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Jtube: The Paradox of Choice

Jtube: The Paradox of Choice

Is more choice good news or bad news?

by and

Published: April 2, 2011

Is more choice good news or bad news?

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Visitor Comments: 7

(7) eva, August 17, 2011 3:26 AM

Torah=freedom

The Talmud says the only truly free man is the one who lives a Torah life. The Torah lays out for us the best way to live, thereby reducing the incidence of paralysis of indecision, by helping us to know which choices to make.

(6) Yoni R., May 10, 2011 7:09 PM

Once again..our sages said it first.

Our Sages tell us "Ein Ben Chorin Elah Ben Torah"- " There's no FREE person other than one who follows the Torah". The laws of the Torah while sometimes seemingly restricting, in actuality afford us the power to choose. Several years ago a number of Shabbos-observant jews were rejected from participating in a health study on smoking when they claimed that although they smoked some inordidate amount of cigarettes a day, they desisited every saturday for 25 hours. The researchers said it wasn't possible.

(5) Devorah, April 5, 2011 5:39 PM

He summed up some very true points

Number One: You CAN get a cell phone that doesn't do too much. It's called a "Kosher Phone" now also available outside of Israel! Number Two: Rabbi Akiva Tatz (in his book Anatomy of a Search) once had to explain to some secular friends why he was not having a batchelor party the night before his wedding (he was quite orthodox by that time). The idea of this kind of party is to "live it up" one more time while you are still open and available to any and every female - before you are "stuck" with no more potential, just obligated to one person. No more options or choices (translate that metapohorically: Others say, celebrate when you have not limited your choices to just one option to which you commit yourself. That's when it's all over). His wonderful answer asserted that, NO - this is when everything BEGINS. His explanation went beyond an understanding of the elevated state of being married, to encapsulate what committing to Torah is all about. That is, that until his wedding, he was all potential and unlimited choices, but also nothing achieved; no goal met. After his wedding is when he is committed to one exclusive person --i.e. goal, path, or obligation. That is when he will ttruly be able to FULFILL his potential. Similar to when one enters college and the world of posibilities and choices is open to him. But to remain at that state is to never complete one's training and achieving expertise iin a particular field, which can then become this person's great contribution to himself, his family, and even to society. Or, you can stay at the level of "about to register," with the world wide open to you. Forever. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

(4) Matthew, April 5, 2011 4:29 AM

playing tennis without a net

The talk reminded me of a Robert Frost quote in which he compared free verse poetry to playing tennis without a net. Without the rules and boundaries that give the game meaning you really aren't playing the game at all. Same thing with life. A Jew without Torah may be alive, but he isn't really living. Of course our choices are growing in number, but that doesn't mean that just any choice is good. In 1992 the song was "57 Channels and Nothing on." Just 19 years later and that sounds quaint. Thank you for a very good website.

(3) EB, April 4, 2011 5:34 PM

true, but status quo ante

Humans have always had choice. And the range of choices has always been around (or perhaps just slightly beyond) our limits. Of course, the window of choice is different for each generation, or each culture, or each social group. Paralysis ("I can't choose!") has always been a problem. For example, while one group worshipped the golden calf, and a second group opposed them, our tradition tells us that a third group couldn't choose at all and scoffed at both groups. So it's not new. But what's great about his talk is that he puts his finger on the fact that paralysis is a real problem -- in a wonderfully lively, understandable, engaging way.

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