The Allegory of the Hotel Owners Who Tried Stealing from a Wealthy Merchant

Michael Laitman
4 min readMay 22, 2024

There is an allegory about a husband and a wife who ran a hotel for ordinary folk, and who tried to steal from a wealthy merchant who took a room at their hotel for the night.

The wife saw the merchant’s expensive belongings and told her husband that she had a powder that made people forget everything. She added that powder to the merchant’s dinner with the intent of him forgetting and leaving behind a few of his beautiful possessions.

The merchant finished his dinner, praised the hotel owners for his delightful experience at the hotel, and set off at dawn. Right after he left, the owners rushed to the merchant’s room in search of any valuables the merchant might have left behind. Suddenly, the husband shouted, “He forgot, he forgot!” “Forgot what?” his wife exclaimed joyfully. “He forgot to pay for the night.”

In this allegory, the couple is punished directly for their criminal act. In our world, however, there are several examples of people who paint a pretty picture of themselves, with smiles and seemingly good deeds on the outside, in order to steal from others. For instance, people can sit with an aging relative, silently waiting for their demise in order to acquire their property and belongings, and young women can marry elderly millionaires with the intent to soon acquire a major cut of their inheritance. In such cases, however, we do not see a direct punishment being handed down on these people for their manipulative efforts.

However, punishment does get handed down. We might not feel such punishment directly, but nature has its own way of balancing what transpires in humanity.

Our entire life in this world is a punishment for our egoistic attitude to each other. Wars and myriad other forms of suffering are brought about by our corrupt egoistic attitudes. We seek self-benefit at the expense of others and nature, and we have no genuine desire to bring about happiness and kindness to anyone else.

Nature has set us up to undergo a certain stage of development where we discover that we are completely egoistic, i.e., we wholeheartedly aim to benefit ourselves at the expense of others, and from such a revelation, to start turning to the very laws of nature that created us with a sincere demand: “Look at how You have created me! What can I do? I only scatter seeds of hatred around me. And it was You who made me this way.” Moreover, the same way nature created us in such an egoistic attitude, nature itself can also correct us so that our inborn egoism inverts to its altruistic opposite.

Unlike the example of the hotel owners trying to steal from the merchant in the allegory, we do not feel punishments for our corrupt egoistic attitudes to each other directly because if we would, then we would learn quickly and everybody would straighten up seemingly in an instant.

Instead, our punishment for our egoistic attitude in this world is indirect. We do not understand why or how holding an egoistic approach to each other and to the world is problematic. If we felt direct negative feedback for our negative intentions and actions, then we would quickly turn into well-behaved soldiers. We would not learn anything about ourselves and about what it means to develop positive attitudes to each other and to nature, i.e., to not wish evil upon each other in the first place. We would instead simply reach an understanding that although we still wish to exploit others for personal benefit, the direct punishments we would get for doing so would not let us act as we would still like to.

Nature, rather, develops us to eventually realize that we would not want to hate, exploit, manipulate or abuse others to begin with, that our innate attitude to each other would invert at the very point of its nature. We are on course toward a critical juncture in human development called “the recognition of evil,” a point of discovery of our inborn nature as total egoism, and feeling bad from having such a nature. This revelation will make us wish for a sincere transformation of our nature to become like the nature that is outside of us: altruistic, all-loving and all-bestowing.

There is a process embedded in nature that we will necessarily undergo such discernments and discoveries, and we will reach a happy ending of inverting our innate egoistic attitudes to each other to ones that let us harmoniously, peacefully and happily connect. That state in which humanity discovers its evil egoistic nature, opposite to the altruistic laws of nature themselves, and where it passionately desires change, is called “the last generation.” We are currently at the beginning of this entrance into this last generation, but it is still only the beginning.



Michael Laitman

PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.