Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
I met someone yesterday who, thanks to government assistance, has been receiving most of his regular salary since the onset of the pandemic even though he has been absent from his job.
"I have been sitting at home receiving 70% of my salary," he said. "At the beginning, it was fun. My wife and daughters enjoyed having me at home. I had no obligations, I did not have to get up early in the morning, my schedule was empty. Over the last few months, my employer appealed to me several times to come back to work. However, the temptation to stay at home was still great, and I refused his offer. Why work hard when you can get most of your salary without doing anything? Besides, I heard about other employees like me who felt you would have to be a sucker to interrupt a paid vacation on your own initiative. But this week my boss reached out to me again to ask if I was ready to return to work. After consulting with the family, I responded in the affirmative. That's it, I'm returning to work after Pesach."
We are in the midst of the festival of freedom. Fittingly, the above story reminded me that freedom is not just a vacation from restrictions. True freedom is about living with a purpose and making choices that set an example from which all benefit. When you choose to earn your livelihood by the work of your own hands, and to get up each morning with a certain goal, you demonstrate to everyone at home the importance of responsibility. On the other hand, sometimes what seems like freedom is actually a form of slavery -- to sit at home with legs crossed, to receive money for this, and to become tethered to a life of idleness.
Have a joyful festival of freedom.