Monday, February 13, 2012

The Moral Instinct

Translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom (Breslov Reasearch Institute)

Sichos HaRan, sec. 78

Fairness exists everywhere.

One may commit every outrage but still have a sense of fairness. It may be blunted, but it still exists. There are people who are immediately sensitive to all unfairness. Others do not sense it until after they have committed some wrong. Still others feel no remorse until they have committed serious crimes. But each man has his limit. There is a degree of outrage that stimulates the sense of fairness in every man.

I was once in a small village. A military officer had come there demanding all the horses, saying they were needed to carry mail. The villagers bribed him to leave them in peace. They kept their horses and the officer had some easy money.

Soon one of his junior officers arrived. The commander convinced him that he should also try this trick. The second officer went to the townsmen again, also demanding horses for the mail. He was also bribed and walked away with a tidy sum.

A third officer then passed through the town. He was really in charge of the mail, and was short several animals. He actually needed the horses and would not be satisfied with a bribe. The mayor went and pleaded before the commander. The people had already paid two bribes but would still have their horses taken.

At this point, even the commander recognized the unfairness of the situation. He ordered the mail officer to leave the townsmen alone, and the horses were not taken. This same commander had already robbed the villagers without qualm. He had even advised his junior to do the same. It took two crimes before his sense of fairness could even begin to function. But by the third time, even he realized that the situation was hardly fair. It was then that he ordered that the town be left alone.

For fairness exists everywhere.

It may be buried, but it can always be reached.

It is written in the Zohar that even the Left Side contains both right and left. Even the unholy has a spark of the divine. The Left Side has a right, even though its right may not even reach the left side of the Holy. The right side is fairness. It even exists on the Other Side. However, on the Other Side, righteousness and fairness begin very late, even after the fairness of the left of the Holy. Understand this.

© 1973 Breslov Research Institute

No comments:

Post a Comment