“STORIES OF REBBE NACHMAN”
Rebbe Nachman’s stories can be understood on many levels and in many ways. He said that while many people told stories to children to put them to sleep, he told his stories to wake people up. Even a person who regularly learns Torah and observes all the mitzvot can be considered sleeping if he does so in a mechanical way, lacking joy. Because stories can penetrate the heart and feelings of a person, and not merely his head (like with analytical learning), they have the power to bring a person to new and unexpected insights, often on a deeper level than intellectual endeavor alone.
The following are some general understandings of the stories in the film, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman,” and suggested points of discussion, to help engage students and viewers in the content and themes of the stories.
THE TURKEY PRINCE
Content and Themes
On a simple level, this story is about children who rebel from the accepted norm, in one fashion or another, and stray from the path which parents and educators expect them to follow. What are parents and teachers to do? To get down on the child? Or to try to get down to his level, to accept the child for who he or she is, to appreciate his or her good points, and patiently build a relationship of love and trust, in order to help the child deal with the powerful emotions and conflicts in his or her life?
On deeper levels, the son of the king, represents Am Yisrael (the Jewish People) in its descent into exile, “under the table,” where it exists more like a turkey, wandering here and there, depending on the crumbs of the gentiles in foreign lands, where, in adapting the ways of the gentiles, we come to resemble them – turkeys instead of sons of the king. How do we get back to being sons of the king – independent Jews in our Land, back at the table of the King? In addition, on a national level, how are we to relate to groups of Jews who are, in one way or another, “under the table,” either in their preferring the Diaspora to life in Israel, or in their straying from Torah, or in their rejection of Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel)? To we get down on them, and oppose them, or do we get down to their level, understanding where they are holding in their different worldviews, and gradually influence them, with love and patience, to expand their horizons through the example of a more enlightened understanding and behavior?
On a Kaballistic level, the son of the king symbolizes the Shechina’s (the Divine Presence) descent into exile “under the table,” cast out from the palace of the King. And, on a universal level, the son of the king is all of mankind, who with the fall of Adam, was cast away from the Garden of Eden to exile. Who will lead humanity back to the Garden and to world Tikun (rectification)? The nations of the world, represented by the magicians and sages of the king, all try and fail. Only the Jewish Sage succeeds in returning the fallen prince to the table of the king.
Questions and Points of Discussion
Rebbe Nachman doesn’t explain why the prince started to act like a turkey. In your opinion, what are some of the factors that can cause a person to act in an unexpected fashion?
Is it proper to say that all people who act in an unusual fashion are crazy?
Are parents right to worry over children who go off the customary path and to try to help them?
Is going off the customary path always a bad thing? Try to give some examples.
How does the educational approach of the Jewish Sage differ from the approaches of the wise men who came before him? (The wise men of the king try to change the youth. The Jewish Sage accepts him for who he is and tries to influence him through identify with him and building trust.)
How would you describe the relationship between the prince and the Jewish Sage?
What do you think the Jewish Sage meant when he said that the prince could still be a turkey and eat at the table like everyone else?
In many stories of Rebbe Nachman, the king is a metaphor for Hashem (G-d). If this is so in the “Turkey Prince,” whom does the prince represent?
If the prince represents Am Yisrael, what does throwing off his princely clothes and getting down under the table symbolize?
The prince can be said to represent mankind in general, which is said to have fallen “out of the King’s garden” with the sin of Adam. Looking at the story in this manner, the goal of mankind is to get back to the garden, by returning to the presence of the King. This is sometimes called “Tikun Olam.” How is this to be done? What is the role of Am Yisrael in this process? Name some of the things that Am Yisrael brought to the world since the beginning of our history.
Content and Themes
There are two basic messages, which are openly stated at the end of this story. The first message is that everyone has a treasure within them. For Rebbe Nachman, this treasure is the Jewish soul and our innate connection to Hashem and to His Torah, which He gave to Am Yisrael and implanted within us. But some people are not aware of this treasure, or were never educated to recognize it; and sometimes their travels in foreign pastures, and the influences of foreign beliefs, caused them to forget the unique Jewish treasure within them. This is true for individuals and also for the Jewish People as a whole. After a very long exile, wandering in foreign lands, our sense of who we are as a Nation became distorted and confused. Today, the Nation of Israel is in the process of rediscovering who we are.
In a more universal sense, all people have “treasures” within them. Some people are very kind, others are very creative; some people excel in sports, while others have keen intellectual skills. Some people have the inner treasure of being giving and thoughtful of others, while others have the treasure of being good listeners and friends.
The second message of the story is that to recognize this hidden treasure, a person often has to travel far and wide, in order to seek out the person who can help him discover the treasure in himself. For Rebbe Nachman, this is the role of the Tzaddik (righteous Sage). By following the wise advice of the Tzaddik, a person can uncover the treasure within him. This very important person can also be a parent, a brother, a teacher, a counselor, or a friend. The Talmud teaches that a prisoner cannot free himself from prison. Rather, he needs the assistance of someone on the outside who can show him the proper way. When someone is confused and is struggling to discover who he really is, the role of the mentor or guide is crucial to his or her coming to self-discovery.
An interesting aspect of the story is the Peasant’s dream. Dreams which leave a deep and lasting impression on the dreamer are often pathways to a person’s inner psyche, hidden desires, and sometimes a channel to Divine Inspiration (Ruach HaKodesh). In a similar way, the king’s search for the truth in the “Kuzari” is inspired by a dream. In the Torah itself, there are examples of significant dreams, and prophecy itself is most often transmitted (except in the case of Moshe) through dreamlike states.
Questions and Points of Discussion
In Rebbe Nachman’s story, what do you think the treasure symbolizes?
What is the significance of the Peasant’s finding the treasure in his very own house?
There can be many types of treasure that a person can have – name some of them.
A nation can also have national treasures. For example, some lands are rich in coal, or oil, or abundant wildlife like in Africa. What are some of the treasures of Am Yisrael?
What is the role of the policeman in the story?
Have there been people in your own life who helped you to learn new things about life and discover more about yourself? Give an example.
What is the purpose of the dream in the story? Have you ever had an important or meaningful dream? There are some famous dreams in the Torah – can you name them?
MATTER OF TRUST
Content and Themes
The King in this story insists that with all of his wealth, fame, and power, he has a life free of worries, yet he worries lest someone may have less worries than he has. Thus, we see that he really does have worries, and that, even though he has all of the “good things” in life, he doesn’t have the greatest treasure of all – happiness. Through the events of the story, Rebbe Nachman shows us that material security and honor are not the source of happiness. Sensing that something is missing in his life, the King searches for the key to fill up his inner unrest. Through his encounters with the Fixer, he discovers that the secret of happiness, and true fulfillment in life, comes with Emunah (faith) and Bitachon (trust) in Hashem.
In contrast to the King, the Fixer lives a very simple life. Instead of a castle, he lives in a cave (in the original story, he lives in a broken down, wooden shack whose roof has collapsed and is almost under the ground.) He lives a simple life, working for his daily needs, happy with what he has, trusting in Hashem and not worrying about the future. In contrast to the King who has great honor, riches, and fame, the Fixer is humble. He doesn’t have grand ambitions. If something goes wrong in his life, or if he encounters a problem, as when the King keeps taking away his means of a livelihood, he doesn’t worry or fall into despair. Rather, he adjusts to the situation, and optimistically seeks a solution. He doesn’t crave after honor or riches. He just seeks to have enough for his nightly meal. In this way, he always manages to achieve his goal of staying happy and serving Hashem with joy.
Once again, in this story, in the example of the unhappy King, we find the recurring theme that a person can’t free himself from his personal prison (the King’s inner unhappiness and unrest) without the help of a teacher or guide.
Questions and Points of Discussion
What is the source of the King’s unhappiness? Even though he had every material possession, he worried. Why? If a person rests identity and happiness on material possessions and things like honor and fame, if he loses these things, he has nothing. If a fire burns down his house, or if he loses his position of authority and power, he feels shattered. But a person who is humble and content with his lot, like the Fixer, if he should lose what he has, he still has his faith in Hashem. For him, his joy in being the son of the King is unaffected, since it is not based on external things that can be taken away.
The Fixer likes to play music. How is music connected to joy? Can you think of someone in the Torah who liked to play music and used music to experience joy?
Joy is not only a feeling – it is a commandment of the Torah. We are told in Tehillim to “serve Hashem with joy.” What verse in the Torah teaches us that we are commanded to serve Hashem with joy? Like every other commandment, being happy is something we have to work at, not just an abstract feeling. What are some things that people can do to make themselves happy? What kind of things have fleeting happiness, and what things lead to happiness that lasts?
The Sages teaches: “Who is rich? He who is content with his lot.” What does it mean to be content with one’s lot? How is this true with the Fixer? What do you think is the Fixer’s goal in life? How does he achieve it? Why is he content to work only as much as he needs to earn enough for his dinner? Why doesn’t he work longer so he can afford a nicer house instead of living in a cave (or the fallen down shack of the original story)?
The Fixer lives his life focused on the present. He doesn’t worry what will be in the future, nor dwell on the past. When the King asks him, “Don’t you worry that you won’t have food for the rest of the week?” what does the Fixer answer? The King has a difficult time understanding the Fixer’s answer. Why?
Rabbi Akiva also had trust in Hashem. Like his teacher, Eish Gamzu, he was wont to say, “Everything that Hashem does is for the good.” How can it be that everything is for the good, when sometimes bad things happen to people? For instance, in the famous story of Rabbi Akiva, when he wasn’t allowed to spend a night in the town, and his candle burned out by the roadside, and his donkey and chicken were killed, how were all of these things for the good?
When everything goes right for a person, it is easy to have faith. Real faith means continuing to have faith and trust in Hashem, even when things go wrong. Tests of faith can be very difficult. Like with the commandment to be happy, faith is not just a feeling, but something requiring effort and work. How does this apply to the Fixer? Name some other examples from the Torah of people who had their faith tested. What are the purpose of tests like these? For example, the test of Avraham and the Akedat Yitzhak (Sacrifice if Isaac). And the tests of Am Yisrael in the wilderness. How was the Fixer tested and how did he meet each trial?
What was the test of the Manna for the Children of Israel in the wilderness? How is it like the tests of the Fixer?
At the end of Rebbe Nachman’s story, is the King happier than he was in the beginning? If so, why?
THE WORLDLY SON AND THE SIMPLETON
Content and Themes
While the stories of Rebbe Nachman are beyond time and place, it is helpful to remember the era in which this story was told. For hundreds of years, the Jews in the Exile, wandering from place to place, living in ghettos and shteitls, generally cut off from the gentile world around them. But with the advent of the modern era, some 300 years ago, with is spirit of enlightenment, nationalism, and personal freedom, many Jews abandoned Jewish tradition and life in the ghetto, and set out to find a new identity in the wider world around them, with its secular values and norms. This immersion into foreign cultures, with philosophies and lifestyles alien to Judaism, is pictured in the character of the Worldly Son in Rebbe Nachman’s story. He sets off to learn about the different cultures and philosophies of the world and ends up denying the existing of Hashem – the King. The Simpleton, on the other hand, represents the traditional Jew, who clings to a steadfast belief in Hashem, happy with his lot, with no need or desire to taste other ways and cultures.
Needless to say, this story has meaning for us today. The choice of the Worldly Son to turn his back on his past, and to seek fame and fortune in foreign lands and cultures, adapting values alien to Judaism, characterizes a large segment of the Jewish People. Obviously, Rebbe Nachman has structured the story to show the tragedy of this so-called “enlightened” path. The Worldly Son is not a happy person. In the name of intellectual pursuit and wisdom, he searches after a perfection which he can never achieve, since there is no perfection in an imperfect world. Seeing the shortcomings in everything and everyone, he falls into isolation and depression. Seeing the faults in everything he does, he can find no satisfaction or rest. Finally, he comes to reject everything – even the existence of G-d.
The Simpleton is just the opposite. He is humble and happy with his lot. He enjoys the simple things he has in life, and enjoys the work of his hands, not demanding perfection. He serves Hashem in joy, without intellectual endeavor. His goal in life is to be happy. Unlike his childhood friend, the Simpleton finds his personal happiness and worth in his relationship with Hashem, and not in the eyes of others, not evaluating himself through what other people think of him, or through his achievements or brilliance. Ironically, in the story, his simplicity and joy in the service of Hashem leads him to greatness and leadership, while the “enlightened” path of the Worldly Son leads him to be trapped in the swamp of his own intellectual reasoning and logic, which prevents him from seeing, and believing in, anything which he cannot intellectually fathom or see. To Rebbe Nachman, the simplicity of the Simpleton is the path to wisdom, whereas the Worldly Son’s compulsive search after wisdom turns him into a fool. Rebbe Nachman teaches, in the events of the story, that a person who chooses to figure out all of the world’s contradictions and mysteries through logical reasoning and intellectual endeavor will sink into unending doubts and never-ending questions, just as the Worldly Son is mired in quicksand at the end of the story.
Thus, in addition to portraying two different character types (the seeker after more and more knowledge versus the person of simple belief), this story portrays two different approaches to Jewish thought and understanding: the path of active intellectual inquiry, philosophical investigation, and research; as opposed to the calm acceptance of things as they are. Clearly, to Rebbe Nachman, the first approach possesses dangers which can lead its advocates to a state of constant unrest and lack of fulfillment, as well as to doubt and heresy. Therefore, Rebbe Nachman advocates the way of the Simpleton, to accept things happily for what they are, without intellectual inquiry and analysis. Needless to say, Rebbe Nachman himself, and his foremost student, Rebbe Natan, who wrote down the stories which he heard from his teacher, possessed keen, inquiring minds, and delved into the broadest and deepest levels of Torah, but this great expansion of wisdom is something that can only be built upon a firm foundation of simplicity, as with the Simpleton whose simplicity led him to true wisdom and grandeur.
It should be noted that the simplicity of the Simpleton isn’t stupidity. He has a sound and practical understanding of the world, and even a deep and natural wisdom, as seen in his disdain of competition and jealousy, in his unwillingness to judge himself by what other people think of him, and through his sensitivity to the plight of his unhappy friend who he sees trapped in the pitfalls of egoism and human reasoning.
In this story, the King is obviously a metaphor for the King of the Universe. In the story, the King summons the Worldly Son and the Simpleton to come to the palace. In life, Hashem calls to man and summons him to come to Him. But he doesn’t force him – He gives man free choice. This is made clear in the Torah. Philosophers, however, as the “Kuzari” points out, maintain that, if there be a Creator, who is above and removed from everything earthly, then He certainly has no connection or interest in this world. This is the conclusion that the Worldly Son arrives at in his search after wisdom. The Simpleton stands in sharp contrast. It is precisely his simplicity which allows him to accept the seemingly illogical idea that a supreme and exalted Creator of the Universe exists and yet desires interaction with His Creation.
When the Simpleton receives the invitation from the King, he sets off immediately. The Worldly Son, in contrast, procrastinates and ends up never going. Rebbe Nachman implies that this is true in serving Hashem. When a person seeks to serve Hashem, physical lusts and opposing spiritual forces, pull at him to keep him back from his goal. The person must be strong and set off immediately, in the same haste with which the Children of Israel left Egypt, as if without thinking, and without over-analysis and doubts, in order to achieve the goal. In this light, our Sages advise, when the opportunity to do a mitzvah arises, don’t allow the moment to sour – “Don’t let the dough of the matzah (read: mitzvah) to turn into chametz.”
In this story as well, the Tzaddik plays a central role. When the Worldly Son has imprisoned himself in the quicksand of his never-ending doubts and convoluted rationalizations, only the Tzaddik, the Master of Prayer, can save him, by making him see, through a miracle, that there indeed exists a Higher Reality and Power which his physical eyes and senses can’t grasp, and, through this, he comes to finally admit that yes, there is a King.
Ultimately, the Worldly Son discovers that there is a King. For the Master of Prayer, this revelation in not a surprise. The Jewish soul exists in the most ardent denier of G-d, always believing in His existence. In fact, it is this constant, deep, inner belief which the heretic tries to uproot with his blasphemy and stubborn heresy, giving him no rest. And just as the Worldly Son finds Hashem, so too will Am Yisrael, in its entirety, return to Hashem with a full and eager heart.
Questions and Points of Discussion
The great intellectual achievements of the Worldly Son lead him to arrogance. Our Sages warn us of the dangers of pride. What is so bad about it?
Rebbe Nachman seems to be against intellectual inquiry to an extreme. Similarly, King Shlomo said, “The more knowledge, the more pain.” How are we to understand this? For example, knowledge which leads to a new cure in medicine can lessen pain. There is nothing negative in this. What is your feeling? Is all intellectual inquiry dangerous as the story portrays? What type of intellectual inquiry do you think that Rebbe Nachman is talking about?
The story praises the virtues of simplicity. How would you define this attribute. Give examples from the story.
To the Simpleton, water tastes like wine, and bread like bean soup or tasty meat, or whatever he desires. Is this really possible, or merely a literary invention to emphasize the Simpleton’s contentment with what he has. Can you think of an example from the Torah which resembles this? (the Manna).
Overnight, the Simpleton, a simple shoemaker, becomes prime minister of the land. Is this just another literary exaggeration, or it something like this possible? Can you think of a similar situation in the Torah? (Yosef’s rise to power). The Simpleton tells the Worldly Son that Hashem can do anything He wills. Can you think of examples of this from life?
On a more national level, this story can also be a metaphor for two different camps in Am Yisrael, the secular and the religious, a division which appeared in the era that Rebbe Nachman lived in. All Jews, whether they be religious or secular are like brothers. In our essence, because we are all a part of the same Jewish Nation, we are like the two childhood friends in the story, like brothers, who grew up together and went in different ways. Does this division exist amongst the Jewish People today. Is it a healthy phenomenon, or does it cause problems? Try to explain. What can be done to heal the rift?
What do you think is the metaphorical meaning of the king sending for the Worldly Son and the Simpleton? In this story, the king is clearly a metaphor for Hashem. How is this suggested in the story itself? How do the different reactions of the Worldly Son and the Simpleton to the king’s invitation express their different characters?
When the Simpleton receives the invitation from the King, he sets off immediately. In contrast, the Worldly Son procrastinates. Not only does he not heed the King’s invitation, in his analysis of the situation, he comes to the conclusion that there is no King at all. What are the dangers of procrastination? What can happen if a person doesn’t act on something when it comes to his hand?
The Simpleton proves to be a wise and successful prime minister. What are the keys to his success?
Why do you think that only a miracle can save the Worldly Son and show him the truth? We have seen that there are a lot of metaphors in this story. What about the swamp of boiling water? What does this represent?
What are miracles? What role do they play in the Torah? In life? Do you know of anyone who experienced a miracle? What was the effect on him or on her? Do you think that a person can only believe in Hashem if he experiences a miracle, like in the case of the Worldly Son? What other ways can a person develop strong faith and a knowledge of G-d?
THE WORLDLY SON AND THE SIMPLETON
(Further understandings based on the book, “In the Garden of Wisdom,” by Rabbi Shalom Arush)
SHORTCOMINGS ARE REALLY PLUSES
In contrast to the great intelligence and learning capabilities of the Worldly Son (the Chacham), the Simpleton (Tam) is described as being a slow learner and not very adept at his craft. However, these seeming shortcomings can also be seen in a positive light. For instance, they save the Simpleton from the arrogance and conceit which lead the Worldly Son to his downfall. Rabbi Nachman teaches that a person has to appreciate his shortcomings – otherwise he is always unhappy. He must understand and believe that Hashem created him with his shortcomings and certainly they are all for his best.
If a person as simple as the Simpleton is always happy, then everyone can be happy. He doesn’t look for happiness in external things. Even though he has shortcomings and must work hard for a living, he is filled with joy. The secret to happiness in faith in Hashem and the understanding that everything is for the good. Hashem is good and acts with goodness toward His creations. If bad things seem to happen, it is because we don’t see the total picture, and because our limited human reasoning cannot fathom the ways of Hashem which are beyond human thought. The Simpleton accepts things happily without viewing things through critical analysis. In contrast, the Worldly Son tries to explain everything through his own logic and reasoning. In his conceit, he makes himself the “king” and rejects the kingship of Hashem.
HAPPY WITH ONE’S LOT
Being happy with one’s portion in life means being happy with whatever Hashem decrees for you – the obviously good things, the shortcomings, even with difficulties – with the deep understanding that everything is for the best. Happiness and success are not to be measured according to the standards of Western culture and the values of consumerism and capitalism, in terms of material success and achievement. True happiness and success comes in cleaving to Hashem at all times.
Knowing that whatever befalls him is for the best, the Simpleton can be happy each moment, in the present, and not just in the future when his situation will be improved – as opposed to the unsatisfied way that most people live, in hopes that things will get better, or that they will achieve some distant goal, or be happy only when they receive their paycheck at the end of the week. Because his faith is so strong, the Simpleton doesn’t feel like he is missing anything at all. He trusts that he has exactly what Hashem wants him to have, so he always feels complete. This is what King David means when he says, "Hashem is my shepherd – I shall not lack in anything,” (Psalm 23).
Because he recognizes the existence of a King who takes an active role in providing for he needs, the Simpleton is humble, and thus he can enjoy the simplest of things. In contrast, the Worldly Son, who is haughty and refuses to recognize the King, he can’t be happy with even the greatest things.
The Simpleton isn’t stupid. He is aware of his shortcomings, his slowness in learning, his lack of talent and expertise, but he is still happy because he trusts that Hashem has made him this way, and that it is through these shortcomings that he is to serve Hashem. He knows that if this is the test and the task that Hashem has given him, it is surely for his good.
Rabbi Arush explains this important message from the life of Rabbi Akiva (Nederim 50A). After their marriage, Rabbi Akiva and his wife, Rachel, were very poor. They didn’t even have blankets to warm themselves at night, so they covered themselves with straw. Seeing their situation, Hashem sent Eliahu, the Prophet, to them in the disguise of a simple beggar. He told then that he had no money even to buy straw to use as a mattress for his wife who just gave birth. Seeing that this person had even less than they had, Rabbi Akiva gave him their straw. Now, you would think that to help Rabbi Akiva, Hashem would send Eliahu HaNavi with a precious gem to bestow upon the poor couple to save them from their poverty. But no – the very opposite! Hashem gave them a chance to do a noble act of charity and kindness, even if it made their lack of material comfort even worse. But, in his ultimate wisdom, Hashem knew that precisely this lack of every material comfort, and this test of their kindness, were the very things that would make the peasant Akiva into the great Rabbi Akiva. So even this extreme lack of the most basic material needs were for Rabbi Akiva’s betterment. And truly, it is Rabbi Akiva who teaches us that everything that Hashem does is for the good (Berachot 60B).
WHY WORRY? BE HAPPY!
Like the Fixer in the story, “Matter of Trust,” the Simpleton’s faith frees him from worry, fear of the future, and from being dependent on others, for he knows that it is Hashem who brings things to pass, and that whatever happens is surely for the best. He is even happy with the triangular shoes that he fashions, and not concerned that other shoemakers make far more beautiful shoes and receive more money than he does. Because of his faith, he understands that a man is not judged on the perfection of his deeds but on the effort he exerts. If Hashem expected him to make perfect shoes, He would have given him greater skills. He doesn’t judge himself in comparison to others. As he tells his wife, “That is there doing, and this is mine.” The Simpleton works as hard as he can is pleased with the result. This trait is the very opposite of the Worldly Son who demands perfection in everything and is thus always miserable, for in this world, perfection is impossible.
Because of his limitations, the Simpleton acquires real humility. It is this training in humility which saves him from the pitfalls of honor and pride when he is elevated to become minister over the country. As King Solomon said, “Before a fall comes haughtiness; and before honor comes humility,” (Proverbs, 18). Thus, it turns out that what seemed to be a shortcoming in his youth was the very thing the Simpleton needed to prepare himself for the grandeur he was later to attain. Thus he was saved from the dangers of pride, and he could rule the kingdom with honesty and true concern for others.
Certainly, a person should strive to improve himself, develop his capabilities and progress. But if a person tries and tries, yet doesn’t advance as he believes he should, then he shouldn’t dwell on his shortcomings, and give way to depression. This derives from the evil trait of pride, because the person feels he should be better, rather than accepting that Hashem has brought things about for his own good. Excessive self-criticism, stemming from pride and comparing himself to others, leaves such a person unhappy and unfulfilled, and resentful toward others. The solution is, after trying as hard as one can, to accept one’s position and be happy, knowing that it is the will of Hashem that things turned out the way they did – all for the best – even though a person may not be able to see the whole picture at that particular moment. Rebbe Nachman said that the awkward-looking, triangular shoes which the Simpleton fashioned are a metaphor for serving Hashem. If a person tries as hard as he can in serving Hashem, and his prayers and Torah learning come out looking like awkward “triangular shoes”, then he should be happy, knowing that he tried his best and that the outcome of his efforts is the will of Hashem – all for his ultimate best. This is the way to happiness. Otherwise, he will be disheartened with his shortcomings, believing that he is at fault, and that he is the cause of things and not Hashem.
Another important point is worth noting. The Simpleton marries early in life. Sharing life with another person gives strength, builds a sense of responsibility, and connects a person with others in a deep and meaningful manner. In contrast, the Worldly Son never marries. He is so wrapped up in himself, there is no room for another person in his life. Our Sages teach that a man without a wife is not a whole man and that his life lacks blessing. Later in the story, when the Simpleton is called to meet with the Evil One, it is the advice of his wife which saves him.