In Hostile Arab Village, He Secretly Donned Tefillin Daily

Among a recent group of rescued boys who visited the Kosel for the first time, was a 15-year-old who shared that even in the Arab village he managed to secretly put on tefillin every day.

The rumor spread like wildfire among mispallelim at the Keshet Levinson hall at the Kosel: A group of Jewish boys rescued from hostile villages were putting on tefillin for the first time. Some of the mispallelim asked to participate in the rare mitzvah and help the boys don tefillin.

Among the participants was an extraordinary 15-year-old who had recently been rescued. The boy, who hadn’t merited to come to the Kosel when he reached the age of mitzvos, moved the crowd when he disclosed that – even in the village – he had managed to secretly put on tefillin every day.

“He was very excited, and helped the other boys put on tefillin,” said a Yad L’Achim activist attending the event.

Harav Chaim Kahn, who accompanied the children, called each one to the Torah, and they made their brachos with great emotion. The mothers observed the custom of throwing candies from the Ezras Nashim, their tears of Jewish nachas flowing like water near the stones of the Kosel.

This is the story of five children who were rescued with their mothers from hostile village through the efforts of Yad L’Achim and brought to Yerushalayim and the Mikdash. There, facing the place from which the Divine presence never departs, the children accepted upon themselves the yoke of Mitzvos.

Beforehand, the boys visited the homes of Gedolei Yisrael and merited to receive their blessings.

Afterwards, the children visited Kever Rachel, and Yad L’Achim’s Harav Yoav Robinson spoke to them at length about Rachel Imeinu and the story of her burial in Beit Lechem. The children then approached the matzeiva and participated in tefillah and selichos that concluded with the blowing of the shofar.

In the Ezras Nashim emotions ran high as the mothers poured out their hearts at the tomb, alongside Yad L’Achim social workers who have been at their side throughout their rescue and rehabilitation.

After the visit to Kever Rachel, the Bar Mitzvah boys attended a regal seudas mitzvah. The “guests of honor” were seated at the head table.

Harav Robinson spoke of the importance of the day, and thanked the Yad L’Achim activists for their continued efforts on behalf of the mothers and their children.

After benching with a zimun made up of the boys, the group made their way to the Koself to don tefillin at the remnant of our Beis Hamikdash.

The inspiring day concluded with a visit to the office of Hagaon Harav Shmuel Eliyahu in Givat Shaul, who warmly received the children and asked them about their spiritual goals and aspirations.

The Rav then turned to the mothers and asked them about the challenges they faced in educating their children. One of the mothers gave an overview of the assistance Yad L’Achim provided, adding: “Without them, we wouldn’t be here today.”

The Rav, in keeping with the tradition of his father, the Rishon Lezion, Hagaon Harav Mordechai Eliyau, zt”l, broke out in song, singing “vetaher libeinu l’ovdecha be’emet.” The children joined hands with him in a heartwarming dance.

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  1. Probably a moving story, but the context was not mentioned at the start of the story, so we have no way of knowing where the boys were rescued from. Doesn’t sounds like it was Gaza, so what was it? What is the back story? And then details on how it was possible to wrap Tefillin in such a place.

    1. Are you familiar with the work of Yad Le’Achim? They are involved in helping Yidden who get caught up with other religions R’L, and help them return to Yiddishkeit.

      Unfortunately, a recurring story is that a Jewish girl begins a relationship with an Arab guy in Israel, who then marries her and takes her home to his Arab village. In this Arab village the girl is subjugated and intimidated, and threatened that she can never leave. Time goes by and she has children (which are halachically Jewish), and she wants to come back to her people and her home. In some way Yad Le’achim gets involved, and they do some kind of rescue mission for the women and her children, and help them with rehabilitation, social services, security, etc. Every story is unique with unique details, but I assume these stories are of that type.

  2. so
    if they were to write all the details, they would be putting every future operation , and possibly the lives of Jews still in captivity, in serious danger R”L
    brains my guy

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