I am 18 years old. Between school, homework, and a little time for myself, I barely have time to breath. How can I help other people when I'm soooooo busy in my own life!!??


I can see from your question that you have a deep desire to help others. Our Sages stress that we are not here in this world for ourselves. In the words of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hassidic movement: A soul may descend to this world and live seventy or eighty years in order to do a material favor for another, and certainly a spiritual one.1

If you take this truth to heart, I am sure you will easily find that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” As the saying goes, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

Practically speaking, how can you fit good deeds into your busy schedule? Here are some ideas:

  1. Decide where you can clear up a half-hour in your schedule by cutting down on time-wasters. Figure out what your biggest time-wasters are. Facebook? Hanging out with friends? Internet? Video or computer games? There’s almost always a half-hour that you can cut. And voila! There’s time to help someone.
  2. Factor helping others into your busy schedule.

    Does schoolwork and studying occupy lots of your time? Maybe you can study with a friend who needs some help or review material with someone who was sick and missed some classes.

    Do you shop for your family? You can offer to pick up some groceries for the elderly lady down the block at the same time. Or you can offer to take her stuff to the cleaners or pick it up when you get yours.

    Can you drive someone somewhere while you’re running errands yourself? Or bake cookies or make extra food for a sick person while you’re cooking or baking at home?

    There are many simple ways to help others even while you are accomplishing your own tasks.
  3. Shabbat and holidays are generally less busy and a good time to help others. You can volunteer to run or help out at a kids’ group in a synagogue. Or visit someone who is sick, or a local hospital or nursing home. Invite someone who’s alone to a Shabbat meal or babysit for a new mother so she can get some needed rest.