For Jews and Christians, the parable of King Solomon and the baby is a famous one. Two women came to the king fighting over the same baby. They both claimed to be the baby’s mother and asked the king to be the judge. Solomon said the only fair thing to do would be to cut the baby in half. One woman agreed to the plan, but the other refused. She was horrified at the idea and said she would give the baby to the other woman in order to save the infant’s life. The wise king Solomon heard this response and knew that he had found the baby’s true mother.
The parable of Solomon and the baby is a cross-cultural story. In fact, there is an almost identical Buddhist parable. Before the Buddha became the Buddha, he lived many past lives. In one of these past lives, he was a wise sage. Two women came to the sage arguing over who was the baby’s true mother. The sage said the only fair thing to do was to play tug of war. He drew a line on the ground and told one woman to grab the baby’s head and the other to grab the baby’s feet. The women were told to pull the baby to their side of the line. The winner would get the baby. Of course, the baby screamed out, and, of course, the true mother showed her true colors when she gave up her claim on the baby in order to keep the baby from getting hurt.
Both of these parables teach the same lesson that true love means sacrifice. If we truly love someone, we sometimes need to let that person be free. Unfortunately, real life doesn’t always work that way. In recent news, a German man decided that sacrifice wasn’t his thing. After breaking up with his wife, he cut all of their possessions in half just to spite her. Four dining chairs, a sofa, a car, a computer and even an iPhone were all cut in half. “Thank you for 12 ‘beautiful years,’ Laura! You’ve really earned half,” he wrote in a message. In English, men sometimes refer to their wives as their better half. In this situation, that’s true in more ways than one!