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Rabbi Infinity demonstrates how the three rules of walking the wire apply in achieving your life goals. Doubt is the enemy; focus and confidence are your allies.

Tightrope Walking

Tightrope Walking

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Tightrope Walking

Rabbi Infinity demonstrates how the three rules of walking the wire apply in achieving your life goals. Doubt is the enemy; focus and confidence are your allies.
Faith; Belief in G-d, Doubt

The problem with religion is all this talk about faith. Why believe in something just because somebody else—or even a lot of people—believe it is true. After all, why do they believe it? Because they believe someone else. And what kind of proof is that? Because a lot of believers believe, I should believe too?

Then there’s philosophy. The problem with philosophy is all this talk about reason. Reason doesn’t move you anywhere, because for every good reason in one direction, there’s always another equally good reason in the opposite direction—and even if you don’t know of one, once you’ve had enough experience with reason proving you wrong, you’re always going to have that nagging feeling that this is also going to be a dead end.

So what’s a living, breathing, suposedly sentient being supposed to do?

Nobody ever took a risk, made a gamble or invested in a business by force of reason. But only fools do such things on pure faith. The tried and proven approach to life is a proper balance of the two.

First you have faith that there is an answer. Nothing can happen without a place to stand.

Then you use your mind to look clearly, casting aside preconceptions, assumptions and prejudices. Even if the answer is not what you expected, not what you would like, not where you were planning to head, hey, it’s the answer. Then you look again, even deeper. And yet deeper.

And then a voice inside says, “Yeah, this is it. I gotta go with this one”—that’s when you commit. That’s when reason ends and faith takes over.

Like a marriage: It starts with an attraction, a kind of faith that this is the right one. And it ends with a commitment, that we’re going to make this work, no matter what. It doesn’t start with reason and it doesn’t end with reason. But if there’s no reason in between, man, can you get in trouble.

Once you’ve done your homework and you know this guy has no history of violence, has got his act together enough to support a family, and is who he says he is—or the similar kinds of factors with a gal—then you go beyond that. You get married. Marriage is the point where you say, “Okay, now I can believe in you. Now I have faith. Now, even if one day I wake up and see you lying there makeupless, in your curlers, and even a few wrinkles and grayish hairs, snoring and grumpy-looking after our terrible quarrel last night, still I’m there for you. I believe in you.”

Really, you started with that faith to begin with. You just needed some reasoning to make sure you’re not being duped.

So too, the Jew is married to the Torah. He doesn’t want to study the books of all those who say he is a fool—just as a faithful husband doesn’t want to hear criticism of his wife. Just like an athlete in training doesn’t want to hear all the reasons why he might not win. He has 100% faith that he will win—otherwise he would not be killing himself over the grueling rigors of his daily training.

Just like the acrobat will not take his eyes off his goal, so the Jew after more than 3,300 years is not ready to say, “Hey, maybe we made a mistake back there. Maybe we didn’t think it through properly after all. Maybe we gave our lives to the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Inquisition, etc., all in vain? Maybe all our history was a big waste after all, and our fathers and mothers were plain fools for three millennia?”

Okay, if you want, you can think all those things.

Just as the acrobat was about to place his foot on the platform at the far end of his rope, he looked back and . . .

Written and conceived by Tzvi Freeman. Rabbi Freeman is available for public speaking and workshops. Read more on his bio page.
Music by The Piamentas
Rabbi Infinity played by Andrew Torres
Animation and SFX by Pilar Newton of Pilar Toons
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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FM jakarta July 20, 2014

Nice one.. start with reason and then just believe.. Reply

reubin February 11, 2014

reasoning brings faith which brings actions to teach the reason for the faith. Reply

Gavri Hanita Hazaka Abir Sellek 2nd Canada May 31, 2013

Keeping your eyes on the goal I enjoy you cartoon and I find I learn a lot about any give topic you present. This one for example It is far to easy to take you mind off the goals you set in life. It is far to easy being short sighted to accomplish any goal you may set in life. Looking and aiming at one goal to fulfill it is the accomplished purpose of achievement gives us satisfaction. These little messages are great character builders. Please keep up the good work for I (and others) look forward to more of them Reply

jj Israel April 5, 2009

Teshuvaand Intuition Art- - you might consider that intuition comes with teshuva - that one becomes enhanced with the other - and the greated the teshuva the more clarity and insight. Reply

Ari Edson thornhill, On. April 3, 2009

great intuition "Then you use your mind to look clearly, casting aside preconceptions, assumptions and prejudices". Is every baal teshuva who wants to study Judaism expected to do that. That stuff requires great intuition. So are you saying if a person becomes a baal teshuva and doesn't have great intuition then he can get into a lot of trouble? Reply

Ari Edson thronhill, ont August 19, 2008

But that is clearly not what Baruch was implying. He wrote a very beautiful comment. Reply

Ari Edson thornhill, ont August 19, 2008

What I meant to say to Baruch is using feeling as an assement for what we are going to live by is just as much an assesment as intellect would be, and so that does not work either. Reply

Ari Edson Thornhill, Ont August 17, 2008

To correct myself Excuse me in regard to what I said about getting in trouble. In regard to leanining the Torah, the Torah should properly be learnt with a negative self but most importantly it has to be understood and learned because most impotantly the the information should be absorbed and become one with the intellect. I suppose it is the same for relationships, the other has to be understood to become one and absorbed with each other. Reply

Ari Edson Thornhill, Ont August 17, 2008

Baruch tell me what you think I would have to disagree with Baruch. Faith does not come from personal experience it comes from a naught of person or self; a negation of some sort. The Torah is the internalisation of negative self. The legal arguments related to tort laws or with losing an article or even practical lessons should properly be learnt through a negative self.

But Rabbi Freeman took a more skeptical approach to the subject and basically said you cant live your life based on skeptism because skepticm is limited to non-paradox and because life is filled with paradox a person cant live a life based on skeptism. He is teaching us about relationships and skepticsm in a relationship is a dead end relationship. But of course there is has to be understanding of the other of who we are committed to, if not you could wind up in big trouble. So there has to be paradox to say the same thing, there has to be space for growth. Rabbi Freeman did not answer the questions he didnt give it a dead response. Reply

Baruch Yitzak Ben Moshe Chaim via chabadtexas.org August 16, 2008

faith and reason Reason and faith are complementary in the Jewish experience.

Torah tells us Yoseph’s story of how all things others thought were bad were really, as he stated to his brothers, "clearly as this day only G-d sending me before you so that a great nation would be saved."

As we see G-d's daily causing goodness to come even from events that others would call negative, personal experience causes us to have faith in the validity of the record of our people, passed l'dor v dor, over thousands of years.

Follow the Mitzvot and PERSONAL EXPERIENCE shows the goodness that happens. Disregard them and PERSONAL EXPERIENCE confirms the negative results our heritage tells us will happen.

Reason based on faith based from personal experience confirms enough of the record to lead a reasonable person to deduce that the remainder of the record is also probably reliable. Reply

Rabbi Infinity August 14, 2008

Re: What if you have many goals Hey--that's what Trimming Up is about! Reply

jj Israel August 13, 2008

What if you have many goals? How do you stay focused on many goals simultaneously and achieve them all? Reply

Sarah Los Angeles, Ca August 11, 2008

I too agree, this toon was perfect it fits perfectly with what i am having to deal with at this moment. But what do you do with all those doubts- when you are looking around. What does the faithful husband do when they are criticizing his wife? What do you do if your inner vision is under attack from outside and from within? How do you extend the inner vision into the outer word? O.K. maybe too many questions, but Thanks so much Rabbi. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one walking the tightrope. That is the beauty of our people, no matter how far or how different- We Are One. Reply

Heena Earlysville, VA August 11, 2008

tightrope walking I agree that this was the best ever kabbalatoon you've done. It makes the point perfectly. The visual images of the inner light and the goal-light as, more or less, one and the same, is brilliant [pun intended!]. Thanks. Reply

Michal August 11, 2008

tightrope walking Hi, Rabbi Freeman, I l o v e d that.
Until now it was the most beautiful and most clear Kabbalatoon.
And it was for m e too. Thank you! Reply

Anonymous August 9, 2008

thank you how is it that you knew exactly what was bothering me right now? Reply

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