by Reb Gutman Locks
He was the warmest, nicest, Israeli guy you could ever meet, even though he would not put on tefillin. When he first came into the Kotel area I tried to get him but he laughed at the idea and hurried by.
A few minutes later, as he was leaving, I tried again. Same response; "No Way!, with a big smile.
He kept walking away, but I didn't give up.
I called after him, "Come it only takes a minute. It won't hurt! It's a good thing."
I yelled at least a half a dozen things that have sometimes worked in the past. Nothing got him. He kept walking away. Then, for whatever reason, even though he was already way past me, he stopped, looked back and said, "I don't know how."
"That's what I'm here for."
He came back, and I helped him. He read the prayers, and prayed for his family, and for the soldiers. He didn't rush. When he finished he told me, "I haven't put them on since my bar mitzvah."
I asked him how old he was.
He said, "Sixty"
Like any other "business," you learn what works and what doesn't work, and you use the tools that work.
Just then, a fine young rabbi who just started working a couple of hours a day at the Kotel came over. His job is to try to get men to start learning Torah with a study partner over the telephone. They can learn as few or as many hours as they want. It's really a wonderful idea. Yeshiva students call them at the times they set, and they learn a page or two of the Talmud, or whatever they are interested in learning. Whoever dreamed this one up surely has a nice place reserved in the World to Come.
He asked, "Is it better to try to get them when they are coming in, or when they are going out?"
I told him, "When they come in. Then, if you don't get them, you get another shot at them when they are on the way out. Each time you try it softens them up, so the more you try the better."
I gave him a couple of other little "hints". "Remember, you're not allowed to push, but you are allowed to pull. Don't give them a chance to say 'no.'"
He didn't understand so I explained, "Instead, of asking, 'Do you want to do this? say, 'Come do this.' If you ask, 'Do you want to?' they will be truthful and say 'No,' because they really do not want to. But if you say, 'Come do this,' there is a better chance to get them to agree. This is pulling, but not pushing.
It's like being a salesman for Hashem, only you get paid whether you make the sale or not, just so you try.