How did the pilot of an aircraft from Los Angeles to New York wind up donning Tefillin as he bid his passengers farewell?
The bizarre picture went viral on social media, but Rabbi Moishy Fogelman, who was aboard on the Sunday trip, provided the backdrop.
On his way to the Chabad center in New York to observe the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s yahrzeit, Rabbi Fogelman stopped by.
“I got on the flight at 6 a.m. from LA,” he recounted. I got up an hour after leaving, pulled out my Tallis and Tefillin, and started davening.
At one point, I thought the flight crew thought I was “disturbing” the flight, and a flight attendant informed him that “soon you’ll have to sit.” I responded that I wasn’t.
I saw something going on at the front of the plane while I was putting on my Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin.
When the pilot was released, I believed that fresh issues were developing.
As I was putting on the Tefillin, he approached from behind and said, “If you want to learn or pray, go to the kitchen; I told them to make some area for you.
These individuals are not Jewish and are unaware of what is going on.
requested that he put on Tefillin after realizing that he was Jewish.
I have to fly the plane, he said, so he returned to his cockpit.
I stood up first as the jet touched down since I knew the captain would be there to bid everyone adieu.
I came and informed him that I would wait until everyone had left because I needed to ask him a favor.
He indicated that he would be going at that time, so I instructed him to put on Tefillin, which would take 60 seconds.
When he continued to object, I explained that I was traveling to New York for the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s yahrzeit and asked him to please put them on so I would have something nice to wear when I visited the Rebbe’s Tziyun (tomb).
He’s called Chaim Baruch Ben Leah, and I now have a tale to share at the Tziyun. He threw out his arm and said, “Let’s do it, so everyone will see.