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The Wayward Horse
The Wayward Horse

Jacob is the rope of His inheritance (32:9)

The relationship between a Jew and his G-d is like a rope: the more the Jew pulls away, the tauter the bond grows; finally, the mounting pressure causes him to rebound with an even greater force of attraction than before…

- Zvi Yair

Near Lubavitch there lived a chassid who had married off his daughter to an extremely talented Torah scholar. The proud father-in-law promised to provide for the newlyweds so that the young man could devoted himself entirely to his studies.

But after a while, the promising prodigy fell into bad company, neglected his studies, and began to veer off to decidedly unsavory pursuits. After much effort, the distraught father-in-law managed to persuade the young man to come with him to his Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch.

"Tell me," said the Rebbe to the young genius, whose new-found interests included horse racing, "what's so great about a swift horse? Let's say that it can gallop twenty verst in the time it takes the average horse to go four. But should it take a wrong turn, it will carry its rider further and further from his destination -- at five times the speed!"

"You have a point," agreed the young man. "In such a case the swiftness of the horse has become a disadvantage."

The Rebbe's next words penetrated the young man's heart: "But remember, as soon as the horse realizes that it has gone astray, it can regain the right path that much faster than his weaker brother..."

Big Deal

Not His is the corruption, but the blemish is His children's - a convoluted and twisted generation (32:5)

In the year 1790, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi entrusted his eldest son, Rabbi DovBer, with the task of serving as mentor and spiritual guide (mashpia) to the young men who studied in Li'ozna and, by means of correspondence, to those who studied in the homes of their fathers or fathers-in-law throughout Russia. At the time, Rabbi DovBer was a tender, but brilliant, sixteen years of age.

On one occasion the young mashpia said to his disciples: "A person's toil to refine his character and serve his Creator must be conducted with an inner integrity, without pretensions.

"One who engages in illusions of grandeur is fooling no one but himself. And what's the big deal about fooling a fool?"


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