The Tefillin Miracle

In the entire Texas Prison System, only six individuals own a pair of tefillin. At DG's unit, he's the only one; before Yom Kipper, two guards took them away...

3 min

Rabbi Lazer Brody

Posted on 27.11.18

My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush always encourages me by saying that we have no idea as to the that the effect that the emuna books and CDs have on the lives of the people we reach, especially those behind bars. In living proof of what he says, the following handwritten letter recently  (Nov, 2018) arrived at Breslev Israel's Jerusalem office, weeks after it was written – it's amazing, from one of the Jewish prisoners incarcerated in Texas whom we maintain contact with:


To Rabbis Shalom Arush and Rabbi Lazer Brody,


Thank you so much for sending me the Garden of Miracles. I have my own miracle story that I want to share with you – feel free to publish this.


Keep in mind that in the entire Texas Prison System, there are only six individuals that own a pair of tefillin. At my unit, I'm the only one.


On the morning before Yom Kippur (9 Tishrei, 5779), I was praying in the morning with my tefillin on when an officer approached and asked what I was doing. He didn't know what tefillin were. This happens frequently, and I always explain to them, and then they leave me alone. This time, the officer did not leave me alone. Right away, he requested backup from additional, higher ranking officers.


I was shocked and nervous because the situation could very well end up with me back in solitary confinement and with my tefillin confiscated. However, I study Rabbi Arush's books with Rabbi Brody's translations all the time, and this time, the timing was crazy: I had just celebrated a wonderful Rosh Hashanah, and now, would my Yom Kippur get wrecked? "No, surely not," I told myself, remembering all that I learned from the Garden books.


I started dancing, singing, and thanking Hashem for this test of emuna as Rabbi Arush instructed. Meanwhile, two sergeants arrived and they thought I was violent so they were very aggressive. They demanded to see my property forms for the tefillin, which I handed over to them (in Texas, all inmate property must be documented). While they were reviewing the forms, I started singing, "I don't understand a thing – thank You, Hashem."


Two sergeants took my tefillin away and wrote me confiscation papers, telling me I might never see the tefillin again. I was distressed – my tefillin are my best friend. When something gets confiscated here, there's less than a 5% chance that you get it back.


I was determined to have a good Yom Kippur but the evil inclination yelled in my ear the entire holiday. I still had a deep and meaningful Yom Kippur and I wore my tallit all day. At the end of the Neila prayer, I blew my shofar ending the holiday.


Now for the miracle: for three days straight after Yom Kippur, I thanked Hashem for taking away my tefillin. "If You decided, Hashem, then I accept Your judgment with joy.


On Friday, I saw the unit Warden walking down the hall and asked to speak to him. He actually stopped! I told him what happened and he said he'd look into it.


The next day, on Shabbat, the building Captain came directly to my cell to bring me a lulav, sent to me by Rabbi Goldstein from Chabad. When I told her about the tefillin, she guaranteed that I would receive them back within 48 hours. Immediately, I began to thank Hashem…


On the following Monday, less than 48 hours later when I was saying morning prayers, two officers arrived to escort me to the Captain's office. She issued me new property forms, gave me back the tefillin and asked me to explain all about them and to demonstrate putting them on. I did so in front of a group of prison officers. She, the Captain, assured me that the tefillin will never be taken away from me again…


Rabbis, in Texas, they don't treat people in prison with such kindness! I am the only Jew here, but Hashem in His holy mercy sent me this test so I could sanctify His Name.


What would have happened if I had yelled and kicked? Or cried and complained? I would have been back in solitary confinement on Yom Kippur and Succoth with no tefillin. But, by thanking Hashem for this harsh test, I had an unbelievable Yom Kippur and Succoth, and I now have my tefillin back! What a miracle!


Thank you, Rabbi Arush and Rabbi Brody. You have given us the keys to unlock the wellsprings of emuna. G-d bless you for what you do and thank you for letting me share this.


DHG, Ramsey Unit, Texas State Prison



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