A Jew's Response in Difficult Times

An inspiring true story on the power of giving.

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One evening in the summer of 2015, David Birnbaum was pulling into his driveway in Monsey, New York. Sari Bryk, the 7-year-old girl who lived next door, was sitting on the curb next to the driveway. David didn’t see her. His two-ton SUV hit Sari and he immediately heard her screams. He jumped out of his car and called Hatzalah, the Jewish volunteer emergency medical service.

In less than a minute, Judah Hoffman was there in his ambulance. He quickly placed Sari on a stretcher, lifted her into the ambulance and raced to the hospital. Judah arrived at the hospital within 17 minutes. Sari underwent numerous medical procedures. Both of her legs were broken but thank God she was going to be okay.

That night, Judah found it hard to sleep. He could not stop thinking about bringing little Sari to the hospital. He thought back to the reason he had become a Hatzalah member in the first place. He, too, had been in a terrible accident. Judah grew up in Flatbush. When he was 11, he was walking home from school when a pickup truck sped around the corner and hit him. A woman named Miriam Bryk saw it happen and ran down the block into the office of Dr. Marvin Bess, a well-known pediatrician in the area. She shouted for him to come right away. While others called Judah’s parents, Dr. Bess accompanied him to Beth-El hospital where they saved his life.

Now, 34 years later, a sudden thought crossed Judah’s mind. The woman who ran for Dr. Bess to save him was Miriam Bryk. The little girl’s last name is also Bryk. Is it possible that they are related?

The nest morning, Judah made some phone calls and discovered the extraordinary Divine orchestration of events. Sari, the girl he helped save, was the granddaughter of the woman who helped save his life more than three decades earlier.

The Hebrew word used in the Torah that instructs us to give or take care of others, is the word “Venatnu”. Venatnu is a palindrome. It can be read the same way forward and backward.

The Torah is teaching us that any time a person gives to another – whether it's one's time, attention, encouragement, financial assistance – it will return to him.

Giving is cyclical. In the end it will come back, you just never know how. Judah had paid back a noble deed and hadn’t even realized it. He saved the granddaughter of the woman had saved him.

During these difficult times in Israel and around the world, let us search for opportunities to help others in need and care for those around us. May the merit of our acts of kindness bring healing and blessing to the world.

Comments (5)

(5) Regina Gradess, June 8, 2021 2:47 AM

Lovely story of V'nat nu but please use gender neutral pronouns

Hi, I was inspired by the story of the Hatzolah driver who helped the granddaughter of the woman who saved him. V'natnu is an awesome word. But I noticed at time 2:17 in to the video that you used the word "him" "it will come back to him". Please be kind and use gender neutral commentary for your next video. Perhaps you could use "them" instead of "him". Otherwise, a lovely video. Thank you.

(4) Leslie Kirshner-Morris, May 21, 2021 12:42 PM

Gorgeous Story

Love this gorgeous story. I needed chizuk this morning with my daughter living in eretz yisrael and all the craziness going on there. Thank you so very much. These stories reveal themselves to us over and over. Blessings on all your readers.

Leslie Kirshner- Morris, Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center, Pa.

(3) Kellie Poitra, May 20, 2021 4:06 PM

Great video

Baruch HaShem!

(2) Janet Flor Juanico Cruz, May 19, 2021 10:02 PM

Giving is cyclical

Shalom from Mexico,

I would love to volunteer in Israel if I could, in order to help people in these difficult situations. I know there is a program for English teachers named TALMA, in which we can teach in disadvantaged areas from Israel, so let see if I can do that one day. It is really inspiring to know people, like Jewish community, who always help others in need. I have good memories from Canadian Jewish and I have been inspired from my professors at UNAM who are Jewish. As a matter of fact, I was inspired of one of them who moved to Canada. She is an amazing woman and her husband too.

Peace and blessings,

(1) Bonnie, May 18, 2021 10:59 AM


Yes, thank God for the dedicated doctors and nurses all over the world who are dedicated in helping and mending our frailed bodies.....in accidents? In wars? Homocides . I am most grateful to God to have such wonderful people who allowed their talents and dedications to be used in in crisis where needed the most? in urgencies such as this child with broken legs......I can just imagine the shock and pain of this dearest little 7 year old was going through...........our Heavenly Father is sure watching over us......it resulted in a happy ending.


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