Thank you so much to Rabbi Schneur Kaplan for his wonderful speech today in Downtown Jewish Center Chabad synagogue, Fort Lauderdale.
He told the story about the boy who grew up in Israel as a chasid, but later left chasidism to work the land–he drove a tractor!
Years later, the young man rediscovers his religion and goes back to yeshiva to study, and he is excellent and surpasses many of his peers.
Eventually, he ends up in a one-on-one with the Rebbe–and he waits with baited breath for what the great Rebbe will tell him that will guide his life–will he become a great scholar, Rabbi, shaliach, or head of a Yeshiva.
Then the Rebbe speaks, and says:
“You will be a tractor driver”
The young man is shocked and goes back to studying Torah with even more determination and harder than ever.
Once again, he comes before the Rebbe, and he is anticipating what he will say.
Again, the Rebbe looks deep into his soul and says:
“You will drive a tractor!”
Sure enough, the man now understanding that he has to meet his particular fate head on, goes back to working the Holy Land and driving the tractor.
But in so doing he is able to do outreach to tens of thousands of people who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to be brought close to Hashem through Chasidism.
The message was that we are not all destined to be clones, robots, or do the same thing in life.
The Torah is our guide to serve Hashem and do what is right.
But each of us has our own mission in serving Him and we can achieve greatness and Holiness even when we drive a tractor or do whatever we do.
I am not a Rabbi, but in my own way, I try to raise my family–be a good husband, father, and prior a good son–and also to serve with integrity and a good example in my professional and educational endeavors.
It’s okay that I’m not a Chabad Rabbi doing outreach–that’s not me–although I did meet someone today from my elementary school, Manhattan Day School, that did become just that and we had a nice kiddish lunch with him and caught up together after services.
I am me–and I am okay with me.
I don’t have to be someone else–anyone else.
I can do good being me–and that is what I will try to do with each and every breath of every day.
Whether I drive a tractor (or this cool VW van with a big smiley face), we all serve our Maker. 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)