The Holiday is Over
All that work… the time… the prayers and hopes… family, the guests, and the strangers we met. What was the highlight for you? What moment or moments can you recall that stand out as reminders of why we do all these things?
For me, I love seeing so many Jews coming to the Kotel, their faces young and old, each being shaped by their Torah way of life. A wonderful people G-d has chosen, or maybe more properly, G-d's way has made.
One of the nicest times for me is late afternoons after davening mincha. The hour, or hour and a half that I usually spend helping with tefillin I stand by the entrance of the men's side with a nice set of lulluv and etrog and quietly have it available to anyone who would like to use it.
There is an interesting law that taking the luluv is a Torah law only the first day of Sukkot, while the rest of the week it is a rabbinical enactment. The Rambam explains that taking the luluv was a Torah mitzvah all seven days in the Temple, and still is a Torah law today all seven days when we are by the Temple Mount.
Because of this, many religious Jews who have already taken the luluv in their neighborhoods in the morning like to take a luluv again when they are by the Kotel. They take it just for a moment to also fulfill the mitzvah on a Torah level.
Elderly religious men like to come over to me. They motion with their hands, "may I use it for a moment." I stretch out my arms handing it to them. They shake it gently. I can see in their faces that they feel good inside when they do the mitzvah. These faces that have lived Torah lives. Some smile, some gently kiss the etrog…then they return it to me. Many show such warm appreciation for my being there to help them. Some will gently touch my hand showing affection. They often say thank you, or give me a blessing. I assume many of them have been my "customers" for thirty years.
All year I am there helping Jews who do not know how to put on tefillin. This week it is so nice to be able help these men who have been religious their entire lives.