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 What Can Be Learned from a Transistor Radio?

It is related of the great Torah scholar, Rabbi Eliyahu Lapian, of blessed memory, that he once saw a person holding a small transistor radio. When he heard a voice coming forth from it, he asked, quite surprised, "Is it really possible to operate this without it being connected to the electricity?" When the person answered in the affirmative, Rabbi Lapian continued to ask: "And what will happen if the radio is missing even a small screw, then it certainly cannot work, is this not so?" When the person he asked replied that this was so, the rabbi said: "Then if this is the case, why is it so difficult to believe that here on one`s head is a small box [i.e., Tefillin], that draws a ray of sanctity from above, without any visible connection, all by means of its contents, that are the passages that were written in absolute perfection and holiness, and if even the tip of a single letter is missing, the action is harmed and the Divine plenty ceases?"


 The Old Man and the Tefillin
An old man, a Chasid of Pshishkah, was very proud of his Tefillin, with which he had prayed since he was a youth. They were exceedingly fine, the work of an expert scribe. Every year he would have them examined, and they were found to be fit, by the strictest possible standards. Once, in his old age, a scribe examined them and found that they had been unfit from the outset: a single letter was missing. Those close to the old man feared to reveal this to him. The elderly Chasid understood what had happened, and jumped up from his place and began dancing, in great fervor and joy.

Everyone who witnesses this was stricken by fear. Perhaps the old man had lost his mind, because of his great grief and sorrow?

When the old man calmed down, and the others realized that he had not gone mad, they asked him: "Is this is a reason to rejoice?"

He replied: "For seventy years I prayed with Tefillin that were unfit, and I would have left this world without having properly put on Tefillin even a single time. Now, when a miracle has been performed for me and I will merit to put on Tefillin properly, should I not rejoice?"

 Saved in War - by Merit of the Tefillin
During the Peace for Galilee War, a certain soldier was accustomed to put on Tefillin every day. One day`s fighting was very difficult, and the soldier did not have time to put on his Tefillin in the morning, which is the optimal time for the performance of the commandment. It is permitted, however, to put on Tefillin from sunrise to sunset. As the sun began to sink in the west, the soldier asked himself: What? I won`t put on Tefillin today? He decided to run to his tent to put them on.

After removing his Tefillin, he heard a tremendous explosion. He ran over and saw that the tank in which he had been sitting only a moment before was completely destreoyed, with pieces of metal scattered all around. He immediately understood that the merit of the Tefillin had saved his life.

 A Complete Recovery by Merit of the Tefillin
It is related that once a woman from a family that was not observant came to the Hazon Ish (Rabbi Avraham Karelitz, outstanding Talmudic scholar and leader of religious Jewry in Israel). Crying bitterly, she told the rabbi that her twelve-year-old son had contracted a dangerous blood disease and was at death`s door. The physicians in Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah in Israel could offer no hope.

"What is the boy`s name?" the Hazon Ish asked.
"Hayyim," the distraught mother replied.

The Hazon Ish assured her, "If you promise that the child will put on Tefillin every day when he reaches the age of thirteen, God will have mercy on him."

The woman promised by everything dear and holy to her. She lost no time and ran to her son`s bed, and the doctors told her that his condition had improved. The child recovered within a few days, and when he turned thirteen, not only did he put on Tefillin, the father also returned to Judaism in the wake of his son`s recovery.

 The Power of Tefillin
It once happened that a couple had no children. After ten years of fertility treatments, a friend of their suggested that they go to a rabbi. They were quite removed from Jewish observance, and were not willing to accept her advice.
A year later, the wife said to her husband, "When you come right down to it, why don`t we try and follow my friend`s advice?" They did as she had proposed, and they went to a rabbi, who told them: "I am not a prophet, and I cannot foresee the future. But I know that if you observe the Sabbath and if your husband will put on Tefillin, and you observe the laws of family purity, the Lord will help you."
After they left the rabbi`s house, the husband turned to his wife and said, "I told you that the rabbi cannot help us."
And so they went back to their normal lives, without following the counsel of the rabbi.
Some time later the wife met her friend. She asked the wife if they had gone to the rabbi and what he had told them. The wife told her what the rabbi had said, and her friend asked, "Well, did you do what the rabbi requested?"
The wife replied, "No."
Her friend immediately explained to her that it was worth a 7try, and after consulting with her husband, they accepted the rabbi`s request.
Within a year the couple was blessed with a baby boy, and they continued to observe these three commandments.

Due to his lack of knowledge, the husband, an IDF colonel, would get up in the middle of the night to put on Tefillin, because he was embarrassed to do so before other people. One day, he woke late and went into his room at the base to put on Tefillin, as usual. Suddenly, his commander, a brigadier general, entered the room and spotted him with Tefillin on his head. The moment his commander saw him, he began to shout: "Barukh Hashem, barukh Hashem [Blessed be the Lord]!" He went on to explain: "Every day I put on Tefillin, but today I forgot them at home, and I didn`t know what to do. I almost wanted to return home."
The brigadier general happily put on his fellow officer`s Tefillin.

 Tefillin of the Finest Quality
It once happened that when Rabbi Yaakov Abu Hasira was in the city of Marrakech, in Morocco, he wanted to have a pair of Tefillin written for him. He inquired if there was an expert and God-fearing scribe in the city. He was told of a Torah scholar who was a masterful scribe, a Kabbalist, and extremely God-fearing - the head of all the scribes in Marrakech. Rabbi Abu Hasira asked that this scribe be brought to him.

When the scribe came, the rabbi asked him to write Tefillin of the finest quality for him, on condition that the scribe immerse in a ritual bath before writing any of the Divine Names, and that he write them with all the kavanot (mystical intentions) of the holy Ari (Rabbi Isaac Luria, one of the leading Kabbalists of all time). He told the scribe not to be concerned about cost, he would pay him whatever he asked (just as it is related of the holy Ari, that he would place a purse filled with money before the scribe, and the scribe would take whatever he wished).
The scribe undertook this task, and began to write the Torah passages with the greatest possible precision, paying special attention to the slightest detail. But it happened that the scribe forgot to write one of the Divine Names with any intent at all, and he realized this only after he had finished writing the Tefillin. Since it would have been difficult for him to write them from anew, he told the rabbi nothing. When he presented Rabbi Abu Hasira with the Tefillin, he asked the scribe: "Did you forget the proper intent for this Name, as I sense?" (since he knew this, by Divine insight).

The scribe admitted that this was so. He asked the rabbi`s forgiveness, and undertook to write other Tefillin. The rabbi agreed to this, and the scribe wrote other passages, doing so properly, to the satisfaction of Rabbi Abu Hasira.

We learn from this how great and holy is the commandment of Tefillin, and especially, how the Torah passages must be kosher, that results in the realization of the verse: "And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the Lord`s name is proclaimed over you, and they shall stand in fear of you" (Deuteronomy 28:10).

 The Greatness of the Commandment of Tefillin

It once happened that the Vilna Gaon was sitting enwrapped in his Talit and encrowned with his Tefillin and studying Torah. Thieves heard that there was gold and silver in the Gaon`s apartment. They entered the apartment, and demanded the gold and silver from the Gaon`s pupils. They replied, "We have no gold or silver here." The thieves did not know that there was Torah here, and not gold and silver. The pupils began to shout, and the Gaon came out of his room, with his Talit and Tefillin on him. When the thieves saw him, they made haste to flee.
The pupils asked the Gaon: "We, too, are wearing Talit and Tefillin - why are they not afraid of us?"
The Vilna Gaon replied: "It is written, `And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the Lord`s name is proclaimed over you, and they shall stand in fear of you` - these are the head Tefillin, not those on the head, but in the head, that a person should not be distracted as long as they are on his head."


 When the Authorities Decreed Not to Put on Tefillin
It once happened that the Roman authorities decreed that any Jew who put on Tefillin and went out to the marketplace would have his brain pierced. Elisha, however, put on his Tefillin and went out to the marketplace. A Roman quaestor saw him, and Elisha fled from him, with the Roman official in pursuit.
When the quaestor overtook him, Elisha removed his Tefillin from his head and held them in his hand.
The Roman asked him: "What is that in your hand?"
Elisha answered: "I am holding a dove`s wings."
He opened his hand, and the wings of a dove were there. And so they called him "Elisha the man of the wings."
 Tears in the Batim of the Tefillin
When Rabbi Zeev of Zbaraz, the son of Rabbi Michel of Zloczow, was a small child, there was no discernible difference between Zeev and the other children his age.

When he grew older and the time of his Bar Mitzvah was approaching, a scribe was summoned to his father`s house, and Rabbi Michel ordered him to prepare Tefillin for his son. "I ask only one thing of you," the rabbi concluded, "before you put the Torah passages of the Tefillin in the batim [the leather casements containing the parchment], bring them to me."
The scribe reverently labored over the writing of the passages, and when they were completed, he brought the passages and the batim to Rabbi Michel. The rabbi held the batim and, tremendously moved, began to cry. His tears poured down his cheeks and ran into the batim of the Tefillin, until the batim were full, and the tears flowed over the sides.
When he recovered from his crying, he emptied the batim of the tears, and after they dried, he ordered that the passages be inserted in them.

The day of the Bar Mitzvah arrived, and the youth Zeev started to put on his new Tefillin. As soon as he touched them, a new spirit infused him, and from that day on he continually ascended in Torah and sanctity, and his wisdom illuminated all Israel.

 The Harmony of the Letters
Once when Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady, the author of the Tanya, was in Mezhirech and served the Maggid, his teacher summoned him and said to him, "There is an indictment against Israel in Heaven, because the poskim [deciders of Jewish law] and the Kabbalists do not agree concerning the shape of the letters in Tefillin, Torah scrolls, and Mezuzot." He accordingly ordered Rabbi Shneur Zalman to thoroughly study the writings of the poskim and the Kabbalists, to find a way of writing that would be acceptable to both. Rabbi Shneur Zalman assumed the burden of this holy task, and some time later he drew the shapes of the letters in a manner that conformed with both opinions. When he brought the sketches to his holy teacher and rabbi, the Maggid gazed directly upon him, thanked him for his work, and told him that at that moment the Heavenly entourage declared that this was the correct shape of the letters.

The following day Rabbi Shneur Zalman went on his way, taking his leave of the Maggid with a blessing for the way from his teacher. His journey took him through the city of Anapol. He arrived there at night, with the entire city asleep. Rabbi Shneur Zalman saw from afar a single house in which a candle was burning, and he went there to spend the night. This house was that of Reb David, a scribe. When Rabbi Shneur Zalman entered the house, he found Reb David sitting and writing a Torah scroll, and he did not want to disturb the scribe. He walked silently until he came to where the scribe was writing. To his great surprise, he saw that Reb David was writing the letters just as he had sketched them yesterday for the first time, after much time and effort. Rabbi Shneur Zalman was greatly amazed, because he knew that Reb David had not been in Mezhirech when he gave his sketches to the Maggid. He waited until the scribe finished writing. Reb David was very happy to see Rabbi Shneur Zalman, and he received him with great affection and honor. The rabbi asked him where he had learned this method of writing the letters. Reb David replied: "I myself know nothing, but the holy rabbi Zusha told me today that the Heavenly entourage declared that the letters were to be written in this shape, that corresponds to the opinions of both the poskim and the Kabbalists. And Rabbi Zusha drew for me in detail how to write." In great trepidation because of Rabbi Zusha`s holiness, Rabbi Shneur Zalman went to meet the great rabbi, before continuing on his journey.

 The Power of the Mezuzah (1)
The holy Rabbi Baruch of Mezhirech grew up in the home of the holy Rabbi Pinhas of Korets when the latter lived in Ostraha. It was there, in Ostraha, that Rabbi Baruch married, and afterwards still frequented Rabbi Pinhas`s house. One time Rabbi Baruch was lying on a couch in Rabbi Pinhas`s house and sleeping. Rabbi Pinhas told the members of his household: "Stand around Rabbi Baruch`s bed, and I will show you something new." They stood around the bed, and Rabbi Pinhas went over to the Mezuzah. He covered it with his hand, and Rabbi Baruch immediately began to move as if wakening from his sleep, and when Rabbi Pinhas removed his hand from the Mezuzah, Rabbi Baruch once again slept peacefully, and this repeated itself several times. Rabbi Pinhas told them: "You see how far Rabbi Baruch`s holiness extends - even in his sleep he does not remove his thoughts from adherence to the Lord."
 The Power of the Mezuzah (2)
The holy Rabbi Baruch of Mezhirech grew up in the home of the holy Rabbi Pinhas of Korets when the latter lived in Ostraha. It was there, in Ostraha, that Rabbi Baruch married, and afterwards still frequented Rabbi Pinhas`s house. One time Rabbi Baruch was lying on a couch in Rabbi Pinhas`s house and sleeping. Rabbi Pinhas told the members of his household: "Stand around Rabbi Baruch`s bed, and I will show you something new." They stood around the bed, and Rabbi Pinhas went over to the Mezuzah. He covered it with his hand, and Rabbi Baruch immediately began to move as if wakening from his sleep, and when Rabbi Pinhas removed his hand from the Mezuzah, Rabbi Baruch once again slept peacefully, and this repeated itself several times. Rabbi Pinhas told them: "You see how far Rabbi Baruch`s holiness extends - even in his sleep he does not remove his thoughts from adherence to the Lord."

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