Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch (1860–1920) was once traveling with a group of chassidim. At one point, the coachman stopped at a roadside watering trough. After the horses had drunk their fill, he steered them back onto the road, cracked his whip over their backs and cried:

“Fools! Do you think that I gave you to drink so that the hay you devour should be more tasty? I gave you to drink so that you should be better able to pull the coach!”

Inside the wagon, the expression on the rebbe’s face grew serious. After a while, he said to his chassidim:

“We are all drawing the Supernal Chariot through our positive and G‑dly deeds. It is to this end that the Almighty provides us with sustenance and vitality. So, we must never lose sight of the true purpose of our material resources—that they enable us to carry out our mission in life.

“A horse needs to be reminded with the whip. But the human being should suffice with more subtle pointers as to how to order his priorities . . .”