Personal Stories

Be Prepared

I have a habit of always taking my tefillin with me wherever I go. I sometimes wonder to myself if it’s just an obsession or if it’s really positive as I believe it is. So G-d sent me His answer.

I work in Odessa and I needed a taxi ride once. I got into the cab with my Tefillin I take everywhere. The driver sees I’m Jewish and he says he’s catholic and takes out a heavy gold cross he wears on a necklace. We talk a bit and then he tells me his mother is living in Bat Yam, Israel for the past 20 years. I ask: “Is she Jewish?” He answers: “Of course she is!” Just to make sure I ask: “Was her mother Jewish?” And he answers “of course!” I told him “I have news for you; you are also Jewish because it goes according to the mother.” He was awestruck and we kept on talking until the end of the ride. When we reached my destination I asked him if he wanted to put on the Tefillin and he put on tefillin for the first time in his whole life. He cried emotionally when he put the tefillin on.

I thought, here is my answer! I had my tefillin ready for another Jew to put on and was able to participate in a huge mitzvah of helping someone discover he was Jewish. It’s like the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared” but my version of it is: “If you’re prepared you’ll be rewarded”.  I saw here I was rewarded for being prepared and that’s the end of the story… or so I thought.

The next morning I needed a taxi to get to the Chabad House in Odessa for the morning prayers. My normal rides didn’t materialize so I called up this driver who came and picked me up. When we got to the synagogue he said to me: “You know, I told my father that I found out that I’m really Jewish even though he’s not, and I put on those black boxes called Tefillin and my father broke down crying. He told me he always hid his identity to protect himself and the family but he too was really Jewish and he wanted to know if I could get him a prayer book so he could start praying again like a Jew!

It was my turn to be surprised! I got him a prayer book from the Chabad House and the answer to my question reverberated through me; “When you’re prepared you’ll be rewarded!”

So be prepared when G-d asks you to do something, you’ll be rewarded for it!


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