Are we helping ourselves or others when we help others?

Are we helping ourselves or others when we help others?

Rabbi Josef Yitzchak as a young man told his father the leader of the Jewish world Rabbi Shalom Dovber “Today I did a favor to someone but I did it with my full heart;” in other words fulfilling the Chassidic dictum to truly empathize, not just mechanically do good because it is what you aught to do.

You are making a mistake my son Rabbi Shalom Dovber replied “you did yourself the favor.”

In other words – and this was highlighted by an incident in my life today – often God brings to us people who need something from us or we become concerned with a situation but out of selfishness or perhaps just plain laziness we do nothing about it – do not think that you have simply let someone else’s problems continue rather you have let your own problems continue.

A man once was throwing boulders from his field onto the road in ancient Israel, a prophet walking by said to him “why are you throwing boulders that don’t belong to you, onto the road that does.” Not getting the point he continued his merry way until once he lost everything (recession) he was forced to travel the road whereupon he stumbled upon one of the boulders he had carelessly tossed.

Similarly the road of life, the journey of interactions, is not random, though it may seem so; every person you come in contact with was designed not for you to help them but for you to merit your own sustenance, happiness, wealth and prosperity in reaction / return for helping them.


There are only two ways to live life: one as if everything is a miracle the other as if nothing is. Albert Einstein



There are only two ways to live life: one as if everything is a miracle the other as if nothing is. Albert Einstein

What is a miracle? There are three kinds of miracles: the first is the repetitive miracles we have come to all know and rely on called nature.

The second are the awe inspiring miracles that make us blink, have wide opened jaws and be consumed by the grandeur of God, such as the birth of a baby, the miraculous disappearance of cancer and of course the multiple miracles recorded in the Bible.

But the there is a third kind of miracle which is far greater than the previous two, its greatness lies not in its repetition nor in its draw dropping grandeur, rather in its simplicity; for simplicity is the essence of God (as the Baal Shem Tov teaches, the simplicity of a simple / genuine / authentic /sincere person touches the simplicity of God for where the potential for complete complexity exists, the ultimate is found in the complete simple / genuine / authentic /sincere, namely truth; it is only we who have difficulty in the complex that we marvel at the latest technology, at a mathematician who can figure out sums, or a painter that can draw, or a singer that can sing better then we do – think about it) and as we mentioned a few blogs ago – precisely the simple wisdom God gives us, directing our complex (at least in perception) lives, towards simplicity genuineness authenticity and sincerity, namely the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the wisdom of God in the Bible, and the wisdom God shares with us – as mentioned – is the ultimate.