the summer Ben was staying at his grandmother's house and found an old pair
of teffilin that had belonged to his late grandfather. He (and we) hoped
that they would be in good enough shape for him to use. Upon checking them
a couple of months ago we discovered that in-fact the set were no longer
kosher and could not be repaired.
We met with Rabbi Yerachmiel Askotsky who had
not only quality teffilin but also a calm, relaxed and dignified attitude.
We felt that his approach would be complimentary to our family when together
with Ben we shared in the experience of learning and observing how teffilin
On the seventh day of Chanukah, we
went to Kiryat Yearim, where Rabbi Askotsky lives and works and saw how once
the teffilin scrolls are written, they are then checked both by hand and
on the computer, folded and prepared for daily use.
Benjamin's grandparents and Uncle who
was visiting from the US, siblings, and parents all piled into the studio.
Benjamin led off the tiyul by
explaining the wide variety of customs involved in tying the teffilin. He
explained how small differences in the way a person wears teffilin can be
traced to their ancestral towns. While teffilin may be wrapped either to
or away from the heart, taken off at a different juncture in the prayer or
an additional pair put on at the end of the prayers; Ben clearly explained
that wearing teffilin is a law. As a law it must be strictly observed without
any deviation or excuse for not wearing it. As a result we know that Benjamin
will no longer sleep until noon...
We all learned a great deal about teffilin.
I was so proud to observe Benjamin as he watched Rabbi Askotsky carefully
and when numerous questions about teffilin were posed from the family, it
was clear that Ben too knew the answers to the questions.
After the teffilin section of the tiyul
we were all ready for lunch. We drove through Abu Gosh, past Ma'ale Hahmisha
to Har Adar. There we all climbed to the top of the monument and Daniel,
Ben's older brother, gave a detailed and interesting explanation about the
history of the hill, and the region both in biblical times and over the last
150 years. While the group was taking in the breathtaking views, we set-up
a delicious picnic lunch and then called it a day-a wonderful da
Text by M. Kaplan-Green.