It was one of those days—long, tiring, unsatisfying. We had been on the road since early morning, visiting several homes and offices in Alamogordo, New Mexico, but we were consistently finding that either people weren’t home, or we had the wrong addresses. And it seemed that those who were home, at the correct address, went running for cover at the sight of two rabbinical students!

So, we decided to take a short break to recharge.

As you might expect, there aren’t many kosher options in Alamogordo, so we headed to Albertson’s, a local supermarket. In the parking lot, we noticed a man mounted on his Harley, and for some inexplicable reason decided to ask him if he was Jewish. Imagine our surprise when he replied that he was—in fact he was raised on Manhattan’s Lower East Side!

It was almost time for our next appointment, and we wanted to offer our new friend, Harry, the opportunity to do a mitzvah. We retrieved our tefillin from the car. Harry knew exactly what they were and graciously agreed to our request. We continued chatting for a bit longer and asked if we could visit him at his home later that evening, to spend some more time with him. Once again, Harry agreed.

On a high that no amount of caffeine or sugar could have generated, we drove off to our next meeting, which went smoothly, thank G‑d.

When we arrived at his home later that evening, Harry greeted us like old friends, and we sat out on his patio for quite a while. Then, with his permission, we began checking his mezuzahs, beginning with the one at the entrance to his home. Except there wasn’t really much to examine—the case was completely empty! This scene repeated itself as we took down all the mezuzahs inside his home. Luckily, our roving rabbi toolbox is stocked with kosher, brand new mezuzahs, and we quickly affixed a scroll in each case under Harry’s close and at times emotional supervision.

When the last mezuzah scroll was securely in place, Harry wiped his eyes and loudly cleared his throat.

“Boys,” he began. “This morning I woke up, and although the sun was shining brightly, for me, it was dark. My wife and I are both struggling with recently diagnosed medical conditions. I always considered myself a strong person—I am a master in Krav Maga and work as a security contractor. But lately, I’ve been feeling weak, depressed, hopeless, and today, these feelings reached a peak and I was terrified that I was at a breaking point. Then, you approached me with such genuine friendship, and more than that, helped me put on tefillin and put up these mezuzahs. It seems like you boys are a Divine beacon of light and hope.” Harry offered us a shy smile. “Thank you for lighting up my day and allowing me to reconnect to what is true, my Jewish identity. Please, let’s keep in touch!”