Each of us comes into this world with a unique mission. Perhaps at some point in your life, you felt a calling. Or the forces in your life unfolded in such a way that you knew that you were being urged in a certain direction. Maybe you discovered something in a book or a teaching, the hint of an idea that wouldn't go away.
As vague or clear as your mission may be, know this: that there are others involved in the same or similar task. They comprise your Shalshelet Neshamot—a “chain of souls”—devoted to a common purpose in this and other lifetimes. Every one of us is linked to such a chain. It includes those who share your plight, your passion, or your dedication to a cause, souls whom you may never meet but who are working alongside you nevertheless. Together, you are serving to bring into the world some innovation, new idea, or assistance.
In the Shalshelet Neshamot, there are those who are above you in wisdom, and those who are below you. This is not a “hierarchy” in the usual sense of the word. It is, rather, a chain of love. So, those above you are your teachers and guides, while those below you are your students and recipients of your aid. Not all of our teachers and students are obvious. We may go through much of our lives unaware of how we are helping or being helped by them.
Because these links are not always apparent, Judaism teaches us to help others at every opportunity that avails itself. Unless it puts your or someone else in danger, go out of your way to respond to the needs before you. Don't think twice. You never know when you might be serving the life of someone in your chain of souls.