A Tale of Two Cities
By Nachum Mohl
Once upon a time there were two kings who each lived in a walled city. One was a good king who tried to help his people by developing trade and allowed freedom of movement through out his kingdom. The other was a bad and evil king who led his subject in attacks against peoples in the surrounding lands. Sometimes the evil king would lead his followers in a raid against the walled city of the good king.
After some time of trying to convince the evil king to abandon his wicked ways of robbing, stealing, etc. the good king took his men and set out to attack the evil king.
"We will show him a thing or two" the good king told his followers and he marched out of his kingdom with his soldiers to attack the walled city of the evil king.
The evil king was notified of the good king's intentions. He called his carpenters and commanded them to construct a façade of wooden doors. "Mount them on the thickest part of our wall and make them look like the main gate to our city!" he said. He told the gardeners to hide the real gate to the city by cleverly concealing the doors. "Plant trees and bushes so that the good king will not see the real entrance!" he told them. He instructed his workers to change the path leading to the gates. "Conceal the old road and create a new road to the phony gates so the good king will mistake them for the real gates!"
In a short time the evil king's workers completed their assignments and only the evil inhabitants knew the location of the real gates. The imitation gates appeared genuine and so the evil king waited above the simulated gates for the arrival of the good king and his army.
Soon the good king appeared before the evil king. "Evil king," he called out, "we are here to stop you from pursuing your evil ways."
The evil king sneered at the good king and told him that he would not permit him to enter his city. "You will never break down the doors to my city," he answered. At that point he and his followers began showering the good king and his army with arrows, spears and truncheons.
The good king retreated with his wounded army and vowed to the evil king that he would return to attack him to pay him back for his wickedness.
In a short while, the good king returned with his army armed with large shields that were capable of deflecting the array of arrows and spears that the evil king showered upon them. As the good king approached the pretend gates, the evil king began pouring down boiling hot water and burning oil on his army. The good king was forced to retreat with many casualties. "Just you wait," he vowed, "I'll be back and you will regret it!"
After a short time, the good king and his army returned with a metal canopy that deflected the arrows, boiling water and the oil of the evil king. "Batter down the doors!" commanded the king to his subjects. But trying hard as they could, they could not budge the doors.
The good king sent his men into the forests to cut down trees to use as battering ram. Again and again they tried to batter down the doors. But of course, since these were just wooden facades attached to the thickest part of the rampart wall, they did not budge an inch.
Finally, both the good king and his army, tired and exhausted from their hard but unsuccessful work stepped back and realized that they could not penetrate these doors. "This time we were not successful in breaking down your doors," the good king told the evil king. "But if you bother us again we will come back punish you!"
With this stern warning the good king and his army, together with his wounded and dead men went back to their city. The king reported to his people that he had attacked the evil king and showed him that any further attack by him and his forces would be met with another stiff counter-attack. "Even though there were losses on our side," the good king explained, "it was necessary in order to demonstrate that we would not put up with any further aggression."
Meanwhile in the city of the evil king, there was singing and dancing, frolicking and sumptuous meals lavishly served to express of their happiness at fooling the good king into attacking the façade. No one was happier than the evil king himself who again triumphed over the good king. After the banquet, the king sat down with his advisors to work out another plan to attack the kingdom of the good king.
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Well, what can we learn from this fairy tale?
When we have an enemy, whether he is the internal Satan, or a real obstacle in our lives, do not trust the first idea that comes into your mind. A cool mind that can reason and think clearly is must greater than great physical strength.
When one wants to overcome the evil inclination that comes to attack him, the first thing is to take stock of ALL aspects of the situation that exist. What are the possibilities, what are the risks, what are the unseen factors? Above all, it is wise to seek help from several individuals whose thinking is not clouded by being intimately connected with the problem.
Only with prudent counsel can one triumph. It is only by learning Torah properly, in depth, that we have a chance against this very crafty king.