Tuesday, July 17, 2012

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A Chassidic Teacher

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths


     A bubbly Chassid came up to me at the Kotel early this morning. “Do you remember me? Do you remember me?” It had been well over 15 years since I have seen him. He told me his name, my senior’s memory kicked in, and I remembered who he was. He used to come to my house for Shabbos dinner 15 years ago when he was a student here in Jerusalem.

     He is a gifted cheder rebbe. This means that he is very successful at teaching young boys Torah. This is an extremely valuable talent. The cheder rebbes impart feelings in children that can last their entire lifetime. He lives and teaches in Borough Park, New York, a mostly religious neighborhood.

     He was very happy to tell me that he and some of his friends are now putting tefillin on nonreligious Jews. This is something that they would not be doing had he not come with me to the Kotel and seen how important, and possible it is to help non religious Jews in this way.

     He told me that the school wants to move him from teaching sixth graders to teaching ninth graders. He asked me if he should do it.

     I told him that the ninth grade is a very important year, “By then the boys are starting to look elsewhere… beginning to leave Torah and stray after secular pleasures.”

     He corrected me, “That’s already happening in the sixth grade now!”

     “You have to go where you are needed the most,” I told him.

      He insisted that he is needed in both places.

      I said, “Then you have to teach others to be like you. You will be able to reach ten times more children if you teach ten other men to be like you.”

     He smiled. It was an entirely new idea for him. Then he asked, “How many other “Gutmans” do you have out there?”

     I said, “Thank G-d, there are a bunch of them, and some of them are doing a better job than I am.”

    He marveled at the idea of teaching others to teach like he does. If he will listen, not only will he help many more children, but as long as his teachers and students continue to do the good things that he taught them, then his portion will continually increase.

      For those who would like to ensure a comfortable, and growing place in the World to Come, know that whenever you help someone who goes on to help someone else, then, even if you are already in the next world, you will share in those good deeds, too. Your portion will increase no matter where you are.


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