at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths
One of the boys that came to the Kotel with this Birthright group would not put on tefillin. His refusal came even though all of his friends were putting them on. After giving him a few very good reasons why he should put them on, and feeling frustrated with his senseless stubbornness, I asked, “Would you marry only a Jewish girl?”
He answered, “No. I will marry who I love. As long as she is a good person, I do not care if she is Jewish.”
I had just told the other boys how important it is for the Jewish people to survive…what an asset we are to the world, and how having a Jewish family was their true Birthright. I also told them that tefillin are a sign of our being Jews. In the entire history of the world, only Jews have ever had the practice of putting on tefillin.
After the boy refused, I turned back to the group and said, “I see this all the time. When a Jew who lives outside of Israel refuses to put on tefillin at the Kotel, almost always, he does not care if his children are Jews! What a valuable treasure he is willing to throw away!”
What makes the greatest impression on these young Jews is after telling them that they have to marry a Jewish girl, I tell them that even though only 1 out of 516 people in the world is Jewish, 1 out of 4 Noble Prize winners are Jewish! Then I point my finger at them and say, “This is what you came into the world to do…to make a Jewish family, and to make the world a better place.”