The Baal Shem Tov once traveled with a group of his disciples to a distant village where there lived a certain parush (ascetic) who was constantly engaged in Torah study, prayer, and other divine service, to the exclusion of everything else. He was totally indifferent to worldly affairs. Whenever he uttered any words of Torah, he added, "So I received it from Elijah the Prophet." He was also an exceptional teacher who possessed a remarkable ability to clarify a complex Torah topic for anyone to whom he spoke, even the simplest person. Who could be more exalted?
Our Rabbis taught: Sufficient for his need [implies] you are commanded to maintain him, but you are not commanded to make him rich; in that which he wants [includes] even a horse to ride upon and a slave to run before him. It was related about Hillel the Elder that he bought for a certain poor man who was of a good family a horse to ride upon and a slave to run before him. On one occasion he could not find a slave to run before him, so he himself ran before him for three miles. --Talmud, Ketubot 67b
Man’s self-adoration is the strongest love that God implanted within [him]. -- R. Mendel
When I was still in high school, I started smoking a pipe. It was messy and inconvenient, especially since I had to hide all the paraphernalia from my mother and her keen sense of smell. But pipe smoking seemed really cool compared to the bland habits of the bourgeoisie, and a number of my friends took it up.