Question: How do you raise a child through reward and punishment?
Answer: We don’t have any other means. That’s how the Creator treats us. We must learn from Him and treat children as He treats us. That’s the only thing we can do – learn how to rear children from the Creator’s attitude toward us.
We should study the way He controls us, the way He plays with us, pretending to mislead us, though in reality He misleads our ego. We will then begin to understand that He misleads our ego wisely, in order to show us how to become like Him.
He constantly increases our reward and its quality. He doesn’t just give us sweets, but changes the ways of encouraging us so we’ll advance and shift from the value system of “sweet vs. bitter” to the value system of “true vs. false.” In fact, Adam HaRishon fell when he confused the “true-false” and the “sweet-bitter” evaluations.
Therefore, when we rear children, we too must help them to gradually understand that they shouldn’t be making efforts just to receive sweets, but to constantly raise the value of “the truth.” This is the most important thing, in spite of the bitterness they will feel as they replace the “sweet” with the “truth.” This is what true education is!
In order to do this, we have to give them examples, invent games, and provide the support of the society. All of this must be a part of the education system. There is nothing more important than this. In fact, the only problem in the entire world is the problem of education. If we manage to educate just one generation that will understand the Upper Governance and will react towards this governance correctly, then we won’t need to do anything else, because the purpose of our life is to establish a connection with the Upper Force.
Everything comes from this force, and hence the only relationship one must establish is one’s relationship with the Upper Force. One must clearly reveal it so he will actually see it, be in dialogue with it, interact with it, and have a clear connection with it. This is the only thing every person needs and this is why we need the wisdom of Kabbalah – the Creator’s revelation to his creation.
We must reveal Him now, while living in this world, as otherwise we won’t know how to live, how to rear our children and how to raise the next generation. These are all things that are necessary for us, and this is why the wisdom of Kabbalah is being revealed now: because we desperately need it.
(From the lesson on Baal HaSulam’s article, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose,” on 02.17.2009)
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