לזכות ידיד נפשי הרה"ג ר' זאב רייניץ שליט"א, איש אשר רוח בו, תלמיד חכם אמיתי, ברכה והצלחה בכל מעשי ידיו לו ולמשפחתו היקרה !!
We quoted in an earlier post today the statement of Chazal [אבות ו ב] that אין בן חורין אלא ממי שעוסק בתלמוד תורה. The only truly free person is one who learns Torah. Why is that?
The Maharal [Tiferes Yisrael 37 and see also what he writes in his commentary Derech Chaim] explains that one who is חומר in the bondage of his physicality, is a slave. Avraham said שבו לכם פה עם החמור - Sit here with the donkey, and Chazal explain that he meant עם הדומה לחמור - that nation [Canaan] that is similar to a donkey. A donkey is a חמור and so is a person who is חומר. To learn Torah is to extricate one from the bonds of his חומר.
Rav Kook quotes this Maamar Chazal in many places in his voluminous writings. In Ayn Ayah [Shabbos 5/7] he explains:
This is HUUUGE. To be free means to be yourself, to actualize your spiritual potential. The only person who is actualizing his spiritual potential and is fully developing himself is one who is involved in Torah. Anyone else who is trying to be there "true self" without the framework of Torah study will get caught up in the "חומר" - coarse more physical side of himself, and not develop in the the person he is supposed to be. [See also Kinyan Torah of R' Tzvi Yehuda p. 18-19 quoted in Sichos R' Tzvi Yehuda Bereishis p. 348]
Elsewhere, the Rav explains that it is impossible to think freely unless one learns Torah. If one want to think HONESTLY, ETHICALLY and SINCERELY then he needs to have a Torah mind. Otherwise, all of his opinions are colored and biased due to his phyical desires or imagination. It is very hard to think objectively. We are ALL, whether we like to admit it or not, influenced by various factors that make all of our thoughts subjective and often self-serving. That is why one must learn Torah - then his thoughts will be truly free from the bondage of personal desire, emotion, upbringing, imagination etc. Whatever you are reading in the New York Times or hearing on CNN are all fruits of personal preference with the background of upbringing and societal norms with no true basis in objective reality.
When you read [li-havdil] a Torah from Rav Chaim Halevi or the Sfas Emes, then you are touching something real.
As the Rav writes: