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The Story Behind The Photo: The Chavrusa, The Briefing & The Emotion In The Room

The photo of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu putting on tefillin that was posted on Sunday was the cause of great excitement among his millions of followers.

The Hebrew-language COL website revealed the story behind the photo. It began when Channel 14 journalist Sharon Gal was called to a routine briefing with Netanyahu, a frequent occurrence.

Gal learns chassidus b’chavrusah with Rav Ohr Ziv, the Chabad shaliach in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem. Gal told him about his upcoming meeting and asked him what topical message he could convey to Netanyahu from the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Torah.

Rav Ziv suggested to Gal that he ask Netanyahu to put on tefillin – and document the moment.

The bereaved Davino family, who also live in Katamon and are close with Rav Ziv, heard about the proposal and asked that Netanyahu put on the tefillin of their son, Moshiko, H’yd, who fell in Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Moshiko’s mother, Ruchamah, said it would be a dream come true if the prime minister put on her son’s tefillin in his memory.

Moshiko’s tefillin were taken to a sofer to be checked and then brought to Gal before the briefing, which took place at the Kiryah in Tel Aviv. At the end of the briefing, Gal took out the tefillin, placed them on the table and handed Netanyahu a letter from Ruchamah.

Gal later said that Netanyahu, whom he has known for many years, was particularly moved by the letter – more so than he’s ever seen him. When he finished reading the letter, he promised that he would fulfill the request and put on the tefillin.

Gal responded that he wants a photo of the moment, explaining that such a photo would cause a spiritual awakening that will influence many people and it will be a zechus for Moshiko.

Netanyahu agreed to this also and asked that his response be conveyed to Ruchamah.

However, time has a way of passing and meanwhile, the tefillin remained at the Kiryah while Netanyahu spent most of his time in Jerusalem. The plan was repeatedly delayed.

But last Thursday, Rav Ziv spoke with one of Netanyahu’s close associates in the Prime Minister’s Office, saying that now was the optimal time for Netanyahu to don the tefillin and publicize the photo: Why? Rav Ziv furnished two reasons: Biden’s statement that he will halt arms to Israel if a full-scale Rafah operation is launched and the upcoming Yom HaZikaron. “That’s the koach of the Jewish nation,” Rav Ziv said. “Tefillin cause fear and trembling among the nations of the world.”

The prime minister’s associate promised to suggest it. Netanyahu agreed and the photo was published on the prime minister’s social media accounts with the words: ״.וְרָאוּ כָּל־עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ כִּי שֵׁם השם נִקְרָא עָלֶיךָ וְיָרְאוּ מִמֶּךָּ״

Those present in the room said that there was great emotion in the room when Netanyahu donned the tefillin.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

6 Responses

  1. Why was their any more emotion than when some guy with a ponytail, stopped by a Shliach on a random street in Los Angeles, puts on Tefilin?

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