Last week I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Jack Yolinsky. After hearing what made him seek out a professional sofer and order a beautiful set of Malchus Tefillin forty six years after his Bar Mitzvah I knew that I had another tefillin story that I needed to share with you. The following story is in Mr. Yolinsky’s own words:
This is my story:
I woke up to a beautiful day. It was Friday morning in Vero Beach Fl. and I planned on playing golf with a friend. I was not prepared for what was going to happen to change my life forever.
At 6:53 am I heard an alarm in my kitchen bringing my attention to my ipad, displaying my father’s birthday, May 10 2013, and my own birthday in 1053. This date and time had meaning. When I went to shut off the alarm I learned the noise came from the coffee machine, not yet turned on ( I never used or set the alarm).
I felt a presence, as if my father was in the room with me. How could this be? He passed twenty eight years ago. Feeling chills all over my body, I spoke out loud and asked my father to help me believe. To believe in Hashem and all I was taught in Hebrew school forty six years ago. I did not believe in miracles.
I spoke to my wife of my experience and then left to play golf. It was ninety plus degrees outside that day and I filled two large cups with water and ice and placed them in my golf cart by my side. By the fourth hole, the first cup was empty so I switched cups in the cup holder. By the eighth hole I finished the second cup. We pulled up to the food and beverage stand before the tenth hole. My friend asked me what I wanted to eat for lunch. I replied, “Let me first fill my water, I’m very thirsty. When I lifted the cups, to my surprise, they had weight. I removed the cover from the first cup and it was filled to the top with water. I asked myself maybe I didn’t switch cups? But the second cup was also filled to the top! I was in shock. I told my friend what just happened and showing him, I poured the water from the cups.
Later the same day my sister who lives in Chicago called. I told her my story and she said Hashem hit me over my head and allowed me to see an open miracle. She also explained that water means life and life is torah. Possibly Hashem is saying to me to do the right things.
I decided to wear tefillin and say morning prayers from that day on. I believe Hashem has always been with me and I with him, but now I feel connected. Wearing tefillin makes me feel good and I wish to share this with everyone.
Forty six years have passed since my Bar Mitzvah. My grandfather purchased my tefillin but sadly they were never used. I took them out and began using them, but knew they should be checked so I researched tefillin on the internet. I’m not sure what brought me to Rabbi Melech Michaels. When I told him I had a strange story he was eager to listen. When I finished the story I asked him what he thought. He replied that everyone has a special story when they walk through my door to buy tefillin. While in his office I had the pleasure to speak with one of his sons. I asked him if he wanted to become a sofer like his dad. He explained that it is hard to earn a good living and raise a family with his dad’s work.
Later that day after ordering my new tefillin I thought about Rabbi Michaels. I realized how lucky and rich he is to be in a position to hear so many special stories. I hope he shares them with me on day.
One thing that Jack didn’t write down in the story is that when he spoke to my son about becoming a sofer, my son mentioned that his talents like in mechanical work, and that he had just finished a two year program in automotive repair. When he mentioned that he was stuck on a car that he was working because he didn’t have all the tools for the job, Jack handed him a very generous amount of money and told him to buy the next tools that he would need. Wow! While anyone can give away money, it takes a special person to give with such grace and thoughtfulness.