Section: Stories   Category: Mashal
Alter Of Novhardok - Survival Of The Deer
A deer has large beautiful antlers that crown its head.  Yet you will not see them on most deer.  Why?  The Alter of Novhardok explains that when hunted, the deer escapes through the thick brush of the forest.  If it were to have antlers it would too easily get caught in the branches and it would become easy prey for the hunter pursuing it.  Therefore as soon as the deer reaches the forest, the first thing it does is get rid of its horns by smashing them against a tree.  As hard as it is for the deer to part with its crowning glory, survival is more important to the deer.

This world is a forest full of branches, with each one offering us tantalizing pleasures.  We are constantly hunted by the Yetzer Hara.  We run around the world trying to elude his hot pursuit.  If we get stuck in the branches and indulge in Olam HaZeh, the Yetzer Hara will quickly catch up with us.  Yet we have one problem, our horns.  As long as we have horns we will not be able run very far without getting caught in the branches of the worlds pleasures.  The horns are our middos and ta'avos.  If we don't shed them, we don't stand a chance.  Only those who smash their bad middos can scamper free.