by Gutman Locks
They came to Israel on a University of California Alumni trip. Most were Jewish, but not all. When they came into the Kotel area Dovid, the Russian Chabadnik at the tefillin stand tried to get them to put on tefillin, but they were adamant…,”NO!”
On their way out, Dovid called me over and I started joking with them. That softened them up. One of them said that he had never put on tefillin before, not once in his life. I pulled on him saying, “You have such a warm face… come, I’ll help you.” You can see from the picture that I was not lying.
He gave in and he let me help him. He could not stop smiling. When the others saw him having such a good time, they gave in, too.
What’s the point of the story? The soul of the Jew always wants to do the mitzvah, but often the Jew’s animal inclination does not want to cooperate. It might just be lazy, or embarrassed because it doesn’t understand tefillin…, you never know why it would refuse to do a good thing. It is our job to coax his animal inclination into cooperating.
Then, when it does, we must be sure that the Jew has a warm and special time, so next time he and his animal will say, “Yes,” right away.