Pushcart Prophet


Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov was teaching his disciples when they were disturbed by a knock on the shutter. A peasant, hauling a cart of tools, peered through the window. “Need any fixing?” he cried. “Any shaky tables, broken chairs? A loose brick in the hearth, perhaps?”

“No, no,” came the impatient reply from within, where all were eager to get on with the interrupted lesson. “Everything is in perfect condition. There’s no need for any repairs.”’

“Indeed? Nothing to repair?” called the peasant. “That simply cannot be. Look well, and you’re sure to find something that needs fixing!”

Rabbi Israel then addressed his students: “Many times have I taught you that nothing is by chance in G-d’s world; that every event and experience is purposeful, that everything one sees or hears is a lesson for one’s service of the Almighty. Think of the words we just heard from this simple peasant. How profoundly relevant they are to each and every one of us! Is everything really in perfect condition? At times it might seem so; but if one truly searches his heart and evaluates his life, is he not sure to find something that requires repair…?”

Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe by Yanki Tauber


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