Sunday, November 22, 2015

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Leverage

​   by Reb Gutman Locks    
  

Leverage

 

     Whenever you help a single person you help the entire world. The world is one so any improvement helps the world right then and it also spreads to unknown lengths.

     Having said that, still, when you help someone whose life is focused on helping others you gain tremendous leverage. In fact, you should be on the lookout for such opportunities. But be careful, often great opportunities happen so suddenly that you are not prepared for them and a gorgeous opportunity can quickly slide by leaving you kicking yourself saying "I blew it again!" But, thank G-d, sometimes we succeed.

     I was on my way to the Kotel in the afternoon when a tour-guide-instructor stopped me on a narrow, Old City street. He had a group of some 30 young men and women with him. He asked me if I would say something to them. I look at such moments as great opportunities and I quickly ran through my list of stories or subjects to tell them but nothing came to mind.

     I agreed, but asked, "Where are they from?" hoping to get an idea of what to say. He told me that they are all Israeli tour-guides.

     He gave me a grand introduction telling them one of the more nutty things that I am infamous for having done, and although I should be embarrassed by it, it does get the group's attention. I thought again what to say and then it came to me. I said to him, "Okay, I have what to say."

     I began, "Let's say you're taking a group of Birthright[i] kids to a Disco bar in Tel Aviv at midnight. Do you think that you should give them a charedi [ii] tour-guide to introduce them to the nightlife there? No Way! You have to give them a guide who knows the scene, someone who can give them the best experience possible."

     They all smiled their agreement, but then their expressions quickly changed when they heard my next question.

     "Okay, let's change scenes and ask; what about bringing them to the Kotel? Do you think that you should give them an anti-religious Israeli tour-guide to show them the Kotel? When we ask the boys to put on tefillin they ask their guide if they should do it. What do you think the anti-religious guide is going to say? 'Well, I don't do that kind of stuff. I mean you can do it if you want, but it doesn't make you any more of a Jew to do it. It's just something some ultra religious Jews, do but we don't.' Obviously, they are not going to let us help them to put on tefillin. But what if the guide says, 'Sure, why not? Maybe if you try it with a good heart you might have a meaningful experience. After all, we didn't come here just to look at the stones of the Wall.' Then the chances are greater that the group will learn to love our ways and our Land which is what all of us want for them. Give them the best you can."

     I waved and smiled at them and walked away. As I walked on I evaluated what happened. Those thirty young Israeli tour-guides are going to bring guests to the Kotel many times a year for the next thirty or forty years. Each of them will most likely bring way more than a few thousand Jews to the Kotel throughout their careers. That means that my little talk may have changed the lives of many tens of thousands of Jews coming to the Kotel! I had to fight to hold back the tears when I realized what just happened.

      



[i]  A wonderful free program that brings Jews from other countries to Israel 

[ii]  Ultra religious, black-hat, bearded Jew

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