by Reb Gutman Locks
Why do we try to help Jews to put on tefillin, especially at the Kotel? Of course it is a mitzvah, both for him to put them on, and for us to try to help him, but what I am asking is; what is our hope? What do we think we will accomplish by bringing him to this mitzvah. It is usually the only time I ever see them. What can a single mitzvah ever accomplish? Surely it does good in Heaven, but does it make any difference here on Earth?
Paul is an American Jew who had only put on tefillin once before. He was visiting the Kotel from Ohio, and was not at all interested in putting on tefillin, but with a little persuasion, he agreed.
You can see from the picture what happened. He did not have a camera, so I took this picture and sent it to him. Here is his response,…which answers our question; Why do we try to help Jews to put on tefillin?
We want them to remember their spiritual life, and then to go on and do something about it. It is only through the joyful performance of a mitzvah will they want to do that mitzvah again,…and the more times they do it, the better the chance that they will realize that there is a spiritual purpose to life.
Thank you Gutman. You can see the joy on my face. I left the Kotel elated and energized and feeling more connected to my dad and my Jewish history. I do pray often and will think of yesterday when I do.
And why does Gutman send these stories to you? Obviously, the hope is to motivate you to reach out to the people you meet in your neighborhood.