Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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Cold Indifference


    by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     He's an Israeli teen. When I asked him to come put on tefillin he looked at me as if he did not know what I was talking about.

     "Come… tefillin!"

     "Why?" he shrugged his shoulders.

     "'Why?' It's a mitzvah."

     "No, we don't do that." He looked surprised that I would even suggest such a thing.

     "But you're Jewish. Is your mother Jewish?"

     "Yeah, but we don't do that."

      He looked at the tefillin coldly, as if they were something from a different country, a strange culture.

     "How old are you?"

     "Sixteen."

     "Did you have a bar mitzvah?"

     "Sure, right here."

     "Did you put on tefillin then?"

     "Yeah, but that was the only time. We don't do it."

     "You're a Jew and you came to the Kotel for some reason. Are you right handed?"

      He nodded, "Yes."

      I pulled his arm and pushed up his sleeve. He said the blessing and read the Shema indifferently, zero interest, zero emotion. Unaffected.

     When he finished I moved him to the side and said, "Now for the important part. When you do a mitzvah anywhere in the world, and all the more so at the Kotel, it opens up a spiritual opportunity. It's as if the Gate to Heaven opens and Hashem is listening to you with both ears. Pray for your family, for our soldiers, for the Jews in danger. Talk to Hashem."

     For some reason he took what I said seriously. He stared up above the Kotel and perhaps for the first time in his life, he sincerely talked to Hashem. He was genuine, but as if he was saying, "Okay I'll look." You can see from the picture how intense he was.

     When he finished a few minutes later, he walked back over to me. He was looking down at the ground. Then he looked up,… he looked me in the eye and he melted. He smiled for the first time and said, "Thank you."

    He looked like an entirely different person. The cold indifference was replaced with warm kindness. He shook my hand and thanked me again.

     I asked him his name.

     He said, "Noam."

     I asked, "What does Noam mean?"

     He answered, "Pleasant."

     I motioned to him with both my hands as if saying, "This is really what you really are." He smiled warmly again.

     As much as he got out of it… I think I got even more.

 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

you're so great! Wonderful story! You're a real warrior!! I'd like to only dare speaking w/ those secular people w/o fear of being thrown away like an old obscurantist religious people... Not so simple to do what you are doing!

Anonymous said...

DITTO to above Anonymous. Beautiful.

Shows you the pintele Yid in every Jew. These poor youth living in Eretz HaKodesh and r'l do not know a thing of who, why they are. It's not their fault but the fault firstly, of the education system in the public schools in Eretz Hakodesh which years ago took out even the minute amount of Jewish history and Nach that was taught; all to be like the nations and be a 'demock'racy' and throw away our heritage, chas v'sholom. Your great mitzvah of waking them up with Tefillin and the kiruv being done these days are of the utmost importance. May every Jew, young and old, return in teshuvah and immediately Moshiach is here. A big Yasher Koach, Reb Gutman!

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