From the Western Wall to a World of Change: The Power of a Few Guiding Words

A little guidance can go a long way, and sometimes a few simple words can spark profound change. This timeless truth was poignantly echoed in a tale recently shared by Gutman Locks, a familiar face at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, where he helps visitors engage in the tradition of donning tefillin.

A man named Gabriel approached Locks at his tefillin stand with a photo of the two of them dating back 11 years. Gabriel told Locks, “I want to thank you. In those days, I was engrossed in yoga and such, spending my time at the Kotel in meditation.”

He recounted how Locks had approached him then, helping him don tefillin and imparting three simple but meaningful pieces of advice: “Don’t do Hindu practices, G-d is all, and marry a Jewish girl.”

Gabriel’s life took a remarkable turn after that encounter. He confessed, “I stopped yoga and the other things I was doing, and remembered your words about marrying a Jewish girl.” Gabriel then showed Locks a photo of his Jewish wife and their young daughter. From a yogi in contemplation, he had become a family man, and not just that – he had moved from Brazil to Portugal and now serves as the president of his city’s Jewish community.

Locks’ story is a powerful testament to the significant impact we can have on one another’s lives, especially when our advice is anchored in wisdom, love, and authenticity. He reflected, “How many people do you meet who need your help? First, you have to care, then you have to try, then you will learn how to do it.”

This tale is more than just an individual’s transformation. It’s a reflection of the larger spirit of Israel, a land where ancient traditions, wisdom, and values meet with the daily realities of modern life, a place where one can find both personal guidance and broader communal responsibility. Israel’s vibrant heritage and steadfast commitment to fostering unity and progress continue to inspire and shape the lives of its people and all who engage with its enduring legacy.

The next time you visit the Western Wall or any other landmark that represents Israel’s timeless values, remember Gabriel’s story. A few moments of advice might just transform a life, and in turn, strengthen the fabric of our community and the future of the State of Israel.