What Are You Willing To Accept In Your Life? A Scrawny Cow?

I have been amazed these past few weeks how people have been using the Holidays as a reason or excuse to put off doing what they say they really want to do in their life.

Dare to believe in yourselfMaking any kind of change in our life always comes down to facing our fears and being willing to leave our comfort zone.

In honor of Hannukah, I wanted to share a simple story that illustrates this point. It is called Scrawny Cow.

Even if you have read it before, read it again and let me know in the comments below where you are still accepting less in your life to stay safe…

Once upon a time, there lived a very poor man, Joseph and his wife, Rebecca. They lived in little more than a shack. Their only prized possession was a scrawny cow, from which they fed themselves and earned a meager living.

One day, Joseph heard a knock on the door and when he opened it, standing before him was the man known as the greatest Kabbalist or Rabbi in the world, the Baal Shem Tov. He was accompanied by a few students, who stood respectfully behind him.

Baal Shem Tov“We’ve been traveling all day and it is almost sundown,” said the Baal Shem Tov. “May we join you for the evening meal?”

“Of course, of course,” said Joseph, standing aside as the master and his students entered the shack. Rebecca, who was standing at the stove, was astonished, and even a bit frightened, by the sudden appearance of the great Rabbi.

The Baal Shem Tov said glancing around, “My students and I are very hungry after our travels. We’d like some fine cuts of meat, some fresh vegetables, and of course some good wine. You can accommodate us, can’t you?”

Joseph hesitated, but then nodded enthusiastically. “Oh yes” he said. “This is a great honor for us and we want to give you exactly what you desire. Let me just speak with my wife for a moment….”

He and Rebecca huddle in a corner of the room. “What are we going to do?” Rebecca asked anxiously. “How are we going to give these men what they want? We have no meat or fresh vegetables, and the wine we drink isn’t at all worthy of the Baal Shem Tov!”

Joseph thought for a moment. Then said, “There’s only one thing to do. I’ll sell the cow to buy food.” And before his wife could protest, he hurried out the door.

Within the hour, Joseph returned with supplies for exactly the sort of meal the Baal Shem Tov had described. As the great Rabbi began to eat, Joseph and Rebecca were astonished at how much he ate and drank. As soon as he finished one plate, he immediately called for more. It was as if he intended to eat the poor couple out of house —and that was exactly what was happening!

After eating the very last morsel, the Baal Shem Tov pushed back his chair and said, “That was delicious! Thank you very much. Now we will be on our way.” And in a flash, he and his students were gone just as suddenly as they had arrived.

”What are we going to do?” cried Rebecca. “Now we really have nothing, not even our scrawny cow! We’re going to starve!”

Unable to bear his wife weeping, Joseph stumbled out into the cold night, with no real idea of where to go. How was he going to solve this terrible dilemma?

Then, without thinking, he closed his eyes, fell to his knees and began to pray. From the bottom of his heart he prayed for all the things he had never had—not just for himself, but for his long-suffering wife as well.

Just then, Joseph heard a rustling in the brushes behind him and saw an old man stagger into the clearing. He was well dressed, but disheveled and had obviously been drinking. When he caught sight of Joseph, his eyes shone with happiness.

“I’m so glad your here,” said the old man. “I don’t want to die alone.  “Die?” asked Joseph, getting to his feet. “You’re not going to die. You’ve just had a bit too much to drink.”

But as Joseph reached out to steady the old man, he sank to the ground. As Joseph knelt beside him, the man told a painfully sad story. He was very wealthy, but his money was the only thing his family cared about. They were, like vultures, just waiting for him to die so they could get their hands on his fortune.

“But they’re in for a surprise,” said the old man. “They don’t know that I’ve buried the treasure right here in this forest. They’ll get nothing, because they deserve nothing!” “I’m sorry this has happened to you,” Joseph replied. “It’s cold out here, and you need a warm place to rest.”

The old man shook his head and said, “It’s too late for that. You’ve been so kind to me. That hasn’t happened in many years, so I will repay your kindness. Here…. Look…”

But as he reached into the pocket of his coat, he began coughing. Then, just as suddenly, he fell silent and his eyes closed. Joseph quickly bent to help him, but sure enough, the man was dead.

willingness to accept abundanceNow Joseph felt more frightened and confused than ever. Yet as he stared at the body beside him, he saw that before the old man died, he had withdrawn a piece of paper from his pocket. Joseph unfolded it and to his amazement, it was a map.

He followed the map and discovered a buried treasure beyond his wildest imagination!

Five years passed. One day the Baal Shem Tov and his students were again on the road when a fine carriage passed headed in the other direction. As the students looked into the carriage, they were amazed to see the poor man who had struggled to provide them with dinner years before. Sitting beside him was his wife, and they both looked not only as if they were wealthy, but as if they didn’t have a care in the world!

When the students turned to the Rabbi for some explanation, the Baal Shem Tov only smiled calmly, as if this is what he had expected all along. “You see,” he said to the students, “it was Joseph’s destiny to be joyful and fulfilled, but he never thought to ask for everything that was really meant for him. He would have been content to spend the rest of his life with his one scrawny cow. That’s why I had to help him get rid of it.”

In this tale, I believe the scrawny cow is a metaphor for the life we are willing to accept, while the abundance is the gift that becomes ours when we dare to ask.

In the comments below tell me where you are accepting only a scrawny cow or have you dared to ask for more????


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