Greasing the Wheels

The following is not my work but one of the stories of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev, told by Rabbi Shalom Arush.

I have read this before but this reading comes from Rabbi Shalom Arush’s book, The Garden of Wisdom A Practical Guide to Happiness in Life pgs. 97-98

The truth found with in this story is worthy to pondered and reflected upon.


A person once came to Rebbe Nachman requesting a blessing for ample livelihood. Rebbe Nachman answered with the following parable:

Once, a village textile merchant made his periodic trip to his wholesale supplier in a big city to purchase rolls of fabric. After he loaded his purchase on his wagon, the wagon couldn’t move properly because of the heavy weight it carried. The village merchant returned to his supplier and asked, “Would you possibly have some axle grease so I can grease my wheels?” the supplier nodded with a smile, offering the merchant all the grease he needed. The wagon then moved smoothly and swiftly, and the wheels no longer squeaked.

In the middle of his journey home, the merchant encountered a neighbor, a peddler with his own horse and wagon. The neighbor commented, “I saw from afar how swiftly your wagon moves. It’s an old wagon just like mine – what’s your secret?”

“No secret,” answered the merchant. “Simply, my supplier in the big city gave me some excellent grease for my wheels.”

The peddler didn’t think twice and made a beeline to the wholesale fabric supplier in the big city. He asked for some wheel grease. The supplier scoffed, “I sell wholesale rolls of fabric – I’m not a grease dealer! You can’t purchase wheel grease here!”

The peddler protested: “Then why did you give wheel grease to my friend the textile merchant?”

“That’s different,” laughed the wholesale, “He buys from me all the time. He needed the wheel grease in order to get home and sell what he bought from m, so I made sure he got the grease. But I don’t keep grease in stock, and I certainly don’t give grease to people that don’t do business with me.”

Rebbe Nachman then explained to the person that asked him for a livelihood, “My disciples devote their lives to Torah and prayer. They can’t serve Hashem if they and their families have nothing to eat, so I bless them with livelihood. But in your case, since all you are interested in is a livelihood and you don’t devote youself to torah study and prayer, I’m not a grease dealer!” (Siach Sarfei Kodesh, 5:48)

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