The poor guy

was always getting thrown;

and neither he nor the crowd

was particularly impressed

with how the bronco

was calling the shots.

 

He’d been warned

that with his multiple concussions

broken teeth

and sprained wrists

there’d soon have to be a limit

to his performances.

 

And then

one day out of the blue

the bronco transformed itself

into a gallant domesticated stallion

with all the harnessed power and might

of its youth.

 

The rider had simply stopped

the whips

the electric shocks

the meager meals

and had instead settled

on guiding him in a different direction.

 

One of the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings:

“When you see chamor, a donkey” – when you carefully examine your chomer (“materiality”), your body, you will see…

…”your enemy” – meaning, that your chomer hates your Divine soul that longs for G‑dliness and the spiritual, and furthermore, you will see that it is…

…”lying under its burden” placed upon it – (the body) by G‑d, namely, that it should become refined through Torah and mitzvot; but the body is lazy to fulfill them. It may then occur to you that…

…”you will refrain from helping it” – to enable it to fulfill its mission, and instead you will follow the path of mortification of the flesh to break down the body’s crass materiality. However, not in this approach will the light of Torah reside. Rather…

…”you must aid it” – purify the body, refine it, but do not break it by mortification.

– Exodus 23:5