by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
A typical-looking, very tough Israeli walked up to the Kotel yesterday.
He was about forty years old, totally secular, and had a very strong body.
He walked as if he wasn't interested in anything other than what was on his
I called to him in a friendly way, "Come put on tefillin."
He acted as if I did not exist.
I tried again, "Come put on tefillin. It's a good thing to do."
He brushed right by me and didn't even look at me.
"Uh oh! That's a mistake," I called out to his back.
He took a few steps and then turned around, walking back toward the tefillin stand.
"Hey, I got him!" I thought.
I was wrong. He ignored me again. Without even the slightest recognition that I existed, he reached out and took a piece of paper that we have available there for people who want to write notes.
It has become a very common practice to write a note and place it in one of the spaces between the stones of the Kotel. Jews, and even non-Jews, often come from afar with their notes in hand, thinking that this is a traditional way to "talk" to G-d. The custom has really caught on, especially among the not-yet-so-religious public.
Writing notes to G-d has never been a traditional thing to do, but it certainly has become a widespread custom. It's just another form of prayer. Even dance can be a form of prayer,[i] so surely there is nothing wrong with writing your heart's desires on a piece of paper and "delivering" it to G-d.
I was standing right next to the stack of blank papers when he took one. I told him, "That's the post office." The mail around here can take up to two weeks." I pointed to the tefillin and said, "This is the cell phone. You can talk to Him right away."
He walked away with his paper to go write his note to G-d.
A few minutes later, he walked up to me (still no smile). "You really want to do this," I said to him, as I slid my arm around his shoulder and gently moved him toward the tefillin stand.
He took out his nicely folded little note, and in a most sincere tone, he asked me a shailah (a rabbinic question). "What is the proper way to address the letter? Should I address it to, ‘the Ruler of the Universe’?"
I saw how he was bringing his heavy, strict, attitude about life to his “relationship” to G-d. I said, "Write, 'Hashem, I love you. Please give me these things that I need so badly.’ And pour out your heart as if you are speaking to your father."
He smiled, and put out his arm for tefillin.
Hey guys, G-d really loves us. It's not just a saying. He loves us more than our earthly fathers could possibly love us, and He wants the best for us. That's why He gave us His Torah.
[i] Exodus 15:20, 2 Samuel 6:16
Thursday, June 04, 2009
// 6/04/2009 //