by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
I’m sorry to say that we don’t win them all. The other day, I begged a warm, American guy to put on tefillin.
He said, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow we are coming for a Bar Mitzvah, so I will put them on tomorrow.”
No matter how I pleaded he would not cooperate. He was with a friend, the father of the Bar Mitzvah boy. The father and the boy would not put on tefillin either. I had the father bless his son. It did not soften him up at all.
When I told him to tell his son to marry only a Jewish girl, he said, “Marry whoever you like!”
I yelled at him not to do that. The father just smiled and walked away.
What was going on? The first guy I failed with told me that he is married to a non-Orthodox convert. I told him to make sure that his children were Jewish. He became noticeably upset with me. “How could you say such a thing?” he asked. He was truly hurt. I was touching a very tender subject for him. He wanted nothing to do with “Orthodox” things, as they challenge the very Jewishness of his wife and children.
The father of the Bar Mitzvah boy was divorced from his Jewish wife (the mother of his son), remarried and divorced again, and was now living with his non-Jewish girlfriend. He is the one who told his 13-year-old son to marry whoever he pleased. They walked away untouched.
That day I was able to put tefillin on a lot of Jews. I talked to a lot of people. There were a number of beautiful successes. But who do you think about when you walk away? That Bar Mitzvah boy, his father and his friend. They stay with you way after the ones you were able to help are gone.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא