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Soul Meetings




Jerusalem, London, New York and Miami
Whats the connection?

By Rabbi Bentzion Rader

In 1967, soon after the Six Day War, when the Rebbe introduced what was to be the first of the ten "Mivtzah" Campaigns, "Mivtzah Tefillin" - to don with all Jews Tefillin, an acquaintance asked me why the Rebbe had particularly chosen Tefillin. "Why not a more universal campaign such as kashrus?" he asked. Later that year, when in Yechidus, I asked the Rebbe why he had chosen Tefillin. The Rebbe answered: "There were two reasons: The first was that there is a tractate in the Talmud of Rosh Hashonah which says that once a Jew puts on a Shel Rosh (the Tefillin placed on the head) he falls into a different category. The second was that a Jew in Miami who sees pictures of Jews at the Western Wall wearing Tefillin gets an urge to put on Tefillin himself.

In 1974, I received a call from an American, non-Jewish, who many years previously had been in business in England and who had been a client of my accountancy firm. The person was now in business in Miami and their American accountant wanted to discuss certain aspects of their business with me. Would it be possible for me to come to Miami and have a meeting with him?

I agreed and some weeks later went to Miami. I arrived very late at night and the meeting was to be an early breakfast meeting the next day. I stayed in an apartment adjoining that of my client. The next morning my ex-client's partner, thinking that I might oversleep through being jet-lagged knocked at my door and receiving no answer came in to wake me. He saw me praying in prayer shawl and Tefillin and went out.

The American accountant, who was Jewish, arrived for the meeting and everyone sat down to breakfast but I only had some orange juice. The accountant enquired why I wasn't eating and the client said that I only ate kosher. The American accountant expressed surprise so the other person said: I went to call him for the meeting and he was praying in a prayer shawl and with "things" on his head. The American accountant asked: "You put on Tefillin?" I answered: "Yes! Don't you?" He then said: "I haven't put on Tefillin since I was Bar Mitzvah in New York fifty years ago, but recently I saw a photograph of Jews at the Western Wall wearing Tefillin and had an urge to put on Tefillin myself."

Almost the exact words that the Rebbe had said to me over seven years earlier.

After the meeting he put on Tefillin in my apartment.


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