He came into the Kotel area with an older guy who definitely did not look Jewish. The older guy had a huge silver hook ringed through his bottom lip and when he opened his mouth you could see other silver ornaments piecing his tongue or cheek! The younger one had five or six golden earrings piercing his ears. I couldn't tell if he was Jewish. I asked,
"Where are you from?"
"Boca Raton, Florida."
"Is your mother Jewish?"
"You sure she's Jewish?"
"Then come put on tefillin. I'll help you. Did you ever do this before?"
"Yeah, one time in the Mall in Boca some guy did it to me."
(G-d bless Chabad)
"Why did you come to Israel?"
"My grandmother visited here."
He showed strong attachment for his grandmother. He told me that his father was not Jewish.
After reading the Shema I showed him how to pray for his family, and I told him if he wanted he could send his grandmother a present.
"Go stand by the Kotel and ask Hashem to give the merit of your doing this mitzvah to your grandmother."
He liked that.
When we were taking off the tefillin I asked him what was the reason for all of the earrings piercing his ears.
"I can't get tattoos! They're forbidden."
How is it that a totally non-religious boy with a non-Jewish father and his "free" background would ever care that the Torah forbids tattoos?
I explained, "Holes in your ear are not much better."
"If a Jew would steal something and couldn't pay back for what he had stolen the court would sell that Jew as a slave to another Jew for six years, then he goes free. But if he doesn't want to go free, and says that he wants to remain a slave, then his master pierces his ear and that is a sign that he is a slave forever."
He didn't look happy hearing that.
The entire time I spoke with him I had the feeling that I was talking to a Jewish soul that was captured and being held prisoner inside a non-Jewish body. When I looked at the husk, (the outside, the body, and way he has lived his life) it didn't seem Jewish, but when I looked in his eyes it seemed like there was a Jew hiding in there.
He walked away with the older guy, and I wondered where is he going to go, both doors are open to him. I guess it will depend on how hard his grandmother is praying for him.