Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

While searching for Nerf guns on Craigslist (for the kids of course!) I saw a small boat being given away. While it was no Noach’s ark, it was also significantly larger than the one we have in our bathtub. I wondered how or if my life would change if I became the proud owner of a boat. I remembered that I’d experienced similar thoughts some years ago before purchasing a motorcycle to speed my commute to work. Apart from the license plate, a pair of leather gloves and (with gratitude to the Almighty) myself, nothing else remains from that particular purchase. My rational side kicked in moments later and I reasoned that on a waterway there are fewer things to hit or be hit by.

Of course, like most major life decisions, my wife would have the ultimate say in boat ownership. To paraphrase our parsha: Whatever she says, I must listen. I needed to come equipped to this crucial conversation and do my research (and perhaps include a line or two in my tefillos). So I did what anyone in my position would do: I started searching for and messaging a handful of boat owners on LinkedIn, asking if they would share their experience.

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Sure enough, within a few hours, I already had a response from someone called Paul on the West Coast and a Laura in the Rockaways who responded that they’d be happy to speak and help me make an informed cost-benefit analysis. My conversation with Paul was very helpful and the one with Laura the next day helped seal the deal for me.

If Avraham Avinu were alive today, I’d message him on LinkedIn to thank him for the inspiration to constantly broaden and deepen my connections. After all, he and Sarah Imeinu showed us the way by opening up their minds and hearts to others and establishing residence at a crossroads that welcomed people from every direction –in a manner not very far removed from how we build relationships via social media platforms that represent the virtual “crossroads” in our lives.

I know what you’re thinking: “If only a couple of archangels would reach out and magically offer to support me in my quest for a new job” (or a boat, or other treasured objective). Maybe the secret sauce lies in Avraham’s actions in our parsha. He has no idea who these “anashim” are that appear at his doorway(s), and he certainly has no reason to assume that they have any knowledge of who he is. And yet he treats them no differently (some might argue: even better) than members of his own family. To all those thinking to themselves: “Anochi afar v’efer – Who am I to reach out to high-level executives – or anyone – who doesn’t know me from Adam?” – I encourage you to think about them as simply another human being created b’tzelem Elokim, who has no reason not to want to help another human being.

And while I don’t have access to the daily calendars of most angels, it’s just possible (and hopefully not heretical) that they may have had some spare time on their hands or were tired of being angelic for eternity and wanted to do something fulfilling and deeply meaningful, such as bring some news from Heaven down to Earth, (or perhaps something dreadful and destructive like overturning a handful of cities). Perhaps this was the opportunity they’d been waiting for their whole existence and they were hugely grateful to Avraham and Sarah for providing them with a gourmet earthly experience (definitely one to tell their friends back home about).

So next time you hesitate to ask a stranger for a favor or for a sliver of their time, consider that they may be honored to assist, appreciative for the break from their routine, and/or fueled by helping others.

Now that I’ve held you in suspense for a few paragraphs, I’m delighted to reveal that I am not the proud owner of a boat; instead of sailing the seas, I’ll have more time available for private clients. I’ll also have considerably more savings available to diversify my stock portfolio, and for various other pursuits such as building a website with free college guidance and career advice. To this end, I invite you to create a simulation of Avraham or Sarah’s LinkedIn profile and send it to me. If selected to feature on my website or in this column, you’ll receive $25 from my boat fund.

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Rabbi Daniel Coleman, MBA, is sought after for his creative and strategic approach to career preparedness, transitions, and success. In addition to presenting to high school groups on career/financial preparedness, Daniel coaches college-bound students on navigating the admission process and crafting an excellent application. He is a popular scholar in residence in communities across America and beyond. Connect with him at coleman4coaching@gmail.com or on LinkedIn.