Haaretz journalist Benny Tzipper used to urge readers not to put on tefillin and was alarmed about Chabad young men asking innocent men to put on tefillin (as if it was a crime!). But that’s all history as Benny himself must have ‘caved in’ and was seen wearing tefillin at the Kotel.
The K’far Chabad weekly journal publicized this story as part of the Tefillin Campaign they’re doing. Chabad volunteers shared their experiences asking men to put on tefillin and the photo of Benny Tzipper wearing tefillin ended up in headlines.
The picture shows Benny near the Kotel at a Chabad tefillin booth. The volunteer asked Benny if he would want to put on tefillin and he said yes uncharacteristically. “Before leavening he thanked me for the opportunity to put tefillin on at the kotel” the volunteer said.
10 years ago this same Benny Tzipper wrote offensive things jeering about secular Jews who give in to the ‘sweet words’ of the Chabad
volunteers and stop to put on tefillin at their booths. “Wake up secular Jews; enough of being a chased down minority! Don’t put on tefillin on the street and don’t give in to these ‘soul trappers’ who wait in ambush on streets and in malls using the false explanation of ‘you’re Jewish’.”
But today thank G-d things are different and Tzipper feels differently and shares his changed feelings. He told B’chadrei Charedim (an orthodox news website) “I put on Tefillin occasionally and every time I go to the Kotel and put on tefillin my prayers are answered. Today I am a man that believes in G-d’s existence, but I haven’t yet come back in repentance.”
We hope he soon does but his message is still relevant, don’t be afraid to try it!