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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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The Power Of Chesed And Tefillin

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Jewish men are obligated to put on their tefillin from bar mitzvah age every morning to bind their mind, their heart and soul and connect to Hashem and to judge one’s own action before they go out and start their day. Here is an inspiring story.

My brother-in-law had a business associate in Miami. He was very well accomplished and was doing really well financially. My brother-in-law was becoming more observant and was sharing his spiritual journey with him. He was very passionate about his morning rituals and while speaking to his friend one day, he asked him, “Why don’t you start putting on your tefillin every morning? You are after all Jewish.” His friend was very reluctant with this idea. After all his life was going great and peaceful. He did not own a pair of tefillin and hadn’t a clue how to and where to begin. My brother-in-law did not give up so easily and told him that he would get in touch with a rabbi close to his home and would take care of everything. All he had to do was keep an open mind and commit to putting on tefillin and his friend agreed.

He got busy searching for a Chabad synagogue in close proximity to him. He called Chabad in Fort Lauderdale and the rabbi answered. He explained to him the situation and told him that he would buy a pair of tefillin for his friend and all he had to do is bring it to him, show him how to put it on and teach him the obligation of Shema Yisrael.

Needless to say, it was done and they formed a great relationship as his friend and mentor. He started attending services and volunteered his time all along putting on tefillin.

Two years later to date, my brother-in-law gets a phone call from his friend to thank him for buying him a pair of tefillin that not only changed his life but saved him from a long term jail sentence. He tells him the following:

“It has been a while we haven’t spoken. I got involved with some business deals and red flagged the SEC and FBI. I lost everything and had to defend myself but it really looked bad and with certainty, I will have to serve time. I was putting on tefillin from that first day the rabbi came to my house and kept doing it with such fervor and now more so since my luck turned for the worse. I pray to Hashem for his guidance and strength. It is going to take a miracle and a miracle happened in a blink of an eye.

“The day of my judgment, my rabbi wanted to attend but had no one to watch his child. I was nervous and anxious, my lawyer called me up to the podium as the judge started to dictate all my wrongdoings, what a terrible person I am and that I am going away for a long time. Surprisingly, my rabbi came through the doors, stood behind us and started reading Tehillim, the Book of Psalms. The judge looks through his papers and sees that I have been volunteering for the rabbi and his synagogue for several years. All of a sudden, the judge looks up to me and then to the rabbi and says to him, ‘I see that you have been volunteering for your synagogue and that your rabbi came to the court date and is praying for you here. Rabbi, you took your precious time to be here and help him. If you gave him a chance, then I will give him one, too. Sir, since it is your first offense, no jail time, with a small fine and house arrest for six months.’ The lawyer could not believe the judge’s change of heart.”

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Needless to say, it was done and they formed a great relationship as his friend and mentor. He started attending services and volunteered his time all along putting on tefillin.

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I have realized in the last few months that the friends and acquaintances in our lives are there for a very special reason. It is clear that we are in relationships to help each other at different times in our lives.

I was thinking of my mother today. I realized that I still have much to learn from this wise woman. G‑d blessed me with my special mother who serves as my role model, my caretaker, my friend, and above all, my inspiration.

Ask and you shall receive! If you want something, ask your spouse, your children, your family and friends. When all else fails, ask Hashem! What do we really need? Let’s be honest. We have food on our tables and a roof over our heads. We have family and friends who are true to us.

I have a story to share with you – one that might change the way we look at every detail of our lives, labeling them coincidences or miracles. You be the judge!

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