It was very cold and rainy. I was standing to the side, by the bookshelves outside next to the Kotel men's entrance looking for some Jews to help with tefillin. The Kotel was almost completely empty.
After a half an hour or so I said, "I might as well go inside where it is warm. I am not helping anyone here today. Ah…I'll wait a few more minutes. Maybe I can help someone."
So I waited. It was cold. Finally a platoon of soldiers came running in, but almost all of them had already put on tefillin that day. The one or two who had not yet put them on knew how to do it by themselves.
"It's cold!" I yelled. "Okay, just a few more minutes."
Right then a Jew in his 60's walked by. I called out to him, "Did you put on tefillin today?"
He was an Iranian living many years in California. "Yes, I put them on in the morning."
Then he walked over to me and asked, "Tell me, is there a place to give charity at the Kotel?"
"You can give it here to the Kotel," I pointed to the Kotel charity box, "or to the Kotel tefillin stand if you like."
"Oh, for the tefillin?"
He handed me an open envelope filled with what seemed to be maybe forty one-dollar bills. It is a custom to give someone coming to Israel charity to give here. It is a special mitzvah to help the Jews who live in the Land. Also, giving the traveler charity to deliver makes him a messenger on a mitzvah errand and this helps to protect him on his journey. I took the envelope and asked, "What do you want me to do with this?"
He said, "Do whatever you like."
Shmuli was standing right there so I immediately handed him the envelope saying, "This is for the Chabad tefillin stand."
Shmuli took it and the man said, "Oh, Chabad", and he reached in his pocket and took out another envelope and handed it to me. I handed that envelope to Shmuli too.
The man asked us to pray for a sick relative so Shmuli took him inside and helped him. Latter Shmuli came back and said, "It looks like all one-dollar bills, but it all helps. Barouch Hashem."
I went inside to wait for maariv (evening prayers) and a few minutes later Shmuli sat next to me and said, "There was $700 in the envelopes!"
Barouch Hashem. Chabad at the Kotel, like all other locations, always needs help paying the salaries of their staff. They are all married with lots of kids. Thank G-d I stayed for a few more minutes to let Hashem give me the gift of being able to help. Barouch Hashem.