It was said that people need time to think. Isn't it better for people to be busy so they should avoid mental illness?
People should eat, and people should work, but sometimes a man is so ill that we forbid him to eat, only we give him intravenous nourishment. And sometimes he is so ill that we don't let him work, but that's abnormal, it's for sick people. Yes, sometimes we tell people don't think, and that's therapy. Therapy means do something so you won't have time to think, because the mind is made to dwell on outside subjects, but when the mind dwells on itself – it's like the teeth.
Teeth are given to chew food, but when a man uses his teeth to chew up his cheeks and his tongue, he's misusing it. When people use their minds to chew up their own minds, so then we tell them get busy making rugs, get busy climbing mountains, do something to take your mind off your mind; don't think. But when people are healthy, thinking is a very good prescription. It's a great thing to have Shabbos to be free to think.
Therefore it depends for whom. Sometimes you have to say don't think to save yourself, but for most people we say, think! Of course you have to think properly. If you have time to think and about all kinds of narishkiten and yetzer hara things, certainly it won't do you any good.
But if you think the proper ideas, then you're going to make use of the purpose for which leisure was given.
Good Shabbos To All
This email is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures. To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210