Monday, November 28, 2016

Tehillim Chapter 4: Simcha is from HaShem


נָתַתָּה שִׂמְחָה בְלִבִּי
You put simcha in my heart

The Water Carrier

Every day the old water carrier passed by the study hall with his pails. Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov often stood outside the front door and talked with his disciples.

Whenever he saw the water carrier, he interrupted their conversation and would ask him, "Chaikel, how are you doing today?" The water carrier would usually offer a polite response, "Baruch Hashem" and continue on his way.

But one day the water carrier had a look of melancholy in his face. "Rebbe, it's nice of you to ask a poor man, but how should I feel? Not good! No! Day in and day out I carry these heavy pails. My back hurts, I am getting older, you know . . . My boots are in tatters, but I have no money for new ones. My family is large. The burden is too much. My children need food, shoes and clothes, and. . . And those new houses at the end of the town want more and more water, and they are built up on the slope of the hill, and the water is so heavy, and I am so tired, so very tired . . ." And with a sigh he picked up his pails and walked away dragging his feet, with a twisted back and bent shoulders. He did not look back.

The Baal Shem Tov said nothing.

A few days later the Baal Shem Tov again stood with his students when the water carrier passed by. "Chaikel, good to see you, how are you today?" The water carrier stood still. He beamed. "Baruch Hashem, Rebbe, I am doing fine. I have work, so I earn money to feed my family. I am blessed, because I have a large family, so many sweet children . . . I am happy that I can buy them food to eat and pay their teachers. And those new houses they recently built at the hill need a lot of water, that's extra income for me. Baruch Hashem! Thank you for asking a simple man how he is doing. Baruch Hashem, G d is good to me!"

The Baal Shem Tov smiled and blessed him with some encouraging words. The water carrier lifted his heavy buckets and went joyfully on his way.

The Baal Shem Tov then turned to his students and said, “Did you notice this phenomenon. Here we have the very same Chaikel, with his same pair of tattered boots, the same Jewish homes built on the hilltops, and his same old pails of water. Nevertheless, one day by Chaikel is not like the next. One day he can be full of complaints, depressed over his unfortunate lot, while the next day he praises the Ribbono Shel Olam for having given him the strength and the opportunity to support his family and serve his fellow man by bringing him water.

“This is what our sages have said: 'Man is judged on Rosh HaShana,' and 'Man is judged every single day.' Since a man's livelihood is determined on Rosh HaShana, our Chaikel was destined to be a water-carrier all year round. But, each day Chaikel is judged anew- if he is to work b'simcha and with love, or G-d forbid, in sorrow and bitterness.”

(Sipurei Besht)

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