Nir Rubin, IDF veteran begged the 200 Sinai Temple members sitting before him, “If you need to say thank you to someone, don’t wait. You may never get another chance.”
He painted a heartbreaking picture of his life as a soldier during the Second Lebanon War. A medic and sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade, Nir was tasked with checking the identities of fallen soldiers in Bint Jbei. His wedding was just one week away. He checked one soldier. He checked the next. When he came to the third, Nir passed his flashlight over the deceased soldier’s face. He checked again. And again. The young soldier was Shimon Dahan, Nir’s best friend, the bright, smiling man who helped Nir meet his then, fiancé Orit. As Nir stared into Shimon’s unmoving face, he thought to himself, “But I never thanked him for helping me to meet my love.” I never thanked him.
Nir is traveling the world, bringing much needed attention to Peace of Mind, an organization that assists IDF veterans in receiving psychotherapy after they leave the IDF. As we stood singing Oseh Shalom, Nir asked that we keep Shimon’s memory alive in the following way: Imagine someone that has changed your life for good. Who is that person? Don’t wait another second. Show your gratitude and offer them thanks.
Nir captivated the audience. We followed his every word, cried through his story, our hearts bursting as he showed us videos from his wedding and pictures of his fellow soldiers. But his message was clear: life is too short to keep pettiness, pride, or ego from offering thanks. Nir thanked God, thanked us for listening and challenged us to continue the chain of gratitude.
Modeh Ani Lifanecha…Dear God, thank you for the ability to breathe another day. Today, may we use our time on earth to let someone else know they matter.
If not now, then when?