A couple of days ago I heard an old recording of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach talking about a Tel Aviv street cleaner he had met. The street cleaner had no friends or family but was content. When he mentioned that he had been in a Nazi concentration camp, Reb Shlomo asked how he had survived? The street cleaner responded simply, “I kept asking my fellow inmates what I could do for them?”
No, there wasn’t much he could actually do to help improve the quality of life in that hell-hole. But the street cleaner was able to do something most of his fellow inmates no longer had the capacity to do: he would let people tell him their story. Where were they before the deportation? Who were the members of their family? What kind of life did they have? Who are they yearning to see? This simple act gave immeasurable comfort to many people and gave the street cleaner a sense of purpose.
This video reminds us that every human being has a story to tell. Our first reaction to encountering people should ideally be: What can I do for you? How often do most of us simply profile a person and pass judgment?
To see the face of God is to look into the eyes of a soul yearning to connect with you.