Sept. 21, 2020

Eli Beer on Deuteronomy 30:19 – “Choosing Life”

Mark is so delighted to welcome his very good friend and partner in United Hatzalah, Eli Beer, to the podcast today. As a young man, Eli identified the importance of receiving medical care within the first few minutes of an incident, and he has dedicated his life to addressing this fact, leading him to become the Founder and President of United Hatzalah. This organization now has several thousand medics throughout Israel who treat 1,900 emergency calls a day, saving easily 200 lives every day in every sector of Israeli society. The passage Eli has chosen to discuss today is his bar mitzvah portion which continues to guide his life to this day, Deuteronomy 30:19.

Eli begins by sharing the only thing he actually remembers from his bar mitzvah, his passion in life, and what it feels like to save a life. He provides examples from his life of doing more than the minimum expected, setting the example for others, and the essence of the Torah. He and Mark reflect upon Mark’s son’s joy in partnering to help save lives, their experience with volunteers and donors, and what bothered Eli the most when he was severely ill recently. Eli finishes by sharing the lessons he has learned about mankind that relate directly to the theme of today’s passage and the Jewish calling to which he has so passionately dedicated himself – choosing life. As you listen to his story here today, you will undoubtedly come to share the immense amount of admiration and respect which Mark holds for this remarkable individual and his devotion to bringing the very essence of the Torah to life.

Episode Highlights:

  • The only thing Eli actually remembers from his bar mitzvah
  • Eli’s passion in life
  • Choosing life
  • The feeling of saving a life
  • Examples from his life of ‘doing a lot more than just the minimum’
  • Setting the example for others
  • The essence of the whole Torah
  • Mark’s son’s joy in partnering to save lives
  • Eli’s perspective on volunteers and donors
  • The most generous donors
  • What most bothered Eli during his COVID-19 illness
  • The Jewish tradition of wanting to do more
  • The lessons about mankind that Eli has learned


“My passion was always, always, always saving lives.”

“As a child, I saw that bomb attack on a bus in Jerusalem and I saw people get killed and get hurt.”

“It really shaped my life, the way I am now.”

“When you make that choice, you will end up choosing life in a more fuller and deeper way than you could ever have done if you were commanded to do it.”

“You realize how much giving gives you.”

“You ‘re the most generous person in the world, probably.”

“I think that I could always do a little more.”

“The greatest Jewish contribution to humanity is dissatisfaction.”

“The Jewish people always choose life, and not choose death…we always look at the bright side of a thing, let’s go forward to helping other people.”

“I feel like every human being becomes a much happier person when he gives to others.”

“If you want to be happy, make someone else happy.”

“That’s what we live for. We live for doing happiness for other people for saving other people for helping other people. And that is what comes back to us right away.”

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life—if you and your offspring would live—


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