Q. Does that mean that a person can never just “go for it” and have some spur-of-the-moment fun?
A. There’s definitely a time and a place for spontaneous fun. But the main thing is that a person should keep his eyes open and calculate what is actually at stake, and whether or not it’s really worth it. It’s fine to have some fun, but a person has to always know how far he is willing to go.
Q. Can you think of a struggle you went through where you felt this tension between short-term and long-term gain?
Ages 10 and up
Q. How is long-term thinking the sign of a spiritually developed person?
A. We all have impulses, whether it’s a desire for ice cream or anything else. It’s a normal part of being human. However, besides these short-term, generally physical impulses, each of us has a deeper, spiritual essence with its own set of goals and desires. Some of these might include developing our minds, improving our character traits, getting along better with others, etc. Most often these spiritual goals take time before they yield their results and bring us pleasure. The more spiritually tuned in we are, the more real these things are to us, and the more likely we will be willing to invest ourselves in them even at the expense of some of our short-term desires.
Q. What do you thing our sages mean when they say that a wise man is able to see what will develop out of his choices?
A. It refers to an ability to look beyond the immediate results of a given decision, and project several steps into the future, to realize what that decision is likely to bring about. In our story, it would mean being able to look past the taste of the ice cream and see a broken diet, likely future binges, and the physical and emotional discomfort of being overweight.
Q. Can you think of a struggle you went through where you felt this tension between short-term and long-term gain?Nesanel Yoel Safran
About the Author: Nesanel Yoel Safran is a published writer and yeshiva cook. He has been studying Torah for the last 25 years, and lives in Israel with his family.
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