Bar Mitzvah Boy in Hostile Village Secretly Donned Tefillin Every Day

March 06, 2024
At the Kotel

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. In the moving ceremony that followed, the children stood for Kabbolas ol Malchus Shamayim and Kriyas Shema.

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.

The visits, accompanied by a delegation of Yad L’Achim staffers, began at the home of Hagaon Harav Benayahu Shmueli, Rosh Yeshivat Hamekubalim, Nahar Shalom. The Rav warmly greeted each child, shaking his hand and expressing his profound admiration for their achievements.

“To see children who could have still been in the village with their fathers, and who in the merit of the sacred, courageous efforts of Yad L’Achim are standing here, on their way to putting on tefillin at the Kosel, this is literally ‘and the sons returned to their borders,’ ” he said. “Fortunate are the eyes that behold this!”
The Rav enquired about the welfare of the boys’ mothers and sent them words of encouragement: “You left Egypt and are now involved in building your personal Mikdash Me’at.”

As they prepared to leave, the Rav blessed each child and handed him a beautiful siddur as a bar mitzvah present. “Don’t ever stop davening,” he urged them.

Nachas for our Father in Heaven

The boys continued to the home of Hagaon Harav Ben Tzion Mutzafi, a member of the Council of Torah Sages, where they were enthusiastically received. “You have merited to give Hakadosh Baruch Hu much more nachas than I have,” he told them. “You are arriving from a strange land and returning to the embrace of Judaism, despite all of the obstacles along the way, which you have heroically overcome.”

The Gaon asked them to read for him the parsha they had prepared for their Aliya la’Torah, and the children did so masterfully, with the te’amim and nusach that have been passed down from generation to generation. When they finished, the Rav applauded with great emotion and offered words of encouragement. He said that Onkelos the convert had merited to rise in Torah to the point that his composition, the Targum, is learned in every Jewish home, every week.

“This is saving lives of the highest order,” the Rav said to the Yad L’Achim activists after hearing how the mothers and children had been rescued. He asked to convey in his name to the donors behind this awesome enterprise of Pidyon Shuvyim that they should “merit to sit in the mechitza of Hakadosh Baruch Hu and merit Mida Knegged Mida from His open hand in an abundant manner.”

Meal with Mama Rachel

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.

And Purify Our Hearts

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.

We would add that among the children who participated in this special day was a boy who, together with his brother, is the focus of custody battle. A decisive hearing is due shortly in the Sharia court, and Yad L’Achim officials are concerned that the judges appear to be leaning in favor the father.

The children took advantage of their big day, in which they received brachos from Gedolei Yisrael and tefillos uttered in their merit, to tear open the Gates of Heaven on behalf of their friend, beseeching Hashem for a good outcome.

One of the boys in the group is filling in the gaps in his Torah knowledge with the help of Torah classes given in his neighborhood and, iy”H, will be mainstreamed into the Torani school system already next year.

At the Kotel

Hagaon Harav Benayahu Shmueli

Hagaon Harav Benayahu Shmueli

Hagaon Harav Benayahu Shmueli

Hagaon Harav Ben Tzion Mutzafi

Hagaon Harav Ben Tzion Mutzafi

למעבר מהיר לתרומה יש למלא כאן את מס’ הטלפון שלכם

למעבר מהיר לתרומה יש למלא כאן את מס’ הטלפון שלכם

למעבר מהיר לתרומה יש למלא כאן את מס’ הטלפון שלכם

למעבר מהיר לתרומה יש למלא כאן את כתובת המייל

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