Thursday, January 19, 2012

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But This…This is Real

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

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     Alex (the person in the picture  without tefillin) is in Jerusalem to learn for two weeks with seven other college students from Upstate New York. They are on their Winter Break, and instead of going to the beach or skiing, their Chabad rabbi convinced them to come to Jerusalem for an intensive two week learning experience.

     On the group’s last day here, I invited the students to my house, where I explained to them the difference between the body and the soul.

     I explained that everything in creation has a body and a soul. Even an inanimate object has life deep down inside. There is a soul in everything. Torah and mitzvahs also have a soul and a body. I pointed out the difference between sitting and learning the literal Torah, and finding the spirituality in the Torah. I told them that there were two things that they could do to most quickly find the spirituality of Torah: 1) be happy for the right reason when you do a mitzvah, and 2) help to bring another Jew to do a mitzvah.

     After the class we went to daven mincha (noon prayers) at the Kotel. After davening, a few of the boys stayed to help me put tefillin on the visitors. Alex had never put tefillin on anyone other than himself before, so this was like his “Bar Mitzvah” for “outreach.”

     I pushed him a little to get him going (he was shy at first). When he brought in his first “customer,” I showed him how to help him, but I was sure to let Alex do the actual wrapping.

     After his “bar mitzvah” customer left, Alex said to me, “I’ve been learning Torah for these past two weeks, and it has been really special, but it’s like that is just theory, but this… helping another Jew to put on tefillin… this is real. This is the application of learning. It’s really inspiring.” He had a new glow on his face.

     I told him that he can do it when he goes back to New York, too. Okay, so maybe it will be only once or twice a week, and a few guys altogether, but still, every single person you help is a life that you have moved closer to its spiritual goal. That’s quite a gift that you can give to someone.

     And you… I bet you know someone you love enough to help?

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