at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths
The Torah teaches that each of us has both a good inclination and an animal, or evil Inclination. When presented with the opportunity to do something good or evil, these two inclinations battle to see which one is going to win over the man (or woman) and have its desire fulfilled.
The Israeli man with tefillin was leaving the Kotel when I invited him to put on tefillin. He shook his head, “no!” and kept walking away.
I called out again, “It doesn’t hurt at all. Come!”
He refused again. This time he made a sour face at the idea, and kept walking.
I called out a third time, “Come, it only takes one minute. What did you come to the Kotel for, just to look at the stones?”
He pushed my voice away by throwing the back of his hand at me, and kept walking.
I caught a glance of his eye. I motioned with my hand for him to come put on tefillin, and with a louder voice I said, “Nu?”
He stopped, turned and walked over. I put tefillin on him, had him read the Shema, pray for all the things that he needed, and for the Jews in danger all over the world.
When he finished, and I was taking off the tefillin I said, “You have a very strong good inclination.
He looked at me and wondered what I meant. I went on, “I asked you four times to do this mitzvah. The first three times your animal inclination convinced you to say “no,” but then the fourth time, your good inclination insisted, and you came and put them on. Your good side won over your negative side.
He smiled, pointed to me and said, “It was because of you, not me.”
I said, “That’s not so. Okay, so I helped, but your good side persuaded your lazy side. You have a very strong good tendency in you.”
It is important to strengthen the good in people. This is why I stressed how strong his good inclination was. This will make it easier for him to choose good the next time, too.