by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Max is one of the regular volunteers at the Kotel tefillin stand. He is here from America learning for the year at the Mir yeshiva. He likes to come to the Kotel during his afternoon breaks to put tefillin on tourists.
After a while, we started to notice that Max was changing. Almost every time he helped someone to put on tefillin, he began to smile. His smiles got bigger and bigger, until they grew into unusual behavior. For instance, on Purim night, he was seen going into the most serious Litvak yeshivas, (Torah academies that teach Jewish law and European customs), and talking the boys into smiling when they put on their tefillin! This is definitely not a normal thing for a Litvak to do. Litvaks are not noted for smiling when they do a mitzvah.
Then, a day after Purim, he happened to be around when a balagan (a big mess) broke out. A 10 year-old boy from Haifa took a bus to Jerusalem to spend the day with his sister. He arrived at her apartment only to find that she was not home. He panicked and called the police, telling them that he was lost. A Yassam cop (the toughest we have) was the first to show up. He drove up to the scene on his motorcycle and found the boy in the middle of a group of charedi guys who were trying to calm him down. The cop announced that he was going to take the boy to the police station and the charedimobjected very loudly. A police car drove up, and things started to look like they were going to get heavy… the boy was crying loudly, the crowd was screaming at the cops, and the cops were determined not to listen to the crowd... .
Then Max got a bright idea. He ran into the makolet (small grocery store) that was right there and bought two bags of chips and a can of Coke. He quickly ran back to the argument and handed the bags of chips and the coke to the little boy. The boy took them, but he was too upset to even smile. But the tough cop smiled. He looked at Max and smiled a big smile, and then he actually gave Max a huge, warm hug. It changed the entire atmosphere of the scene. The cops were able to put the boy in the police car to drive him to the station to wait for his sister, and the crowd peacefully walked away. And Max--what did he say? “If it wasn’t after dark, I could have gotten that cop to put on tefillin.”
Watch out! Once you start helping people, you have no idea where it’s going to end up.