at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths
I walked up to this nice family and asked the old man in the wheelchair to put on tefillin. His son jumped in and said, “He doesn’t want to!”
I said to the son, “What are you saying? Of course he wants to put on tefillin!”
He looked down at his father and asked him if he wanted to do such a thing. The old man smiled a little and nodded, “Alright.”
He was almost ninety years old. His family moved to Israel from Romania a few years before the holocaust so they all survived.
Even though his father put on tefillin, the son still refused. It was a tough, secular, Israeli family.
I had the father bless his son, and to say out loud all of the good things that he wanted G-d to give the boy. This is something even the secular Israelis usually like to do. Even though they show their tough side to the public they have very warm hearts for their children.
After the father blessed his son, I told the boy that when he became 13 he too could put on tefillin. He father quickly said that he already was 13.
“Okay,” I said with a big smile, “Then you too can put on tefillin,” and I gently pulled the boy over and put tefillin on him.
Then I went after his father, again. He was still tough, but seeing his father with tefillin, and his son also with tefillin on, he softened a little and I was able to pull his arm hard enough that he smiled and gave in, too.
We see this over and over again. They refuse with harsh looks, and if you are clever enough, you get them to agree, and then you see their harsh faces turn into sweet smiles.