Sunday, December 25, 2011

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Who Is Going to Take Over?

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

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     I was talking to one of the Chasidic young men pictured here about the mystical teachings in the Torah. No one had ever introduced him to this way of thinking. I explained to him how the simplest blessings teach us some of the deepest possible lessons in life, and how we have to take these lessons to heart.

     He was really moved. He said that, in those few minutes that we spoke, I showed him more than all of his rabbis. Of course he was exaggerating, but I am telling you this so you will see how moved he was.

     As we spoke, the second Chassidic young man came over, and two teenage American brothers returned to have me take off their tefillin. As I took off the tefillin, I asked the brothers what they were going to major in, in college. One said “architecture,” and the other said “medicine.” I told them that they were making wonderful choices, and that they should pursue those careers.

     After the brothers left, the second Chasidic youth asked me if I was really interested in what those teens were going to study. “What difference does it make to you what they study? Do you really care?”

    “Of course I care.” I said. “What they study will determine what kind of lives they will live.”

    “What do you care how they live?” he asked.

     “What do I care?” I yelled at him. “I am responsible for those boys!”

     “What are you talking about? You just met them. You’re not their father!” he shot back at me.

     “What are you saying?” I asked. “Aren’t the elders of the generation responsible for the younger people?” I stared at him, truly amazed that he could ask such a question. “What is going to happen when I am gone? If you think like this, who is going to take over and watch out for all these Jewish kids--who don’t even know enough to put on tefillin?”

     “Not me,” he said.

     “I will! I will!” the other Chasidic young man said with a big smile. “I’ll take over and watch out for them.”  

     Now it was my turn to smile. I looked lovingly at the youth who had understood what I was saying. How important it is that this lesson be learned!

     This young man saw that, not only are all Jews obligated to help each other, and not only are the more fortunate obligated to help the less fortunate, but even a simple, old Jew should feel like he or she is an elder of the generation--who has been given the special blessing of longer life so he can help share his experiences with the younger generation. If the ones with the greatest experience do not watch out for the kids, who will?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank you that was excellent insight.

- dovid from modiin

y said...

reb gutman,
it is very hard to read about the harshness of the one guy. it is heartening to read about the kindness and understanding of the other. may you be blessed ad 120 with good health to be at the kotel and help these young people. you have done and continue to do great work for am yisrael affecting many generations!
Hashem yishmorcha!!!!!

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