To save a life, you go the extra mile.

I saw this firsthand after learning that I had ALS. A group of five rabbis, most of whom didn’t really know me, took on the task of making sure my family was taken care of, and that I got the medical care I needed. Four years later, they are still there for us. And together with them, there are so many who have helped—financially, emotionally, showering us with love, meals and more.

It is a lesson we can learn from this week’s Torah reading, Vayeira, where G‑d tells Abraham that He is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorra. We read, “ . . . And Abraham was still standing before G‑d. And Abraham came forward and said, ‘Would You blot out the righteous along with the wicked?!’ ”

If Abraham was still standing before G‑d, why did he come forward?

Rashi explains that he didn’t come forward in a physical sense; he prepared himself emotionally to defend Sodom and Gomorra from annihilation. He approached the case in three ways: to argue harshly with G‑d, to appease Him and to pray to Him.

We see that he did all three. First, speaking sternly, he said: “Would you blot out the righteous along with the wicked?!” In appeasement, he said: “It would be profane for You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the righteous along with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are alike, that would be sacrilegious of you! Shall the Judge of the whole world not judge fairly!?” Then, in prayer, he said: “Behold I have begun to speak to my L‑rd, and I am dust and ashes.”

We are taught that Abraham manifested the attribute of loving kindness (chesed). In last week’s haftarah, G‑d even calls him, “Abraham my lover.” So it seems strange and out of character that Abraham opens his argument with stern words. Why doesn’t he begin with words of appeasement or prayer, and if that doesn’t work, then try stern words? That would be more in character with the Abraham we know.

The difference is that there were lives on the line. The angel tasked with destroying Sodom and Gomorra was already on the way there. Abraham went against his nature and spoke sternly first, not making diplomatic calculations because lives were in the balance.

The stories of our forefathers are a lesson to us, his children. Just as we inherit from Abraham the kindness and the love that he had, we must be ready to take action when it is called for, as he did.

When the well-being of another is on the line—whether it is his spiritual or physical well-being—it is not a time for calculations. It is a time for action, throwing yourself into the task with strong and effective action, even if it means going against your nature.

To save a life, we go the extra mile.

To see the work of the children of Abraham in my life and the lives of my family is amazing, and we are so grateful. You have truly saved our lives.

May the merits of the kindness and love that all of the Jewish people give be the mitzvah that tips the scale and sets in motion the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.