amazing story of how Reb Shayala dealt with someone who was SUICIDAL!
Rav Elimelech Biderman shlyt"a shared an amazing story of how Reb Shayala dealt with someone who was SUICIDAL!
Rav Avraham Genichofsky related, one day Reb Shaya’le’s gabbai made a hole to peek into the rebbe’s room – he wanted to see what was happening inside. Since the rebbe was known for his mofsim. He saw a yid enter the room weighed down with every imaginable struggle. He had sick children, no money and other terrible difficulties. The gabbai watched as the yid told Reb Shaya’la that he wanted to end his life. It’ s all too much for him. So R’ Avrohom Genichofsky said, “What would we all say to this yid?” “What’s wrong with you!?” “You won’t have a place in olam haba!” “You can’t do this!”
Reb Shaya’le didn’t say this. He told the yid, “I understand. Let’s discuss this so that you can end your life the right way.” Reb Shaya’la told the yid, “I imagine you thought how you want to take your life. There is a bridge up there in Kerestir, I imagine you wanted to go up on the bridge and jump.” “Yes,” the yid replied, “yes, that was my plan.”
So Reb Shaya’le said, “Its a good idea, but there is one problem. What if it won’t work, you won’t die. Then it will be incredibly painful for you.” The yid listened.
Reb Shaya’la continued, “Maybe you thought to ascend a tall building and jump?” “Yes,” the yid replied, “I thought of that too.” “Good idea,” said Reb Shaya’la, “but this will be a dishonor for you. I’ll tell you why. If you jump your body can be destroyed. Mutilated. It will be a great dishonor for an honorable man like you. Look, it has to be done the right way.”
So the yid told Reb Shaya’la some other options he considered. Reb Shaya’la had concerns with every option why it wasn’t ideal. At last Reb Shaya’la told the yid, “Look, I understand you well. You feel you need to take this step, but it must be done properly. Give it two weeks. Lets think how you can do this in an honorable way.”
Rav Avrohom Genichofsky said that the yid left and never came back. Why didn’t he come back to finish this? Because had the rebbe yelled, “You can’t do such a thing!”, then the yid would just say, “Ah. The rebbe doesn’t understand me either,” and he would go and take his life. But the yid saw that the rebbe is with him, he feels his pain. And therefore he had the strength to continue living.
Reb Avrohom explained from this story that if we see a friend making a terrible mistake, don't start attacking him, because he will not hear you. There cannot be a greater mistake than what this yid considered doing. But just attacking will never help! Put yourself into his shoes!