Monday, September 16, 2013

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The Spiritual vs. the Animal

By Reb Gutman Locks

The Spiritual vs. the Animal

     He told me that his father is 91 years-old, and that he went into the US Navy during the 2nd World War. He proudly said that his father put on his tefillin every day while serving in the Navy. Yet he, who is 60 years old, had never put on tefillin, not even once in his life!

     When he walked in I tried to get him to agree, but he refused. I asked if he was Jewish. “My mother’s maiden name was Silberstein. What do you think? He walked away smiling, but insistent, “No.”

     As he was walking out I called out loudly, “Silberstein, come put on tefillin.” He turned, walked over, and said, “If you can remember my name, I can put on tefillin.”

     Personally, I think he was looking for an excuse to put them on. He was very warm, and once he said, yes, he was totally cooperative.

     What happens when a Jew refuses to do a mitzvah? Something is going on inside. Why should anyone refuse? The mitzvahs are pleasant. Usually, something happened to turn them off. Maybe an overly insistent parent, or a negative experience with a teacher. It could be something as simple as a friend of theirs didn’t like tefillin and this influenced them. Whatever?

     Our job is to try to talk to their neshamas (soul). Obviously, the spiritual side of every Jew wants to do something that helps to reveal Hashem in their lives. It is the animal who yells out, “No!” And we have to somehow bypass the animal so we can reach their soul.

 

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