Letter 25, Baal HaSulam: One day, the rich man had to travel far away for many years. The rich man feared that his son would waste his wealth by poor judgment, so he exchanged his properties for gemstones, jewels, and gold, and built a cellar deep in the ground where he hid all the gold, gemstones, and jewels. But he also put his son in there.
He summoned his loyal servants and ordered them to keep his son from leaving the cellar until his twentieth birthday. Each day they were to bring down to him every food and drink, but absolutely no fire or candles. They were also to check the walls and seal every crevice so that no sunlight would penetrate.
For his health, they were to take him out of the cellar each day for one hour and walk him through the city, but carefully watching that he does not run away. On his twentieth birthday, they were to give him candles, open a window for him, and let him out.
The parable speaks about our state. The great, wise, and very kind father (the Creator) intentionally keeps us in a dark basement so that we will treat what we have correctly. Until we become wiser, we should not see the treasures that are around us.
On the other hand, we have the opportunity to go outside and, while studying Kabbalah, look at how others are having fun and doing all sorts of silly things. Sometimes we even envy the way they spend their time. And we just sit around and grieve that we have not received anything yet.
As time goes on, we slowly accumulate various impressions from the things that exist in this world, what we have sacrificed and given up in order to constantly think about the upper world and the Creator, although we do not see anything in this yet. Digesting all these states, we feel great suffering.
Naturally, the son’s affliction was intolerable, especially when he would walk outside and see all the boys eating and drinking merrily on the street, without any guards or time limits, while he was imprisoned with few moments of light.
The walks outside make him feel even worse because he sees his state relative to others.
And if he tried to run, he would be beaten mercilessly.
We see that if we leave Kabbalah, we are no better off; we eat ourselves up: “What are we doing in this world? What for? Why?” We are dissatisfied from two sides: with both this and that.
But he was most upset when he heard that his own father had caused him this affliction…
After all, this governance comes to us from the Creator. Why does the Good and Absolute do this to us?!
…for they were his father’s servants, carrying out his father’s orders.
That is, our entire world and everything that exists in it, and all the people around us, carry out the orders of the Creator.
Naturally, he deemed his father the cruelest of all the cruel that ever lived, for who has heard of such a thing?
This is what he begins to realize in his state. This is just like us. While still unable to justify the Creator, we see how bad we feel. For a year, two, five years or more, we sit, try to study, to understand something and sort out all the knowledge in ourselves; and still we do not understand anything, we are unable to comprehend and, we are in increasing darkness.
On his twentieth birthday, the servants lowered down to him a candle, as his father had commanded. The boy took the candle and began to look around. And lo and behold, what did he see? Sacks filled with gold and every royal delight.
The entire world is before him! He can do whatever he wants, use absolutely everything! He understands everything, knows everything; everything is in his hands: eternity, infinity, perfection—everything!
Only then did he understand that his father is truly merciful, and that all his trouble was only for his own good. He immediately understood that the servants would certainly let him out of the cellar, and so he did. He came out of the cellar, and there was no guarding, no cruel servants. Instead, he is a noble man, wealthier than the wealthiest people in the land.
What happened? Baal HaSulam writes:
But in truth, there is nothing new here, for it becomes revealed that he was so very wealthy to begin with, but in his perception he was poor and destitute, oppressed in the pit all his days. Now, in a single moment, he has gained tremendous riches and rose from the deep pit to the top of the roof.
He envied the other young people who walk in the open, sit in cafes in the evenings, meet with each other, and he is unhappy and leads an aimless life in an empty, cold basement.
In fact, all of it was just in his own feelings. He felt that “he was poor and destitute, oppressed in the pit all his days. Now, in a single moment, he has gained tremendous riches.” It seems to him that he had become rich, but in fact he was rich all the time. This is the same as a person suddenly receiving a notification from the bank that he has an inheritance in his bank account. Although this inheritance was bequeathed to him 10 years ago, only now has the bank realized it and notified him about it. It happens.
This happened to me once. I once lived in Rehovot, a small town 30 kilometers from Petach Tikva. I had a bank account there. Of course, I forgot about it. Banks do not like to remind their customers about this. If you owe them, this is another matter, but if they owe you, then they keep the money. They do not steal them, they just do not have to notify you.
My friend discovered this account by chance. She went to the bank on her own business and at the same time asked: “What does Laitman have in his account?” The employee at the bank replied that there were 90,000 shekels in my account. It was a long time ago and then it was a large amount of money.
Therefore, I understand this young man who suddenly discovered that, as it turns out, he is really rich and noble, understands and knows everything, and can control everything. He became eternal, perfect, infinite, and unlimited. In fact, as Baal HaSulam writes, nothing new happened, because it happened only with respect to the person himself.
Imagine that all of you are sitting in a dark basement! You cannot get out of there! You have to spend a certain amount of time there and then you will be given a flashlight. And you will see that you do not even need to leave the basement; there is everything around you! Now you will be able to use this correctly, and therefore there is no need to hide anything from you.
Who can understand this allegory? One who understands that the “sins” are the deep cellar with the careful watch not to let one out.
It is simple: The cellar and the careful watch are all “privileges” and the father’s mercy over the son. Without it, it would have been impossible for him to be as wealthy as his father, and to become smart and wise. Therefore, it is necessary to lock up the son and thus educate him in order to prepare different sensations in him.
But the “sins” are actual sins and not mistakes. There is no coercion from above. Rather, before he regained his wealth, that feeling dominated in the full sense of the word. But once he has regained his wealth, he saw that all these were a father’s mercies and not at all cruelty.
We must understand that the entire connection of love between the father and his only son depends on the recognition of the father’s compassion for the son regarding the cellar and the darkness and the careful watch, for the son sees in these mercies of the father a great exertion and profound wisdom because he has grown up and can appreciate this.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 3/31/19