at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths
A non-Jewish man from Europe walked up and asked what the tefillin were. I explained that it is a commandment to Jewish men, and that we bind G-d’s words to our arms. “It means that we will do what G-d told us to do.”
I asked him what he was doing in Israel. His two teenage sons walked over while the man explained that they had traveled to Egypt, Jordan and a few other mid-Eastern countries. I asked him why he was doing it. He was surprised at the question.
He told me that they were traveling in order to learn about the different kinds of people, and their cultures.
I said, “There are more important things to learn.” I asked, “Where is G-d?”
He placed his hand over his heart, and smiled. I asked his older son. He pointed to the sky, and smiled.
I said, “G-d is Infinite. Where is the Infinite?”
The boy said, “Everywhere.”
“That’s right. So where is G-d?” He moved his arms in circles around his head. I said, “Inside, too” He seemed very happy to learn this.
Then, when I saw his tattoo, I taught him my special prayer for such people. “Say this prayer every day. Dear G-d, if I have to make mistakes today, let me make them in pencil.”
His father did not understand. I explained and pointed to his tattoo. “If he would have put that tattoo on in pencil he would be able to erase it.”
The father pulled up his shirtsleeve to show me that he had one, too. I said, “Because your son saw that you have one, he got one, too.”
The father smiled and said, “But his only lasts for two weeks, then it goes away.”
I smiled and said, “He is smarter than you were when you got yours.”
As they walked away I asked the boy again, “Where is G-d?”
He smiled, winked at me, and said, “Everywhere.”
I could see that even though I will most likely never see him again, I made a bond with the boy.
They left and a young worker at the Kotel who had heard our conversation came over and roughly said, “He’s not Jewish. He’s allowed to get a tattoo if he wants.”
I said, “He’s allowed, but it is a stupid thing to do.”
“It’s none of your business if he wants to get one,” He said.
I tried to explain, but he did not understand, “Even though he is allowed to do it, when you care for someone you try to help him keep from doing stupid things.”
Although I did not do it for this reason, I strongly suspect that that boy’s opinion of Jews changed that day. And, you never know when, or where, his change in heart is going to help some Jew in need.