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Section: Stories   Category: Mashal
The Donkey and the Dirt

A man came to his Rebbe crying that his donkey fell into a pit and he didn't know what to do. "Why don't you lift it out with a rope", asked the Rebbe. "Because it is too heavy", answered the Chosid. "Why don't you ask some of the townspeople to help", asked the Rebbe. "They are too busy or not interested", sighed the Chosid. In that case, said the Rebbe, this is what you should do. Take a bucket and keep filling it with dirt and keep pouring it into the pit. The Chosid was a bit despondent that his Rebbe had given up on his donkey and was telling him to bury it alive, but if that is what the Rebbe said, that is what would do.

The Chosid went home and filled up an old bucket with dirt and poured it into the pit. From down below he heard the donkey let out a shrilling bray and jump up and down wildly. The sound and thought of his poor donkey made him distraught, but with no other choice, other than to listen to the Rebbe, he again filled up a bucket and the scene repeated itself. After the fourth bucketfull all was quiet and he didn't hear any noise. "My poor donkey must be buried already", sighed the Chosid. Regardless, he carried on through the afternoon pouring bucket after bucket for hours.

Suddenly towards the evening as he poured a bucket, he again heard the shrilling bray of his beloved donkey and then he heard a wild jump, and poof, in a cloud of dirt the donkey suddenly appeared on the edge of the pit! The ecstatic Chosid's happiness knew no bounds. "Tell me", said the Chosid to the donkey, "what happened"? I thought you were dead and buried hours ago when I no longer heard you making any noise!"

The donkey turned to the Chosid and explained. At first when the dirt was thrown on me it was uncomfortable and insulting, and I was furious. But then I realized that if I shake it off and pat it down, I can lift myself higher, getting closer to the entrance of the pit. So with each bucket you poured on me I slowly lifted myself. After each time I prayed that you'd throw more dirt on me so that I can get out of my dark grave.

Our initial instinct when someone heaves dirt upon us, or if life seems to go wrong, is to scream and yell and try to shake it off. But the smart donkeys among us will realize that the source of the dirt is our loving Master, and if we use it wisely we can lift ourselves up from the deep hole we dug for ourselves. But if we don't get it, and instead sulk in insult, it will very quickly turn into our burial grounds.

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