Monday, August 06, 2012

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Gary is from South Africa

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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     He refused to put on tefillin. He brushed by me hurrying toward the Kotel saying, “I’ll be back.” Obviously, he just wanted to get rid of me and not have to put them on.

     Five minutes later, as he was rushing out of the Kotel area, I ran after him and reminded him that he had said that he would put on tefillin when he came back.

     He didn’t stop. I noticed that the boy was wearing tzitzis (a fringed garment). I said, “If the boy can wear tzitzis, then surely his father can put on tefillin!” He realized that what I said made sense, so he let me help him with tefillin.

     The little boy wanted to know what the tefillin were. As I was wrapping the tefillin on his father’s arm, I explained, “Now that you are three years old you are not a baby anymore.” He nodded that I was right. “Since you are not a baby you can wear tzitzis. And when you get to be thirteen you will have your bar mitzvah and then you will be able to put on tefillin, too, just like Daddy.” He liked the idea.

      He returned to the Kotel… read the Shema, and prayed for his family.

     We are told that when we do a mitzvah it leads us to a mitzvah. Here we see that his putting tzitzis on his son led him to put on tefillin.

     Time and time again… a Jew did not want to put on tefillin, feeling that they were a burden, but when you get them to say, “Yes,” and if you help them in the right way, they end up having an enjoyable and meaningful experience.

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