That is one of the most harmful sentences you can tell someone. It plants in their subconscious the vile notion that life is about satisfying one's whims and desires. In fact, it is JUST THE OPPOSITE. Life is about CONTROLLING one's urges. The problems in so many peoples lives are rooted in the attitude that the goal of life is to get as much pleasure as we can without getting into too much trouble [which will lessen my pleasure - jail, as one example of negative consequences, isn't fun].
People cheat on their spouses because it gives them momentary pleasure, in the hope that they will not be caught, without internalizing that even if they are never caught they have failed as human beings. They succumbed to base desires. There is almost nothing worse.
People overeat and consume junk food because of the pleasure it gives them. Besides the price they pay of poor health, something worse happens - they lower themselves to the level of animals.
Every time you overcome a base desire, whimsical pleasure, temporary, empty high - you have become more spiritual and holier. THAT is what it is all about.
People spend millions on vacations, home renovations, cars etc. etc. for one reason - because life, for them is [physical] pleasure. If they would just shift their perspective - they would save endless money and have far more menuchas hanefesh.
I wish that only goyim of the lowest stripe thought and lived this way but there are plenty of people who daven three times a day with a minyan and learn daf yomi who are in the same category. Not to minimize the good they do - which is a lot. But this perspective colors and impacts every aspect of their lives. They mean well - but that is not enough.
PS - I am not preaching asceticism either. Pleasure, in moderation, in order to enable one to fulfill his or her higher purpose, is the way to go.
When I was a young yeshiva boy, there was a teacher in the yeshiva who would buy Israeli secular newspapers. These papers had filthy pictures [not to mention lots of lashon hara as well]. The boys would spend a lot of time in his apartment. One of the boys took it upon himself to cut these pictures out of the paper [with the rabbis consent] so it would be cleaned up.
I find this very non-educational, to say the least. But he did it....
He also had a TV. This boy could not cut all the bad stuff out of that.
If you are going to be a Mechanech - remember that you are strongly impacting the lives of impressionable kids. It is a huuuuuuge responsibility.
On that note: Someone was telling me about a yeshiva designed to bring OTD kids back. They want to make the place as inviting as possible so [hold on tight] there are no rules. Everything goes ["everything" includes a lot]. I don't know if this is true but this is what one of the Rabbeim told me.
I wonder if that is the right way to bring kids back. Loose rules - yes. But NO rules??
Contribute and be a partner in spreading Torah to the masses. Money comes and goes but the merit of giving is eternal. Keep the light burning. Without you it might extinguish G-d forbid.
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