"Oh, don't waste your time with him", he said.

How that statement irked me!

We happened to be standing next to each other at the conveyor belt waiting for our baggage. We were two Jews with Kippas on, waiting for the delayed luggage, so we got to talking. "Where are you from?"

"Santa Barbara," my wife replied.

"I have a cousin over there."

"Really? Why don't you give me his information so that I can invite him for Friday night to a Shabbat dinner."

Then came the shocking statement: "Don't waste your time with him," he said deridingly. He's too far gone.

My wife and I had just spent the last month in Hawaii reaching out to Jews all over the Island; both to members of Temples and the unaffiliated. Thank G‑d we had seen much success in sharing the radiance and warmth of Judaism to those that hadn't even had a Bar Mitzvah! And now, standing in JFK by the conveyor belt, it really bothered me to hear a Jew saying, "don't waste your time with him."

He continued, "It's a numbers game. Why waste your time with a Jew who is married out? There are so many more Jews that are traditional and with both halves Jewish, that you can work with!"

"But what will be with that individual Jew, your cousin, who married out and lives in Santa Barbara?" I asked.

"We take losses also," he replied arrogantly.

By now the overdue wait for our luggage had become intolerable. "When will the luggage come already?" he hissed.

"There are tens of thousands of pieces of luggage being delivered promptly, to thousands of people in this airport. Why are you getting so frustrated?" I asked.

"What do I care about all the thousands of people – my luggage is late!" He responded.

Then it dawned on him. It's a matter of perspective.

It was then that I recalled the words of the Baal Shem Tov. Every single Jew is cherished and cared for by G‑d. G‑d loves each individual even more than the love of a childless couple for their newborn child that is born to them in their old age.

Thank you Rebbe, for teaching us how to love every Jew.