Friday, July 8, 2011

The Rebbe Addresses the Children of Camp Gan Israel

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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