I recently saw a video about a fellow who tried to commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a sad story of an individual who was struggling with deep depression and all he wanted was for the pain to end.

He described how he took a bus to the bridge, and no one—not the driver nor a fellow passenger—cared how miserable he was. Despite his obvious angst, no one even asked him if he was okay. He was hoping someone would acknowledge him, but alas, everyone was busy with their own lives.

The moment he leaped off the bridge, he continued, all he wanted was to live. Well he did live. When he was fished out of the water by the Coast Guard, they told him how lucky he was, despite his completely broken body. "We retrieve some 60-70 bodies a year, and they are all dead. You are the first one who was alive. GO LIVE! You have a lot to live for.”

"You are the first one who was alive. GO LIVE! You have a lot to live for.”He went on to turn his life around and is now a motivational speaker who encourages people to find what they have to live for. He also encourages people to look around and really see the people next to them. If they seem agitated, ask them how they are doing.


Last night, I was picking up drinks and other supplies for Shabbat. There was a fellow on line behind me hopping from foot to foot, looking agitated and sad. Eyes red and tearing, he seemed out of sorts.

I noticed that he had only one item whereas I had a whole conveyor belt of stuff and offered him to cut the line ahead of me. After refusing a few times, he thanked me and did so.

As he was fumbling for his payment, he still seemed so sad, so I asked him if everything was okay. He kind of half nodded and cried a bit harder.

I said, "Hey, can I help? I’m a rabbi. I don't know if you are Jewish, but I do help people. Perhaps I can help you?"

He walked over to me, shook my hand, and said, "Pray for me rabbi, just pray for me"


He left the store, and I wondered what the end of the story was.

Was he so down on his luck that perhaps, like in the YouTube video, I may have saved his life? Was he just in the midst of a bad break-up and this was a non-event? Who knows?

I offered up a short prayer for him and hurried to our Chabad House to give my Torah class before I was late.


When I got home, an email was waiting for me:

Hello Rabbi Nechemia,

My name is xxxx, and I was the guy purchasing flowers at Big Y tonight. I found this email on Google and wanted to reach out and thank you again. There is no doubt I had a hard day.

I spent most of the day with my mother at the hospital. She is currently battling cancer and has been going through chemo treatments since October.

Today was hard for her and she was sad and crying for much of the visit. Most of my energy was spent trying to keep her positive and happy.

After I left the hospital, my first stop was Big Y to buy flowers. The flowers I purchased were for my girlfriend and her mother. Nine years ago today my girlfriend lost her father to cancer. From what she’s told me about him, and stories I’ve heard from family and friends, he was a kind man who went out of his way to do nice things for people, even if he didn’t know them.

When you offered to let me go in front of you, as well as offered to help, I could tell you truly meant it. It was a pretty special moment. So that you know I’m not in need of help, but your offer and kind deed to a stranger was much appreciated and made my day a lot better.

Thank you

xxx xxxx

P.S.: I think I have the right rabbi.

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You never know... Just ask. Sometimes, you may be asked to mind your own business, but other times you may just help a struggling fellow human being, or even save a life.