The following was sent to us by a friend with a sense of humor, and good aim


How I Apprenticed Myself to a Peasant
from For the Sake of Heaven by Martin Buber

The following observation was given in a hassidic school.

After I left Apt and had set out on my journeying, I came upon a huge hay wagon which had been overturned and blocked the road diagonally. The peasant who stood beside it called out to me, begging me help him lift up the wagon. I looked at the wagon. Truly, my arms are not without strength and the peasant seemed quite a man, too. But how were two men to lift up that enormous weight? 'I cannot do it,' I said. The other snarled at me. 'You can,' he cried, 'but you're not willing.'

That struck me to the heart. We had some boards; we inserted them under the wagon and used all our strength in this act of leverage. The wagon stirred and rose and stood. We piled the hay on it again. The peasant passed his hand over the sides of the oxen who still trembled and panted. They began to draw.

'Let me walk along with you awhile,' I said. 'Come right along, brother,' he answered. We trod along together. 'I would like to ask you something,' I said. 'Ask all you like, brother,' he answered.

'How did you happen to think,' I asked him, 'that I was unwilling to help?'

'I thought of that,' he replied, 'because you said you could not help. No one knows whether he can do a thing until he has tried it.'

'But how did you happen to think,' I questioned him again, 'that I could do this thing?'

'Oh that,' he answered, 'that just popped into my mind.'

'What do you mean by that?'

'Ah, brother,' he said, 'what an insistent fellow you are. Very well, it popped into my mind, because you had been sent my way.'

'You will end by telling me that your wagon was upset in order that I might help you!'

'Well of course, brother, what else?'"


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