The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bonding in De Gaulle

(Image Source)

My hands, accustomed by years of training, wound the smooth black
leather straps of my Tefillin as I removed them after completing the
morning prayers; my mind, however, was drawn not to the ancient hide
that bound my soul to its creator, but rather to the swarming crowd
around me.

I was nineteen years old and on my first trip abroad, and to what better a place to spend a summer then Venice, Italy.

My flight had left New York the previous evening and, save for the
boisterous singing of a few French students sporting 'I love NYC'
t-shirts in the row behind me, had made for a peaceful trip to Paris
Charles De Gaulle where I would spend the hour stopover.

"This is the last boarding call for flight 832 to Bangladesh . . ." came a crackling voice over the load speaker.

People milled about . . . a family of five laden with bags and a screaming baby ran to make their flight . . . a business man dressed in an expensive suit leisurely perused a paper . . . Such a vibrant and varied display of humanity
could be found here.

Avi, my friend and traveling partner laughed,

"It's funny how people react when you daven in the airport. Some don't seem
to notice, others don't get it . . . but sometimes the person looks,
walks a little bit, and then turns back for a second glance -he's for sure a Jew, seeing us has somehow touched him."

A voice from behind us chimed in,

"Yeah, to think how many people don't understand that you’re laying tefillin."

Avi and I turned around simultaneously to the row of chairs behind us to see the source of the voice -a middle-aged man with blue Hawaiian shirt, shorts and dark shades perched above his forehead smiled at us. A moment of silence passed between us as we
took each other in . . .

Three Jews bumping into each other in an international European airport; there had to be some inner meaning behind it all.

“Do you want to put on tefillin yourself?" I finally
asked, my voice cracking slightly.

He looked into my eyes for a moment, and then shook his head.

"No . . ."

He had a story, though . . .

”I live on small island off of Florida. Very few people live there, even
fewer Jews -but then there's the Rabbi across the street. He's the best
neighbor one could ask for. His kids have tzitzit; they’re so well behaved . . . I watch them with pride.

"But where I'm at in life -I'm not up to tefillin. When I grew up my Grandfather was Orthodox, he laid tefillin everyday, then went to his kosher Deli. But where I am at now . . . "

Again he shook his head, and then with a deep sigh he stood up, pulling his travel-bag over his shoulder and stretching slightly. Again he looked at
Avi and me; this time, however, he reached out and placed his hands on our

"Look we're connected, together, no matter what. It may not be how you guys want -but when I got off the plane from Miami, my wife asked me where I wanted to sit. I saw you two and said,
’I’m sitting with my boys.'"

He removed his hands and walked towards a lady standing off in the distance, the two of them turned to us, smiled, and then merged into the swarming crowd.

It was only then that I realized that I hadn’t even asked for his name . . . Yet
somehow even with out names I know him –he was right, we are connected.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,