true stories from the Western Wall by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
“Okay then, instead of putting on tefillin, give your son a blessing.”
This is my first move in such cases. They are almost always very attached to their children, and they usually agree to give them a blessing. I had him put his right hand on the boy’s head and read the blessing of the kohanim (priests). This is the traditional blessing that fathers give to their children on Friday night after coming home from the synagogue.
After the blessing, I told him to pray for what he wanted G-d to give the boy. The fathers always reach into their hearts for the best that they could possibly wish for their sons.
He did all this, but still, when I tried again to have him put on tefillin, he refused. Okay, so his refusal was a tiny bit softer than when I first asked, but his “no” still meant “NO!” So I pulled out my biggest tool.
I turned to the little boy and said, “Tell your father to put on tefillin.”
The little boy picked up on it right away. He looked up at his father and said, “Aba, put on tefillin.”
The father looked down at his son and said, “Do you want me to put on tefillin?”
The boy said, “Yes.”
The father smiled, and we walked over to the tefillin stand and put on tefillin.
I told the boy, “This is your mitzvah. It is only because of you that your father is putting on tefillin.” He beamed.
From the picture above, you see that they had a good time with the tefillin. They always do. It’s just the animal inclination that we all have that refuses to do a mitzvah. Our holy inclination loves to do mitzvahs, but you have to get the animal to agree.
Video link - Fathers blessing their sons at the Kotel