Tuesday, November 06, 2018

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A Family Event

   by Reb Gutman Locks   


     Shmuli put tefillin on a tourist who was visiting the Kotel with his family. He is a doctor from America. After he read the Shema, Shmuli brought him and his two small sons over to me to have the father bless his children.  

     I showed the father how to give the special blessing to his young boys and had him add to the blessing all the things he wanted Hashem to give them.

     Then I showed them how to talk to G-d in their hearts by praying for their loved ones and for all the good things they want Hashem to do. The kids did a great job. They really knew that they were talking to Hashem.    

     When they finished, I told the boys, "When you grow up you have to marry only a Jewish girl or your mother will break both your legs." I explained why they had to marry only Jewish girls.  

     I told them that whenever they hear a rule they should try to understand why the rule is like it is, "If you understand why that's the rule you will want to follow it instead of thinking that it's just another rule."

     I explained how we are a people, not a religion and that the mother determines what people we belong to.

     For a moment my mind floated up and I saw an old religious man passing on to these two small children the traditions that have been handed down like this for 4,000 years… especially when the weekly Torah portion is stressing the same thing. I had to grab hold or I would have broken down and would not have been able to continue.

     I told the father that we have to take a picture. He said that his wife had the camera, and then he saw her standing behind the low wall that separates the tourists from the prayer area. I brought them over in front of her to have their pictures taken.   

     His wife was there with their daughter, and his mother in law. They were all smiling huge smiles. They took a bunch of pictures of the father with tefillin on and with the boys smiling. The boys called out to their mother saying they had to marry Jewish girls, or, "You'll break our legs!" they all laughed.

     After the pictures we spoke some and they left.

     What's the point? Their experience with tefillin at the Kotel was surely the highlight of their day, if not of their entire trip. They enjoyed themselves very much doing a mitzvah.  

     If all you are doing when you help others to do a mitzvah is just the mechanics of the commandment, and not showing them how to have a good time doing it, you are not fulfilling your duty… And all the more so, are you supposed to have a good time when you do a mitzvah, or else you will not be able to show them how to enjoy the mitzvahs either.



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