Thursday, December 01, 2011


I Did Better Than You!

at the Kotel with Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths


     This boucher (yeshiva student) had never helped a Jew to put on tefillin before. He came up to me while I was putting tefillin on someone at the Kotel, and stood by the side, watching with his arms folded over his chest.

     When I was free, I gave him my standard “fallen donkey” and “lost item” talk:

     “If you see a Jew with a donkey, and the donkey falls down, what are you going to do?”

     “I would help him to pick it up, like the Torah says,” he said, wondering why I would ask such a simple question.

    “What if you find a lost wallet with a guy’s name in it, what would you do?”

    “Obviously, I would return it, like you’re supposed to.”

    Then I let him have it. “If you would help him to pick up his fallen physical donkey, and I know that you would, then all the more so, shouldn’t you help pick up his fallen spiritual donkey?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Here you are, standing at the Kotel watching Jews walk by, and many of them have never put on tefillin once in their lives. And you are standing here with your arms folded over your chest. Why you are not helping them to pick up their fallen spiritual donkeys? Why are you not returning their lost souls? Aren’t their souls worth more than their wallets?”

     The students always understand and smile, but still, they are too embarrassed to actually do anything. So when I put tefillin on the next guy, I physically pull them over, hand them the tefillin, and tell them to put them to put them on. That is what you see in this picture with the soldier.

     Now, for the story:

     This boucher came up to me Shabbos night at the Kotel and asked, “Do you remember me? You sent me a picture of me putting tefillin on someone. Well, I was just on a trip, and I was in the airport in Antwerp. I saw this guy who looked Jewish, so I went over and asked him. He said that he was. I asked him if he had put on tefillin yet. He said that he hadn’t put on tefillin since his bar mitzvah! It turned out that he was a grandson of a big Chassidic rebbe.”

     “I told him that he was going to put tefillin on now. He said, ‘No,’ but he followed me when I went to get the tefillin. I put them on him right there in the airport. Ha! You put tefillin on people here at the Kotel where it’s easy. I put them on a guy at the airport in Antwerp! I did better than you!”

     I smacked him on his arm and said, “You’re absolutely right. You did better than I do! You’re great. Wow! And I bet that helping him made both of you happy, too.”

     He was beaming. And so was I. Every teacher loves it when his student out does him.


  1. May all your efforts at ahavat yisrael breed results in shamayim for you and the land of israel and jews everywhere who could learn a lot from you on many things especially your constant desire to help your fellow btzelem elohime especially jew . Rav kooke used to say to aryeh levine if there were 10 jews like you in the world mashiach would come . I believe if there were 5 shlomo carlbachs mashiach would come !

  2. wow, what if many of the observant jews at the kotel started helping you reb gutman!!! B"H that would be amazing!!!

    yashar koach gadol!!


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