Unusual Day at the Kotel

    January 2009            
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guy with kilt at kotel wearing tephilin


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A Double First

By Gutman Locks

How many times have you put tefillin on a guy who was wearing a skirt? Really, I know this sounds totally strange but almost anything can happen at the Kotel.

A couple of days ago I saw a guy walking up to the Kotel wearing a skirt. Once in a while you see those big, brown, friendly guys from Fiji come in wearing something that looks like skirts, but they are really table cloths – well, they look like table cloths. But those big guys from Fiji don't seem so weird wearing table cloths. But this guy wasn't from Fiji.

To tell you the truth, it looked like he had made a big mistake when he got dressed in the morning. He was about my size, had really white skin, was almost red-headed and had light, almost blue eyes.

I mentally checked to see if it was the “alternative-sexual-appreciation” parade day here, but it wasn't. So what was this guy doing walking into the holiest place in the world where we can go, wearing a skirt?

He did not look Jewish, not at all. I didn’t talk to him when he came in, but when he was on his way out I walked over.

"How are you?”

He was very friendly. He flashed a broad smile.

“Goot.” He replied with an unusual accent.

“How come you're wearing a skirt?" I asked.

"Ot's noot a skurt!" He insisted, showing a bit of indignation.

"It sure looks like a skirt" I said, defending my question. "Where are you from?"

"Aye's frum Scootlaund. Un oot's n kilt."

"Oh, I didn't know.” I apologized. “You're not Jewish, are you?"

"Aye um. Un my mutter un papa ur Juwish tooo."

This was a double first. He had never put on tefillin before, not in his entire life, and never before in my entire life had I ever put tefillin on a guy who was wearing a skirt.

So what's the moral of the story?

"Don't judge a guy by his skirt?" No, not really.

"You don't have to look Jewish to have a Jewish mom?" No. That's an old lesson.

"You have a lot of fun helping Jews put on tefillin at the Kotel?" Hey, I like that one. But you have to take the lesson further.

“At least three guys have a lot of fun when you put tefillin on them at the Kotel. You, the guy you are helping to put the tefillin on, and the person he is praying for."

Next time you are walking by and you see a platoon of soldiers lining up to put on tefillin don’t just stand there smiling. Jump in and lend a hand. You'll see what I mean.

Visit the author's web site at www.thereisone.com


from the Februrary 2009 Edition of the Jewish Magazine