That is why people have agreed that we can’t manage alone, after all. Other people serve me in one way, and I serve them in some other way. Without that we just can’t manage. Once we understand this, we come to an agreement: Let’s do this without waiting for a disastrous situation. Let’s do it out of mercy: I give a little bit to you, and you give a little bit to me.
Suppose I am driving in a car and someone in front of me suddenly stops. Then I also have to stop. If there is someone standing in front of me in line, then I have to wait. I spend time, gas, and money on others because we have all agreed on mutual sympathy and have to pay for it.
We create funds to help one another, such as medical funds and retirement funds. A person understands that it’s worth it for him to pay the medical fund even if he is healthy because his egoism recognizes how it will benefit from this. That is how we make concessions ahead of time because we need each other. This is “mercy”: We are willing to bestow to others in specific ways because we won’t survive without them.
As a result, people divide into two categories: Some promote “mercy,” wishing for everything to be “pretty,” while others support the category of “truth,” which says: “Mine is mine and yours is yours.” So whose side is truth on? The answer is: neither.
However, if every person clings to what is his, then society is torn apart to pieces, whereas if we add mercy, then we can somewhat soften or sweeten the situation. As a result, human societies throughout history have differed from one another by the correlation of these two approaches.
Society can be softer or harsher. In its pure form, capitalism does not like to play around: If you earned it, receive what’s yours, but if you haven’t earned it, then you can starve to death. Others understand that this is not a solution because hungry people will come and rob you, and maybe will even murder you. So it’s worth it to give them something “out of mercy.”
That is how humanity develops, but it cannot achieve piece on this path. Granted, truth is the lot of the strong, and mercy is the lot of the weak, but justice stands in the middle as the foundation of the scale so our cups could sway to and fro.
That is how society keeps itself back from self-destruction, but this does not bring it any closer to real peace – to conciliation and mutual completion.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/15/11, “Peace in the World”