The Duty of Care: An Insight into the Sacrifices Made for Loved Ones

Michael Laitman
3 min readApr 15, 2024

An elderly man visited a nurse to remove stitches after surgery. Everyone was busy. He asked, demanded and begged to be taken care of quickly, saying “I need to get to the hospital in time to feed my sick wife. She has Alzheimer’s disease.”

An elderly nurse immediately freed herself and told him that “she will probably be worried if you are late. I will do everything quickly for you.”

He replied, “No, she has not recognized me for the last five years.”

“So what is your hurry if she does not know who you are?”

He replied, “It does not matter that she does not know who I am, I know who she is.”

This allegory raises the question: What fuels a person who receives no recognition or reward in return for their efforts toward someone else. This elderly man receives no gratitude, not even a smile, but tends to his beloved wife in a one-way direction.

Such a person feels simply that it is their duty. It is possible to continue in life with the knowledge that we have a duty and that we receive nothing in return for carrying it out.

Is a person who feels and operates according to this feeling of a duty in their life acting out of love?

A duty is beyond love. Love dictates our actions because it is the kind of attitude we hold toward others. However, we are obligated to perform a duty above whether or not we feel love. Accordingly, a duty is measured by responsibility.

Love obligates us to behave in a dutiful manner toward someone. When we do not feel love but a sense of duty, then we need to calibrate ourselves in a direction where we aim outwardly for the benefit of the other person, without letting any thought of self-benefit distort such a motion.

The elderly man example shows that he is alive and his wife is barely existing, and the man directs whatever life he has to her. What keeps him going is his care for her.

Even if there were people around him recognizing his efforts, telling him what a great, loving, caring and responsible man he is, it would mean nothing to him.

However, is this elderly man an example of someone who approaches the spiritual quality of bestowal? No. It is because the sense of duty he feels in his care and nourishment of his wife is his fulfillment. His wife, lying in her hospital bed and recognizing no one, holds her family members together. But the strength to fulfill such a sense of duty in our lives is a quality that comes to us from above, i.e., nature grants us such abilities.

Nature, or the Creator, i.e., the force of love and bestowal that created and sustains reality, is everywhere. But when we perform actions of aiming to benefit others without considering our own self-benefit, then this force is more present in such actions.

Eventually, we will reach a state where the force of love and bestowal will vitalize our connections and attitudes to each other, and we will live long lives with a complete sense of fulfillment, much greater than the kinds of fulfillments we currently feel in our lives.



Michael Laitman

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