Sunday, September 18, 2011

Twerski on Pursuit of Happiness

Many people sacrifice comforts, conveniences, and pleasure in pursuit of an ultimate goal. However, if the ultimate goal is pursuit of pleasure, it is unreasonable to expect people, especially youngsters, to sacrifice pleasure for the ultimate goal which is ... pursuit of pleasure. Western culture with its hedonism has painted itself into a corner.

What about Torah-observant families? Let us be brutally frank with ourselves. Many Torah-observant families have been caught up in pursuit of pleasure, the one difference being that they partake only of pleasures that have a hechsher, which today includes almost everything.

It is not as though we were not forewarned in regard to this. The Ramban in reference to the mitzvah (Leviticus 19:2), "You shall be holy," asks, 'What is the requirement of this mitzvah?' His answer is prophetic. It is possible for a person to technically observe all of the restrictions in the Torah, yet live a life of physical indulgence. The mitzvah of kedoshim tehiyu, "You shall be holy," means that a person should abstain not only from things that are forbidden by the Torah, but even from the many things that are permissible, but which are unnecessary for optimum health and functioning."

Taken from Positive Parenting by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski.

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