Thursday, November 04, 2010

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Ezriel Strikes Again

Three Jews in the Service of Hashem

by Reb Gutman Locks at

Do you remember, “My Hero” Ezriel? Well, he’s at it again. In fact, he is getting pretty good at it. As often happens with humble people, he doesn’t even realize that he is getting better. After sunrise this morning, we were walking away from the Kotel and he asked me for chizuk. This means that he wanted me to say something to strengthen his spiritual life.

     He told me that yesterday (Thursday) he was at the Kotel for mincha (afternoon prayers) and he stopped by the tefillin stand to help out for a little while. An Israeli walked by and Ezriel tried to help him. He refused. Ezriel said, “It doesn’t hurt at all. Com’on it’s good.” The Israeli rejected him outright. Israelis are notorious for acting stubborn even when they are not.

     But then, on his way out, the Israeli walked over to Ezriel and put his arm out motioning for him to help him with tefillin. It happens sometimes that a Jew will refuse to put on tefillin, but then after he goes to the Kotel and prays a little, he realizes that the very One Who he is asking for help is the very One Who told us to put on tefillin.

     But the Israeli didn’t really cooperate. He just held his arm out as if he was totally indifferent to the entire thing. Ezriel gave him the Shema to read and left him alone. A few minutes later, the indifferent Israeli came back to return the tefillin. There were tears running down his cheeks.

     I said to Ezriel, “Helping isn’t the hard part. It’s not hard to help someone. The hard part is wanting to help, and then actually doing something about it. The difficult thing is to see that the other person really needs help, and then opening your heart so you will want to help him.” I pointed back at the several hundred men who were still davening (praying) at the Kotel and said, “Ninety-five percent, no ninety-eight percent of all these Jews do not feel enough to reach out and actually help, but you do.”

    Needless to say, Ezriel was strengthened. By the way, do you know what the name Ezriel means? It means, “G-d’s help.”


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