Received via e-mail:
"We did not hear that there were some people abstaining from eating treife food or refraining from desecrating Shabbos or that they were educating their children in religious schools, not under the heretics; I only heard that they put on tefillin." These are the words of the build up to סאטמאר רב'ס condemnation (tirade) against the big התעוררות for תפילין in Israel after the miraculous 6 Day War. See "על הגאולה ועל התמורה דף ק"א, ברוקלין תשס"ו". The argument on its own is very weak; After all, did he hear how many people became נוטרי הברית after his annual שובבי"ם campaigns? since when does a התעוררות get measured by its success? He was leading an anti אגודה campaign smearing all גדולי ישראל who did not see everything going on in the Holy Land as heresy..... it was a big machloka and caused lots of infighting between frum Jews, who were thus being עובר on many איסורי תורה. (not some sins sourced in non halacha) Did he ever decide to close shop on his anti Israeli election campaign, since it got nowhere? Every year more than half a million frum Jews participate in the Israeli election and it's only growing... why does only מבצע תפילין need a consequential success statistic? All the above aside, what will we do if we will help him in his quest to find Jews that did change because of tefillin ? I think we may have done just that. Or rather we discovered it, the actual work was done by others. This פסח the Mishpacha magazine ran a long article on a popular right wing conservative talk show host, who is leading an Orthodox lifestyle, eating kosher, Orthodox schools for his kids and Shomer Shabbos, all because of his one act of putting on tefillin. It was the holy soul "Schwartzie" ע"ה, the Chabad shliach Shlomo Schwartz at UCLA. In Michael Medved's words "Tefillin is the key metaphor for his Judaisim." That was what started him on his path to a life of full Torah & yiddsihkiet. This is not a 770 paid PR stunt. Will this story and thousands of other similar stories change a mind in that camp??? I do see that a harsh anti religious and anti Zionist Haaretz columnist who wrote an anti tefillin rant 9 years ago, did change his mind on tefillin, (See below)
Maybe. Just Maybe our "frum" brothers will also get a הרהור תשובה.