"Today, there must not be among you any man, woman, family or tribe, whose heart strays from G‑d, and who goes and worships the gods of those nations. There must not be among you a root which is rotten at its source. When [such a person] hears the words of this dread curse, he may rationalize and say, 'I will have peace, even if I do as I see fit.' Let me add some moisture [says G‑d] to this dry [practice]!" (Deut. 29:17-18)

On the phrase "…let me add some moisture…", G‑d is saying, "Even though I had previously overlooked them, I am planning to increase retribution because of the unintentional transgressions you have done until now. Now I must count them as intentional sins and I will exact my punishment." "Moisture" refers to inadvertent sins which a person performs without consciousness, like one intoxicated in a drunken stupor. "Dry" refers to intentional transgressions done with desire. (Rashi)

I heard a profound parable from my master, the Baal Shem Tov, which explains this verse. Once there was a king who had three beloved friends. But there were those in the king's court who were jealous of the three friends and their closeness to the king. They convinced the king that his three friends didn't really love him as much as he thought. So the king resolved to test their love. He commanded each of them to select one of the dogs in the king's courtyard and take care of it. The first friend was very wise, and instead of feeding and grooming the dog he took the money that would have been required for the dog's upkeep and had a beautiful crown fashioned for the king. The second friend only gave the dog what was necessary for its survival, as long as it didn't die. The third took care of the dog as if it was indeed part of the royal family and spared no expense on it's food and grooming. When the king saw the conduct of the third friend, he set the dog on the one who fed him excessively, and the love of the friend who made the crown was greatly exalted. The Tzaddik overwhelms the power of the Evil Inclination and subjugates it into the service of G‑d….

Rebbe Yitzchak Yehudah of Kamarno deciphered the mystery of the parable in his commentary on the Pentateuch, Heichal Bracha. (parashat Bechukotai) The king is, of course, the Creator of the World. The three friends represent three types of Jews, the Tzaddik, the Benoni [average person] and a Rasha [wicked person]. The dog is the Evil Inclination and one's physical existence. The King is examining his friends to learn what their priorities are in the world and how they relate to the Evil Inclination. The King's treasury is at their disposal since, "The earth is G‑d's and all that fills it." (Psalms 24)

The first friend, the Tzaddik conducts himself in worldly physical affairs with the utmost concern and most concentrated effort to further the unity of G‑d's holy name in the world. The Tzaddik, through his every action places another gem in a magnificent crown being prepared for the King. It is beyond the realm of his reality to waste the wealth of the King on the maintenance of a dog. To whatever the Tzaddik puts his attention is for the glory of the King alone. The Tzaddik overwhelms the power of the Evil Inclination and subjugates it into the service of G‑d.

When one gives in to one's own lusts and physical desires, one is...consumed by them….

The second friend of the King feeds his dog only subsistence fare, just the bare minimum to keep it alive. Although the second friend also shows his true love for the King by not squandering the wealth of the palace, he is not on the same level as the first friend. He is also a type of Tzaddik whose concern is to keep the Evil Inclination thoroughly in check via numerous fasts and the denial of other physical pleasures. He partakes of the world only in order to maintain his physical existence, yet his actions don't herald the glory of the King.

The third friend, certain that he is doing the will of the King, spares no expense to keep the dog meticulously groomed and to pamper it with special foods. He doesn't care about the King, and he doesn't really even care about himself. So the King sets the dog upon the third friend, and he is forever removed from any more intimate contact with the King. When one gives in to one's own lusts and physical desires, one is in the end consumed by them.

A Jew is bidden to heed and internalize G‑d's message and to utilize the best of ones abilities to subdue the Evil Inclination and to return to G‑d. When one comes under the seduction of the Evil Inclination and says, "I will have peace, even if I do as I see fit," he becomes mired in an abyss of vice and gluttony from which escape is next to impossible. From this, no glory comes to the King.

[Based on Ben Porat Yosef by Rabbi Yaacov Yosef of Polnoye, as rendered in Sefer Baal Shem Tov; http://www.nishmas.org/htmldocs/archtabl.htm]