Day 4: A Chanukah of Shmita Freedom

In the year after 7 cycles of Shmita, the Jubilee year, all slaves were released to freedom. Today we have more slaves around the world than at any other time in history, and our consumption in the West (which peaks at this time of year) is often built upon varying degrees of this slavery. How can we ensure the gifts we give this Chanukah aren’t enslaving? And that we aren't enslaving ourselves to stuff!  can help you explore how many slaves you have!

"In freedom, I am lost in a myriad of choices. When I walk on the street, dozens of cheeses, fruits and juices stare at me from store windows. There are vegetables here I'd never seen or heard of, and an endless series of decisions that must be made: What to drink in the morning, coffee or tea? What newspaper to read? What to do in the evening? Where to go for the Sabbath? Which friends to visit? In the punishment cell, life was much simpler. Every day brought only one choice: good or evil, black or white, saying yes or no to the KGB. Moreover, I had all the time I needed to think about these choices, to concentrate on the most fundamental problems of existence, to test myself in fear, in hope, in belief, in love. And now, lost in thousands of mundane choices, I suddenly realize that there's no time to reflect on the bigger questions. How to enjoy the vivid colors of freedom without losing the existential depth I felt in prison? How to absorb the many sounds of freedom without allowing them to jam the stirring call of the shofar that I heard so clearly in the punishment cell? And, most important, how in all these thousands of meetings, handshakes, interviews and speeches, to retain that unique feeling of the interconnection of human souls which I discovered in the Gulag? These are the questions I must answer in my new life, which is only beginning." Natan Sharansky - Fear No Evil (1986)


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