Shema: 4 Relationship Part Three
How the relationship works is illustrated by a story of the father and his two daughters. One daughter was very ugly and the other was a shrew, so the father could not marry them off until he found two brothers—one of whom was blind, and the other was deaf. The blind brother married the ugly woman, and the deaf brother married the shrew. They were so happy. The shrew could yell all she wanted, and the deaf brother never got upset with her raising her voice. The ugly sister didn’t have to take care of herself; the blind brother loved her anyway. As far as he was concerned, she was beautiful.
Both couples were married many years when a world-famous surgeon came to town and said that he could make their lives better. The brothers thought, “Who wouldn’t want to see? Who wouldn’t want to hear.” So they both underwent surgery. Thank God, medically everything went well, but psychologically it was a disaster. When the formerly blind brother took off his bandages and saw his ugly wife, he screamed in horror. When the formerly deaf brother took off his bandages, he began to get headaches and earaches from his wife’s yelling and nagging.
And so the brothers refused to pay the doctor. They said to him, “You said our lives would be improved, but instead, our lives are ruined! We’re not going to pay you for the surgery!” The doctor argued that he helped them see and hear, and he should be paid. In order to settle the dispute, they went to see a rabbi. After hearing all sides, the rabbi asked the doctor, “Did you say you would make their lives better?” The doctor admitted that he had made that claim. “Are their lives better?” Again, the doctor had to admit that they didn’t think so. So the rabbi declared, “I want you to make him blind again and him deaf again.”
When they heard his verdict, the brothers protested—they did not want to be blind and deaf again. “In that case,” said the rabbi, “pay the bill!”
God says the same thing to us: “If you don’t like the pleasures I give you, I’ll take them away! Is that what you want? No? If not, then you have to pay the price.”