Martin Buber, the twentieth-century Jewish philosopher who placed great emphasis on the importance of establishing deep, intimate encounters between people (I-Thou opposed to I-It relationships), often spoke of a tragic incident that shaped his life. While still in his twenties, Buber was at home working on a scholarly manuscript when there was a knock on the door. The visitor seemed somewhat distraught, and Buber, sympathetic to the man but anxious to return to his work, answered the man's questions briefly, but, as Buber later expressed it, "I did not answer the questions that he did not ask." Buber subsequently learned that, just a few days after their brief encounter, the man died, an apparent suicide. From then on, Buber concluded, encounters with people must take precedence even over scholarship and mystical speculation.

Joseph Telushkin, A Code of Jewish Ethics