Summer Vacation and Enjoyment

Question

Hi Rabbi. Now that it is summer vacation, I am wondering what Judaism says about enjoying life and having fun? Thanks and have a good summer!

, , 2 months

Answers

  1. Some religions seek spirituality through withdrawal from the physical world. A monastic life is glorified. Celibacy and asceticism are seen as ideals. At the other extreme, many pagan religions view the human as essentially an animal, incapable of elevating itself beyond the struggle for survival, so they encourage a life of hedonism and materialism.

    In contrast to these approaches, Judaism chooses a middle path. The Torah teaches us to elevate the physical world, neither to deny nor to idolize it. Judaism sees the physical world as essentially pure, as something that can be used correctly or misused. The human is an essentially spiritual being, clothed in a physical body.

    In Judaism, the physical is not evil and is not an illusion. It is real, but it is not all of our reality. The body created by God is morally neutral, meant to be used as a vehicle for spiritual and moral accomplishments. Far from ignoring the physical, we are commanded to nourish and care for our physical bodies in every way. Even nonessential needs are to be gratified as long as this is done appropriately. In order to live a healthy life, human beings must experience pleasure in addition to having their basic needs satisfied. Judaism considers it a sin to deny oneself permissible physical pleasures.

    Enjoy your vacation!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team