by Brad Jacobson (Columbia, MO)
A man with a black hat and beard asks, “Did you put on tefillin today? How about doing a mitzvah?”
“Ok,” I reply, and he unzips an old blue bag, takes out two black boxes and leather straps.
He reads a prayer in Hebrew and pauses to let me follow.
He places a black box around my bicep, pointing at my heart, and wraps a black leather strap seven times around my forearm, saying it’s the number of colors in a rainbow.
He stands on his tip-toes and lifts my Phillies cap to place a black box on my forehead. It points towards heaven. He puts my baseball cap back. Maybe now the Phillies will win the pennant.
He instructs me to read the Shema. Six holy words.
I close my eyes and recite the prayer by heart.
I recall the story of soldiers who were ambushed during the Six Day War.
The enemy ran away when they saw them wearing tefillin.
They thought the black boxes were bombs.
Brad Jacobson is a volunteer every summer in Israel in the SAREL program. He teaches TESOL at the Asian Affair Center at the University of Missouri, where he has an MEd in Literacy. In the summers he enjoys exploring places with his camera like the Old City of Jerusalem, Tzfat, and the Red Sea where he scuba dives. He has been published in Tikkun, Voices Israel, Poetica, Cyclamens and Swords, and the University of Missouri International News.
“Sunrise at the Wailing Wall” is from Brad’s new book, “Lionfish: The Poetic Collection Of A Traveler’s Experiences In Israel,” and reprinted here with the kind permission of the author and publisher.
Visit the link to see more of Brad’s work: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946124648/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860&linkCode=sl1&tag=beeps-20&linkId=b8e4722d77fdd5f0148ae60390d40ec2&language=en_US&fbclid=IwAR3ZBUQsla0CdU7voiaWm5FRPXzEEIglc0tuceGIUFwSsys5u14kBYEscLU