true stories from the Western Wall by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Someone came up to me and told me that the young man who I had just helped to put on tefillin was sitting there crying, and that I should go talk to him. I nodded, okay, not really planning on talking to him, since it is very common for tourists to get emotional when they put on tefillin at the Kotel. I assumed that he was having some kind of spiritual awareness.
I was wrong. When I took this picture of him, I could tell that they were a different kind of tears.
I spoke to him, and as usual, I told him that the most important thing for him was to marry a Jewish girl so that he would have Jewish children.
He said, “There’s one on the way.” He motioned toward the Kotel plaza and said, “She’s standing over there.”
“Is she Jewish?” I asked.
He shook his head, “No.” More tears.
“That’s a real problem,” I said.
“I know,” he said. “I tried to convert her at home, but they make it too difficult there, so we came here to try.”
I said, “It’s hard here, too. It’s not an easy thing to become a Jewish person. Look, here’s what you should do. I can see that you are a spiritual person, or this would not even be bothering you. But she can’t convert and keep a kosher house if you are not keeping kosher. It’s impossible. Do this... you have to develop your spiritual life. Start putting on tefillin every day and praying just like you just did while you were sitting here. Makekiddush every Friday night…. Really come to love the Torah’s way of life.
Either she is going to say, ‘What you are doing now is so wonderful… I want to be a part of it,’ and you will know that she can become a righteous convert. Or, she is going to say, ‘This is weird. You never did anything like this before. Why are you doing this now?’ and you will know that she is not for you.”
He seemed to understand and finally even smiled a little. He was hurting pretty bad. His life had collapsed in on him. He was just playing around, having fun…. Now, all of a sudden, he is being forced into a lifelong relationship that he really doesn’t want.
Why am I telling you this story? Is this just lashon harah (evil gossip)? No. It is a sincere warning to all of you parents and close relatives of young Jews. Do not wait until it is too late to teach your Jewish loved ones thereal facts of life. Do not wait until they start dating to explain this most important lesson to them. Jews can have as many non-Jewish dear friends as we want, but when it comes to intimate relationships, listen to what the Torah says, “You shall not intermarry with them…not your sons and not your daughters… or they will turn your child away from Me.”[i]
[i] Deuteronomy 7:3