by Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths
One of the regulars at the tefillin stand brought this European tourist over and said, “He says his mother’s Jewish.”
What this usually means is that he cannot decide whether or not to put tefillin on him. He was on a tour with what looked like all non-Jews. He didn’t look at all Jewish, and sometimes tourists will say something just to make us feel that they are friendly, even though it might not be true. They might make up stories like, “One of my relatives was Jewish.”
I asked him if his mother’s mother was Jewish. He said that he didn’t know because they didn’t talk much, and she died when he was still young. I asked “How do you know that your mother is Jewish?”
He answered, “She told me.”
“Okay,” I thought, “I have to go with the information. If his mother told him she was Jewish…,” Although I was not really sure, I put tefillin on him.
For a non-Jew to put on tefillin is not absolutely against the law. It is not one of the prohibitions in the Seven Mitzvahs of the Children of Noah, but it is not a good thing for them to do, and they should not do it. So, even though I had doubts about the guy, and was somewhat uncomfortable, I put tefillin on him.
After he read the Shema and prayed for his family, I took this picture and said, “Now that you know that you are Jewish, you have to marry only a Jewish girl.”
He smiled and said, “My mother used to tell me that, too.”
“That’s it! There’s the proof I was looking for.” The guy’s certainly Jewish. There is no way that he would have made that up, and a sure sign of a Jewish mother is that she tells her son, “You have to marry a Jewish girl!”