Michael Laitman
Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute

The Allegory of the Sage and the King

There is an allegory about a man having a dream where he saw a king in heaven and a sage in hell. He asked God, “What is the reason for this? I thought it would be the opposite, that the king would be in hell and the sage in heaven.” And he received the answer: “This king was accepted into heaven for his attachment to the sages. And the sage was sent to hell for his closeness to the kings.”

This raises the question: what qualities should a ruler possess in order to bring sages closer to himself, and not the usual politicians and the like?

A ruler should have great respect for sages. Rulers should primarily underatand the need to be surrounded by sages.

What I mean by a sage is a person who strives to understand the meaning of life. Therefore, a ruler who needs to take care of the people, the kingdom’s security, the economy, and so on, needs to be surrounded with those who think about and discuss the meaning of life. Then, everything will work out for the best.

There were certain monumental examples of “king-sages” in history, for instance, King David and King Solomon. They both embodied wisdom and surrounded themselves with sages. It is ridiculous to assume that today’s rulers would rise to such heights, but ultimately, such rulers would be ideal.

In the allegory, the sage was sent to hell due to his closeness to the rulers. There is seemingly a contradiction here: How could a sage not fold under the power of the rulers?

Sages must be completely independent. The rulers will then listen to the sages. In other words, the sages’ independence will attract the rulers. Therefore, in the allegory, the sage being sent to hell is a sign that he was in fact unwise, as he absorbed too much of the ruler’s influence.

We can conclude that a true sage is one who prefers wisdom to any other qualities, placing wisdom above everything else. A true ruler is then one who bows down to sages’ wisdom and prioritizes the sages’ importance over all other people. Of course, such a view contradicts the way the world currently runs, with professionals in the economy, security and politics holding most of today’s power positions. Such people pull humanity in a wrong direction.

About the Author
Michael Laitman is a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute. Author of over 40 books on spiritual, social and global transformation. His new book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, is available on Amazon: