists tell us that the answer to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” holds the key to our freedom. And there is not a single human being on earth who has not asked this question at least once. Deep down, in a place only we know, we have all asked: “Why are we here?” “Where did we come from?” “Is there a purpose to our personal and global experiences?” “Where are we headed?” “And what is the point of all this?”

Kabbalists explain that it is only natural for us to ask such questions. But the problem is that we do not think that they can or were even meant to be answered. Therefore, whenever such a question comes to mind, we avoid trying to give it a real answer.

We have also created a society that makes it convenient for us to ignore such questions. After all, it is much more socially acceptable to get swept away by the currents of life than to ask about the meaning of it.

“ ... and all the more so in our generation, where no one wishes to even think about it. Nevertheless, the question itself still stands, bitterly and vehemently, and sometimes it comes upon us uninvited, and picks at our minds, and casts us down to the ground before we can find the familiar ploy, that is, to flow mindlessly in the currents of life, as yesterday.”

Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam),

“Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot

Even the fancy entertainment industry we have developed arises from our attempt to escape the search for life’s meaning. We keep ourselves busy with innumerable activities—gulp down loads of unnecessary information, stare at the TV screen for hours on end, wander the net, watch movies, go to Disneyland, and whatnot—anything to keep ourselves distracted. The very idea of being left without something to keep us busy seems frightening, because we’d be left alone with the question of life’s meaning.

And yet, ironically enough, Kabbalah explains that we are actually repressing the very question that leads us to the freedom we thirst for. That instead of trying to escape our lives by going on vacation, we can turn life itself into a completely different experience—like an endless, perfect vacation, where the pleasure we feel only increases from one moment to the next…

Does this sound like something that doesn’t exist in this world? Well, you’re right, it doesn’t. But it does exist in another place, and Kabbalah explains where it is and how to get there.

How Do We Get There?

“One should scrutinize and study his essence and the purpose for which he came into this world.”

Kabbalist Baruch Ashlag (Rabash),
Shamati (I Heard), Letter 18

It starts with one simple decision—to stop running away. Let the question of life’s purpose break free from its hiding place.

Then you will see that this question has nothing to do with improving life in this world or escaping it—it asks only about the true source of life. In fact, questioning the meaning of life is the beginning of your connection with its source, the Creator. In other words, answering this question and connecting to the Creator is one and the same.

Kabbalists explain that connecting to the Creator is a gradual process that takes place within. And the more you connect to your life’s source, the freer you become, because this source is absolutely, unconditionally free—it does not depend on anything to sustain it.

So in order to reach freedom we need not climb mountains, travel to the other end of the world or try to escape our daily life. All we have to do is let that simple, inner question awaken and guide us. Then, the path to perfection will unfold before us and we will be on our way to true, eternal freedom.