by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
I was exhausted, and thought to take a 15 minute nap before returning to the Kotel late afternoon. It would mean that I would be a little later than usual to help with tefillin. I sat back in my soft chair, closed my eyes, relaxed for two minutes, when all of a sudden my mouth slammed shut biting a tiny spot on the inside of my lip. It really hurt! I screamed, “What did You do that for?”
I saw that I wasn’t going to get a nap, so I got up and went to the Kotel. On the way, I was trying to figure out why it happened. “There must be something that I need to see, and would have missed had I napped. But, it will have to happen within the first 15 minutes, or else I would have been there anyway.”
I davened mincha (prayed the afternoon prayers) and went to set up my little cart with tefillin. Shmuli from the tefillin stand was there talking with two men. One of them pointed to me, and said something. Shmuli brought them over and said, “You gotta’ hear this one.”
One of the men was an American tourist, and the other was his Israeli tour guide. The guide told the story. He pointed at me again and said, “He’s the one who said it.”
The story goes; a little over a year and a half ago the guide brought an America to the Kotel. His name was Steward. He encouraged him to put on tefillin, and when he did he started to cry uncontrollably. The guide asked him why he was crying. He said, “I have good reason to cry. My doctors told me that I have the bad disease, and that I have only two months at the most to live.”
The guide brought him over to me, and asked for a blessing. He told me the story and I said, “Steward, G-d gives doctors the ability to heal. They can often heal someone, but they cannot say when a person is going to die. That is up to G-d.” I told him to be happy for whatever time G-d gives him and, “Remember, it’s G-d Who gives and takes life, not the doctors.” Then I said, “We’ll see you in a year when you come back to put on tefillin again.”
Then Shmuli said that a year later Steward came back to the Kotel with his wife to put on tefillin again. I wasn’t there to see him. He told Shmuli the story and said that he came back to see us like we said he would. And, as far as I know, G-d hasn’t called him home yet.
Obviously, G-d had something planned for Steward that his doctors didn’t know about. And apparently, G-d wanted me to hear the story, too, because if I would have come 15 minutes later, as I planned, they would have left and I would not have heard it. And why did G-d want me to hear the story? …Obviously, to be able to tell it to you. Apparently, someone out there really needs to hear this story.
Let me know if it’s you.