Thursday, April 20, 2017

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   by Reb Gutman Locks   


     I asked the younger boy who the man standing next to him was.

    "That's my father."

     I told the father to put his right hand his son's head and to repeat the blessing. Then I had him say out loud what he wanted G-d to give the boy. When he finished I asked the father who the other boy was,

     "They're twins. He is 15 minutes older than his brother."

      You surely couldn't tell it by looking at them. I had him bless the "older" boy too. Then I asked who the other man was.

     "That's my father." I had the grandfather bless his son and say out loud what he wanted G-d to give his son.

      Having them bless their children is a wonderful thing. It is not only a mitzvah but it opens their hearts and has them feel love for their children at the Kotel. It can get quite emotional at times.

     Then I tried to get the older man to put on tefillin but he refused,

     "No, I haven't put them on for 70 years and I am not going to do it now either!"

     "Yes you are. It's a mitzvah! Come on I'll help you."

      I pulled him but he wouldn't budge. Then his son jumped in and tried to defend his father.

      I yelled at him, "How can you try to stop your father from doing a mitzvah!"

     Then I asked the grandfather where he was when he last put on tefillin.

      "Shanghai. I was born in Austria and we fled to Shanghai. I had my bar mitzvah in Shanghai and I put on tefillin for a while but then I told my Grandmother that I would never put on tefillin again and I haven't."

      "It's a mitzvah and you are at the Kotel with your family. You have to show your grandchildren the right thing to do." I pulled his arm, rolled up his sleeve and had him repeat the blessing.

     He remembered some of the blessing from somewhere. Then I put tefillin on the boys and their father and had them all read the Shema.

     Their wives and daughters were standing behind the low wall by the entrance. They told their tour guide to put prayer shawls on them. I could see them smiling, and their cameras flashing. They loved it.

     I explained how doing a mitzvah anywhere in the world opens the door to Heaven, this means that a spiritual opportunity comes, and all the more so does it open when you do a mitzvah at the Kotel.

     "Close your eyes and picture everyone you love one at a time with light on their faces and smiling, and ask G-d to bless them. Then thank Him for all the good that He has given you… ask Him to protect the Jews in danger…. Take a couple of minutes and talk to G-d in your heart"

     That's what they were doing when I took the picture.

     When they were finished we took more pictures and the old man didn't want to take the tefillin off. He walked around, waved at the girls; he was having a great time.

    When they were leaving I said, "You did great."

    The Grandfather yelled back, "You did great," and they walked away with warm memories and great pictures of their visit to the Kotel.

    Maybe I will never see them again, but they certainly are in the family photo album now.



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