In loving memory of my father Eliyahu Kelman who changed the lives of many. It’s an honor to share your love and wisdom with others til this day.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,
Don't Show Me, Show Me the World
Not long ago, I read a beautiful story about a young man with very little money but dreams of a brighter future.
Despite living in a very modest home, he was so generous to everyone around him with both his time and possessions. He especially cared deeply for others in need.
He would sometimes give away everything that he had with the belief that HaShem would set things right and that he would be looked after as long as he was helping and doing for others. Thereby he was living a life of receiving in order to give.
He gave people his time, love, and patience. He listened to their stories carefully and showed a lot of sympathy and compassion. The people loved him and he loved them back quite sincerely.
As he grew and moved forward in life, his situation and status changed drastically. He started earning more and more money to the point that he became extremely wealthy and had virtually everything he could have ever imagined.
He built an elegant mansion complete with servants fawning all over him. He furnished his mansion with costly works of art and beautiful furniture. He also had a mirror installed on one of the windows. He would sit in front of the mirror and admire himself dressed in all his finery. He would also marvel at the reflection of the pricey and expensive furniture he had meticulously chosen to compliment his home.
The reflection in the mirror made him feel good about himself.
Gradually, he changed. He was no longer in contact with his neighbours and friends. He begrudgingly helped people even though he had promised himself that he would devote his life to helping the poor and needy if he ever became a rich man. He gradually forgot about them and was now mixing with an entirely different group of people. The company he kept only had interest in themselves and their own needs alone. Yes, he had plenty of friends, whether you call them real friends or not, but in actual fact, he had become quite a lonely man.
One day, a charity collector who the young man well knew for his kindness and generosity decided to visit him to ask for a donation. The charity collector traveled around the world to raise funds for different causes and used to stay at his humble home back when he was not doing very well. He used to be very generous to him and take him around to other people’s homes to help him collect money.
Not being aware of his current status, the charity collector went looking for him in the small house he used to have. He rang the bell as he arrived outside the worn, rustic porch. It had been months since he had visited his old friend. No response.
The neighbours told him that since becoming very wealthy the young man had moved to the beautiful mansion that could be seen from miles away. They also told the charity collector that they did not hear from him anymore, and that he was no longer the same person.
Quite puzzled by the accounts of the neighbours, the charity collector made his way to the gates of the elegant mansion and knocked on the door. Upon opening the door, the servant told him that if he was there to collect for charity, he should return in the afternoon.
“The afternoon? He repeated in dismay. “No. Just tell him who is here and he will see me now.”
And of course, as soon as his friend found out who he was, he welcomed him in with open arms. He then walked him around his home and proudly showed him all the wonders of his magnificent mansion; from the beautiful tapestries and paintings in ornate gold frames to the statues and other expensive embellishments. The charity collector was quite impressed with the splendor of everything.
Having seen everything in the mansion, the charity collector turned around to his friend and asked, “Why do you have this mirror installed here?”
He responded, “The mirror allows me to look at myself and my accomplishments, and be proud of where I am. It makes me feel good.”
The charity collector then asked him, “What about all the people you haven’t helped? What about all the people you have closed your door to? Do you see them too?
Look out at the world from your panoramic window. Which one is better? Looking at the world and seeing it for what it truly is, caring about other people and making sure they know they are cared about or looking into the mirror and seeing yourself, all alone?
You have neglected so many people and by doing this you have neglected yourself. Why were you given this wealth? Why were you given all this money? Why is anyone given any amount of money?
Ten percent of it does not belong to them. Why begrudgingly help people when ten percent of it is not yours to begin with and you are simply a trustee.
You should have been giving that money away to people who needed it and many of them could have survived or even flourished. You could have helped them start a new life.
That ten percent does not belong to you. Unless you either take down that mirror or scratch away the silver behind it and start seeing through to the other side, you are going to lose everything you have.
If you are not giving away that ten percent, which does not belong to you, then you owe the other 90 percent that you have made too.”
It was a hard pill to swallow but the young man knew that the charity collector was right.
With tears rolling down his face he said, “You are a hundred percent right my friends and I am so grateful to you for telling me this. My life has become empty and meaningless. I have forgotten all about these people. I have forgotten all about my friends. I have forgotten how I used to live. I had to hear these words in order to welcome HaShem back into my life.
Soon, he opened up his house to the needy and poor and started helping them generously. He invited people into his house and had dinners with them treating them with the same hospitality that he had had before. He began feeling better instantaneously and continued to flourish until the day he died.
Fast forward to today, we are now living in times where many people have insecurities. They are not earning money. Their businesses have closed down. An enormous number of people are not receiving rents from their tenants. They do not know what will happen to the prices afterwards. They do not know whether they will ever recover or not. They do not what will happen, once everything opens up again, and how will they face it.
Millions and millions of people do not even know whether or not they will have a job that they can go back to. In these dark and dim times, it is difficult to share what you might not have tomorrow and we understand that. But at the same time, we should be aware that there is an enormous number of people who are very lonely and totally by themselves.
We are all hit by the same storm. Each one of us in our own unique boat has felt its impact. No one should compare him or herself with others, no matter how bad their situation is, or how lonely and insecure they are. There are other people who are in that position too. The only way we can all cure our isolation and loneliness is to help other people.
How do you help them?
You lift up the phone and call at least three or four people a day and spend quality time with them. You ask them how they are doing, you encourage them and build them up. That is how you should help them. It does not cost you any money, but you are still giving away to charity. You are giving away ten percent of your time. The more you give the better.
I am busy from 7 am to 1 am. I make films, write books, and talk to an enormous number of people. I am in contact with every one of my followers at some time or another. I do all of this to care, share, and help others. There is no money in it and besides, that is not the way I am driven anyway.
Not only do these activities occupy my time but they are also a therapy for my own personal life. Aside from that, I need to give because I gain much more than anyone else from what I give to other people.
For this purpose, I have decided to create a new charity, which is called “Project Soul Connect.” I am asking every one of our followers to undertake to contact at least two to three people a day.
My books and videos are meant to help people with difficulties in their lives. Not only those who are locked down in their houses due to COVID 19, but also the millions and millions of people who are locked down anyway as they are dealing with a chronic illness or caring for a sick family member. Those who know there is no end to their strife.
We cannot feel their pain unless we have experienced it ourselves. We can sympathize all we want. We can try to put ourselves in their shoes. We will still not be able to grasp the magnitude of pain they suffer from.
At least with COVID 19, most people survive, however difficult the illness may be. Whereas most people with chronic illnesses do not make it. They have been stuck at home for many years. They needed help yesterday. Let's help them today! Tomorrow is too late. They are depressed. They are lonely. It is difficult. The damage that will be brought to them by their illnesses is far greater than the severe economic and health damage that this virus has imposed on the whole world. Therefore, it is important for each and every one of us to take it upon ourselves to call someone today. That is what PROJECT SOUL CONNECT is all about.
Meanwhile, those who cannot do this for any reason; whether they are busy because they have a job and are working online or they have the responsibility to look after their children, need not worry at all. Send them this video and my website which will have my video channel link. You can subscribe to my email list to get my first book Stand Up & Walk Tall free of charge and updates on the releases of my other work.
Moreover, giving your time to charity will make you feel much better in your personal life. It is a cure for you and a cure for those in need.
And just before I sign off, if you have a mirror on the wall, scratch away the silver on the back and look through the glass. What do you see? Do you see those in pain? Do you see those who need you to make a difference? Do not just look at yourself. Look at the people who are suffering from difficulties and hardships. Notice them. Connect. We can make the world a better place for everyone!