What is this like? It is like a wealthy man who had an old father whom he did not wish to support. He was tried and the verdict was that he would support him at least as respectfully as he supports his own kin, or he would face a harsh punishment.
Naturally, he took him into his home and had to support him generously, but his heart was grieving. The old man said to him, “Since you are already giving me every delight that you have on your table, what would you lose if you also had a good intention, which is reasonable in the eyes of every sensible person, to be happy with having the opportunity to honor your father, who had spent all his energy for you and made you a respectable man? Why are you so obstinate that you afflict yourself? Can you rid yourself even slightly because of it?”
So it is. At the end of the day, we bestow upon society, and only society gains from our lives, since every person, great or small, adds and enriches the treasury of society. But the individual, when weighing the sorrow and pain that one receives, one is in great deficit. Hence, you are giving to your fellow person, but painfully and with great and bitter suffering. So why do you mind the good intention? (Baal HaSulam. The Writings of the Last Generation).
The parable talks about the fact that we must change our attitude toward all people in the world from contempt, hatred, distance, and rejection, to love. By caring for the father, the parable means that the same care for the whole world is as for the people closest to you.
Everyone knows that the Torah commands “to love your neighbor as yourself,” but no one is eager to fulfill this single commandment in any religion or culture till today. Everyone fervently utters words of love and then sticks a knife into their neighbor’s back. Thus, a person does not have neighbors. The only person close to one is oneself.
Question: In the parable, the father says: “You can rejoice that you have the opportunity to show respect to your father.” How is it possible to switch to sudden joy?
Answer: We must understand the depth of this story. A person makes a calculation: If I can show respect to my father to the extent that I will deserve to enter the Garden of Eden (paradise), then I should do it because how long will my father live… I will formally show him respect, I can’t change my heart.
Or maybe I can? If I begin to imagine the paradise that is being prepared for me in the other world every day, then, of course, I will have certain feelings for the Creator because I earn this paradise with His help.
But in any case, this is a very difficult deal, even in the egoistic sense, because paradise is waiting for me in the future world, but to make an effort, I have to sacrifice myself in this world. Only a few are capable of this. Where are they, these people who would do good for others for the sake of entering paradise? I would like to see them, be among them, and let them earn paradise with my help.
A person is made in such a way that no tricks or any persuasion can affect his egoism. It is very difficult for one to change one’s attitude even toward one’s own parents, relatives, and friends, and even more so to society, which consists of the most diverse people, those opposed to oneself, including one’s enemies. Change in attitude is realized only with the help of the science of Kabbalah.
Baal HaSulam wrote: “So, what difference does it make if you have a good intention?” When a person asks this question and begins to understand what it means to change one’s attitude, one sees how it is not easy, because actions have no value, but intention defines everything.
The right intention is the transition from our world to the spiritual world; this is the revelation of the upper world.
From KabTV’s “The Last Generation” 10/9/17