Stop Worrying and Living a Tranquil Life

            January 2013    
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Carrying a Heavy Load

By Larry Fine

Back in the old shtel of long gone Eastern Europe, lived a poor man by the name of Berl. Berl was not the most brilliant man in his little shtetel but he and his wife Sadie were amongst the nicest and kindest. Between the two of them, however, they barely put together enough food on their table for themselves and their three little children.

Finally Sadie told Berl that it would not do to live this way. They were always hungry and they needed to provide food for themselves and their young children. "Berl, instead of buying small amounts of flour at the local market, why don't you go into the large town and buy a large sack of flour. It is much cheaper that way and then we won't have to be so stingy with the food."
Berl agreed and with what little money he had saved, he walked from his small little shetel to the big city market. It was a pleasant morning, the sun had yet to heat up the land and the walking was easy. When he arrived in the large city he had little difficulty to find a merchant who sold him a fifty pound sack of flour at an unusually low price. This would mean a large savings in expenses for the flour.

Happy with his purchase he loaded to the sack onto his shoulders and began the long walk back to his little shtetel.

The sack was very heavy and now the hot summer sun began to heat up the land. With the heavy sack on his shoulders and the afternoon heat made his return very difficult and strained. After a few hours of slow walking as he balanced the heavy sack on this shoulder and that shoulder and his head, a horse drawn wagon came by. It was a friend from his village. He stopped and offered Berl a lift home.

"Berl, hop in the wagon and I will give you a lift home," Motel, the friend called out.

Berl wasted little time and together with the heavy sack jumped in the back of the wagon. Motel cracked the whip over the head of the horse and the wagon began to move.

As they rode on, Motel turned around to see how Berl was doing in the back of the wagon. He was surprised to see Berl sitting there with the heavy sack balanced on his shoulders.

"Berl," Motel cried out, "why do you still have the sack on your shoulders?"

"Motel, you were nice enough to give me a lift in your wagon and I know that my body weight causes your horse an extra effort to pull me. So what should I do? Should I put this heavy sack down in the wagon and cause even more strain on your horse? I will hold it on my shoulders and then it is less for your horse to pull."

How many people do you know that are like Berl?

Some people think that the more they work, the harder they work, then the more money they will make. They forget that G-d runs the world. He created all the animals and all of the people and it is His job to take care of all of our needs. True we must do enough work to justify our existence, but who will be wealthy and who will be poor is in His hands.

Similarly, there are also people who worry about all kinds of events in the world, becoming activists and trying to remake the world. Does this help? Perhaps in a very small manner, but the world is in the hands of its Creator. He runs the world according to His desires and the world does not change according to our whims.

Like our friend, Berl who thought that by carrying a heavy sack while seated in the wagon he would ease the load on the horse, so, too, there are those people who believe that by putting in a super human effort they can effect a change in the world.

It is for us to pray to G-d to make a change. Changes only come from Him and not from us.

If we were just to carry this simple message into our lives, we would live a much better life.


from the January 2013 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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