Lost And Found

Israel

Photo Credit: Jewish Press

I remember the first Gemara I learned in school in 8th grade was Bava Metziya about the laws of returning lost objects. I remember I was sick when they had the written test and so I took the test orally afterward and got a hundred. So it’s a Gemara that’s dear to my heart and also easy to understand as relevant as long as you know how to translate a lost donkey to a lost dog.

One of the lawyers in my office found a wedding and engagement ring in the bathroom. It was how I found out she was religious (in our parlance Datiya Light) because she knew how to formulate the Hashevat Aveda sign. We were sure someone would claim the rings immediately – you tend to notice if you’ve lost your wedding ring – but it was over a week later that the woman who had lost them called (good thing we hadn’t taken down the sign). I was extremely relieved when the lawyer told me that the woman and her rings had been reunited.

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A few months later, the lady who cleans our office came back from the bathroom with a satchel she’d found. I opened it and there was a large wad of money inside. I took out a paper to look for ID and she noticed the letterhead was from the office across the hall so I made my way there. It took a minute for the guy standing there to notice I had his bag. He hadn’t even noticed he had lost it.

“How much money is in here?” I asked by way of identification and because I was also bursting from curiosity.

“Twenty-three thousand shekels,” he said. I whimpered. Of course I would never keep it but holding so much money in my hands was so brief.

A neighbor who knows I’m always looking for good stories told me about a shiputznik (a renovator) who had returned 30,000 shekels he had found in a house he was renovating. It turned out the person he returned it to was my landlord who’s a relative of the person for whom he was doing renovations.

About a month ago, Eitan Challah was hired to renovate a house in my neighborhood that a family had inherited. The house was empty except for a sideboard. When Eitan moved the sideboard to do some work he found five plastic bags. They were full of money. He called the family to tell them he had found something and that he needed them to come. Because they live in Netanya, they told him to give it to their relative, my landlord, who was overseeing the renovations. The relative dropped by a few minutes later and Eitan handed him the bags. There were 30,000 shekels in 200 shekel bills in the bag. The money helped pay for the renovations.

My landlord publicized the Hashevat Aveda hoping to give Eitan some publicity for his work but Eitan said what he did was basic – both morally and halachically – and he didn’t want any publicity for it. When I asked him wasn’t he happy that this publicity would bring him more clients he answered, “The Creator of the Universe sends me my customers, Baruch Hashem. I behave modestly.”

When the office cleaners and shipputzniks in Israel act with such honesty, integrity, emunah and modesty we can’t help but exclaim, “Who is like your people Israel?!” And what we’ve found is priceless!

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