Sunday, September 02, 2012

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“He’s a Heretic!”

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths

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     You never know when you ask someone to do a mitzvah what is going to happen. This Israeli walked by, and when I asked him to put on tefillin he roughly pushed me off.

     A religious Jew who was walking in the other direction called out to me, “Forget him. He’s a complete kofer!” A kofer is a Jew who denies the Torah, a heretic.

     Just then, as if the Israeli had heard him, but really he was way too far away to have heard, turned, came over, and told me to help him to put on tefillin.

     After he finished I asked him what changed his mind. It was as if some mystical voice told him to do it. He said, “Someone has been pressing me to do it.”

     I said, “But it was a good thing to do, right?” He agreed, and he walked over to the Kotel looking satisfied.

     The Jew who heard him push me off, and called him a kofer did not see that he turned, so he still thinks that he is a denier. But you can never judge someone else’s place. It is hard enough to be fair even when you judge your own.

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