Rabbi Yissocher Frand told over a fascinating story which I would like to try to share with you.
A prominent Rabbi from Israel was taking a cab ride. The cab driver was a non-observant Jew. During the ride he told the Rabbi a personal story of something that he had experienced several years ago. It went something like this...
Cab Driver: A couple of friends and I (Let's call them: Dror and Benny) decided to travel to the far-east as part of our global get away after a long 3 years of army service. One night, we were out camping in the mountains. In the middle of the night I was startled by loud screams. I thought I was still dreaming...but the screams just got louder and louder before eventually I opened my eyes and saw my two buddies were the ones screaming. Benny had been under attack by a scary looking python snake. The snake had wrapped himself tightly around Benny's body! I quickly got up. Dror and I grabbed a couple sticks from the ground and started smacking the python. It wasn't helping.
Dror had remembered what a religious Jew had once taught him about such times: Call out to Hashem and say "Shema". Dror told us to say it together. And so we did in unison at the top of our lungs "Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad!" Miraculously, at that moment, the snake released its grip and quickly disappeared back into the mountains.
Benny took this as a clear message from G-d. He had decided to end his trip early, he traveled back home to Israel. He soon after enrolled in a Yeshiva and became an observant Jew. He went on to marry a religious girl. (I guess they lived happily ever after)
Upon hearing this unbelievable story...
The Rabbi asked the non-observant cab driver: "And what about you?"
The cab driver responded: "I told you, K'vod Harav, that happened to my friend Benny. It didn't happen to me"
[end of story]
Rav Frand then related this story to todays "Financial Crisis." The Rav's main idea, according to my understanding was that the world today is going through a major financial crisis along with several other major problems.
Whether or not we are directly affected by them. Can we say: "It didn't happen to me"?
There are Jews who have lost their jobs. Jews who can't pay their electric bill. Jews who are in need of major help. Financially and emotionally. We need to acknowledge that these huge world problems are a message to all of us and not just to those directly affected. And we should try to help where and when we can.
I hope the above story can help us see things from a different perspective and feel a closer connection to Am yisrael.
We need to let our brothers and sisters know and feel that : "You're not alone".
With G-ds help may we be successful...