Why Should I buy Tefillin?
In answer to a number of emails sent to me privately – in case anyone is wondering if the historical/holocaust emotional stuff really works let me tell you of something that happened to my son R’ Eli Gutnick here in Melbourne this past Elul.
Eli is our sofer here in Melbourne and he regularly speaks to Bar Mitzvah boys and their fathers about Tephilin – shows them how they’re made etc. After addressing one school group during this past Elul one very sceptical father talks to him and finishes with “Give me one good reason that will convince me, a totally non-practicing Jew, to fork out money to buy a pair of tephillin for my son.”
Without saying a word Eli takes out his iphone and brings up the famous picture of the barefooted yid standing next to a line of bodies (he was reportedly reciting Kaddish) He is wrapped in a Tallis and broken-open tephillin are prominently on his head and arm. A group of grinning and laughing Nazi soldiers are standing around him posing with the Jew they are about to murder.
The father looks at the picture for a good few minutes then looks up at Eli and says “How much is your most expensive pair....?”
It’s an appropriate thought for Yizkor – with the usual lesson that we who say Yizkor should reassure the neshomos of our parents and Kedoshim who join us for those special moments that we and our children are Thank G-d able to put on Tallis and Tephillin and pledge greater commitment to do so and to generally carry on the heritage we have received from them. We need to be able to tell them proudly that we are part of assuring that “Am Yisroel Chai....”.