by Reb Gutman @ Mystical Paths
A Reader wrote:
“A few years ago, you helped me put on tefillin at the Kotel and told me a beautiful prayer to say for my family, Jews around the world, and Israel. This was a defining moment for me, and you will be glad to know that I have tried making the mitzvah of tefillin a daily occurrence, although I admit that some days I forget.
“I am not quite sure what I am supposed to feel during the time I put on tefillin. I try to ask Hashem to bless everyone I love, but there seems to be something missing from the experience for me. Do you have any advice on how to reach the peak of the tefillin's spiritual potential? I still feel that there is more that I could be doing.”
Whenever we do a mitzvah, we fulfill G-d’s will. To some degree, we assume the role of a “servant of Hashem.” And, if we do the mitzvahs with tremendous love, we may even begin to feel like an actual “beloved friend of G-d.” These roles, servant and beloved, are actual spiritual levels attained by only the most holy people. Avraham, Moshe, and Dovid were called by these names.
We are all children of G-d. He is the Father of all. But, sometimes children go astray, and they can be a source of terrible pain for a father. But a good servant or a beloved friend is always a source of great comfort, and even joy.
When tourists come to the Kotel holding notes in their hands to place between the stones of the Kotel, but refusing to put on tefillin, I explain to them that writing notes is just a custom, but putting on tefillin is an actual commandment. Often, they are not convinced, so I say, “Look, a note is like the mail. The mail in Jerusalem takes seven days. Tefillin are like a cell phone. G-d answers His phone right away.” This line actually works a lot.
The point is that when you do what G-d wants you to do, there is a lot better chance that He is going to do what you want Him to do.
When you have your tefillin on, you are doing the absolute most that you can do to please G-d. You are trying with all of your might, and you are loving Him with all of your heart. It is really a special time.
While you still have your tefillin on, after your prayers, speak to Hashem the way you would want your beloved to speak to you. Talk to Him lovingly, and let Him hear all of the things that are in your heart. Then, with your eyes closed, breathe in deeply and feel the air fill your lungs. Try to feel the life force that sustains you from within, your being. Then remember, it is G-d Who is breathing that breath into you,[i] and G-d is your life. He is the life of all.[ii]
[i] Genesis 2:7
[ii] “Blessed be the Life of all the worlds” Prayer after partaking of certain foods