Friday, November 18, 2011


Tour Guides, Providing Direction?

at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

image(Picture - A tour guide (in the new “traditional” tour guide costume) talks to a customer.)

      I did it again! I got some American tourists really upset at me. A tour guide brought eight older American men to the Kotel. Only two of them were willing to put on tefillin. You know what a great time they can have when they put on tefillin at the Kotel, so it is really frustrating when they refuse, especially when they refuse almost with anger.

     Six of them wouldn’t listen no matter what I said, and the tour guide was of no help at all. Obviously, he has to be on “their side,” what with them paying him to show them around.

     They walked away and I yelled after them, “You didn’t come here to look at the stones. Come have a spiritual experience!” They kept walking, and even showed me that they were resentful that I was still trying to convince them. “You blew it, bozo!” I yelled out.

     That didn’t help at all. The tour guide came to Shmuli to complain that the tourists were made to feel uncomfortable. Okay, so maybe I do get a little excited, but if you really knew how important it is for these non-religious, American men to put on tefillin and pray at the Kotel, you would get excited, too. In less than two minutes they can have a spiritual experience that will change their lives, and their family’s lives, too!

    The tour guide had a complaint against me, well, I have one against him. He should have spoken to them about the spiritual reality of this place, not just the stones. For him to bring those Americans here and not explain to them that they really should put on tefillin, and instead, only show them the history of the Wall, is like taking them to a fancy restaurant to see the silverware. Obviously, you go to a restaurant because you are hungry, and want to taste the great food. Well, the “food” at the Kotel is a million times better.

    The tour guide fixed them up with a Friday night meal in the Old City, something to add color to their trip. It just so happened that they went to dinner at Shmuli’s father-in-law’s house. They were so surprised to see Shmuli’s smiling face come walking in the door. This smoothed over any leftover hard feelings. (I hope)

     Each time we try, we learn more about the “business.” Maybe, someday I will figure out how to get Jews like these, too.


  1. Did you really yell, "You blew it, Bozo?"

    I can't believe that. You obviously have a lot of ahavas Yisrael. No one will do a mitzvah when called "bozo." Anyway, they aren't bozos, they're blocked through no fault of their own -- well, not much fault of their own, anyway. I think you are exaggerating for the sake of humor.

  2. Tali,
    if you follow the blog and get to know Rav Guttman, you'll understand that little old men can get away with a lot more than the younger people who are expected to constrain themselves. I can't use 80% of the bag of tricks that Rav Guttman has, but there is that 80% that is so valuable.

    What I liked about the post is the Fri night old city dinner. I've done this a few times about 20 years ago and I still remember it until this day. One of the meals was with two older guys and a bunch of students like myself then, and am wondering if one of the men was Rav Guttman - is it possible you hosted meals like that?

  3. Josh, i wonder if the 2 older guys were Rocky and Gutman (who is called Gil by his friends) My old friend Rocky is gone now. Read Coming Back to Earth. You will like it.
    Be well,


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