It happened on Mivtzoyim...

Sunday, 6 March, 2011 - 2:30 pm

Each Friday afternoon, the students utilize their free time to visit workplaces, shopping centres and offices, in order to share a word of Torah with fellow Jews, and to encourage them to fulfil an extra Mitzvah, be it Tefillin, Shabbos candles, or charity. Some of the students also visit patients in area hospitals and homes, offering a word of encouragement and sympathy in their time of distress.

Yisroel Halon and Shaul Yachad related the following incident that occurred one week on Mivtzoyim. (All names are pseudonyms.)

Abe is the owner of a gym, and one of our regular “clients”. On one particular Friday, we encouraged Abe to put on Tefillin, but he did not feel up to it. Instead, we conversed with him for a little while, and wished him a good Shabbos.

Afterwards, we approached Eve, a Jewish patron of the gym. We began conversing with her, and Eve related that whilst vacationing in California, she enjoyed a leisurely afternoon stroll with her teenage son. As they passed through an outdoor mall, the pair noticed a young Lubavitcher Rabbi eying them. As they came closer, the young Rabbi introduced himself, and politely asked the teenage son whether he would be willing to put on Tefillin. The reply was in the affirmative, and the teenage son began “wrapping up”. Eve proudly looked on, when she suddenly felt a touch at her shoulder. Looking sideways, she saw another woman, overcome with emotion and unable to speak. After several moments, the woman finally calmed down enough to introduce herself as Hannah, and to explain the reason for her outburst. Hannah had been struggling with the fact that Judaism meant nothing to her only son, to the extent that he had not even been interested in celebrating his Bar-Mitzvah. Hannah was overcome with emotion upon seeing a Jew proud of his Jewishness – proud enough to publicly lay Tefillin in the midst of a bustling outdoor Californian Mall.

As Eve approached the conclusion of her story, we realized that we weren’t her only audience. Abe had been listening all along, and he turned to us, saying, “Maybe I will put those Tefillin on today, after all.”

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