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The Wagon Driver’s Lesson

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The Wagon Driver’s Lesson

An address to the children of Camp Gan Israel of New York: Camp ‘Gan Israel’ is named after Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement – for through studying and living by his teachings, the Baal Shem Tov lives on.
Lubavitcher Rebbe, Lesson from Everything, Baal Shem Tov, Summer Camp
The Wagon Driver’s Lesson
Disc 90, Program 359

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Camp ‘Gan Israel’ is named after Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement – for through studying and living by his teachings, the Baal Shem Tov lives on.

A teaching of the Baal Shem Tov: “How can the Mishna say, ‘Who is wise? He who learns from every person,’ if not everyone you meet is a proper role model? The answer: When you meet a righteous person, learn from him how to act properly. And when you observe someone who is not righteous, learn from him how not to act.”

One time, a wagon got stuck in the mud, and the non-Jewish driver poked his head into the Baal Shem Tov’s synagogue, asking his disciples for help to pull the wagon out. The disciples replied: “We’re sorry, but we aren’t strong enough to lift it.” The man replied: “You can, but you don’t want to.” The Baal Shem Tov later explained the man’s words as a fundamental lesson: Don’t convince yourself that you aren’t strong enough. G-d grants the strength to achieve all good things – and if you truly want it, you will succeed.

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