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Jun 27, 2012

Good people Return 42000 NIS and Tefillin To Owner

This nice story was in the Yediot Metro yesterday. It's always nice to hear a nice story reported, rather than just the usual fighting and anger and bitterness.

Here's the story:
Last week a fellow named Eliyahu from Tirat Carmel traveled by bus to Jerusalem in order to try to raise money for his son's wedding.

At the end of the day, Eliyahu got back on the bus (the 940 line) to go home after having raised 42,000 NIS (RG: wow! where'd he raise so much money??) in cash. He had stashed the cash, along with two diamonds and a ring that he had been given by Rav Kaduri many years ago as a segulah, into his tefillin bag. 

Eliyahu fell asleep on the bus, waking at the end of the route. Rousing himself, he got off the bus, forgetting his tefillin behind. A passenger getting off at the last stop noticed the tefillin bag and gave it to the head of the security department, who passed it on to the head of the lost and found department. Yaakov Meimon, head of the lost and found, said he opened the bag and saw a large amount of money. He immediately instructed everybody in the northern region of Egged to immediately inform him if someone comes looking for a lost tefillin bag.

A few hours later, Eliyahu realized what he had left behind. He went right away to the station and told them that he had lost his tefillin. He was immediately put in touch with the head of lost and found, who later said how surprised he was that Eliyahu had only kept asking about his tefillin and had not even mentioned the money. After he gave over details of the package he had left behind, Meimon returned the tefillin and the money to him.

I dont know if the guy who found the bag opened it and knew there was money inside. I presume not because if I had found such a tefillin bag with money I would definitely have tried to locate the owner myself and not deposited it in the lost and found. Still, between all the various people involved, it took good people to ensure that this guy got his money and tefillin back.

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  1. Where did he raise so much money? Simple, he went to a Gemach. There are plenty of gemachim in Jerusalem (Ahavas Chesed across the street from the Mir, for example) that will easily loan $10,000 for a chasnah. Usually, you have to arrange things a few months in advance.

    1. A gemach doesn't usually give you cash. They give you a check. So he probably went door-to-door.

  2. Rafi has told us that

    " ... if I had found such a tefillin bag with money I would definitely have tried to locate the owner myself and not deposited it in the lost and found."

    Maybe, Rafi - and I am definitely not denigrating that.

    However, the loss took place on Egged property so the finder could either have taken his find to the Police, or handed it in to Egged's lost and found department.

    As R' Eliyahu (the owner) went directly to Egged, which was the logical thing to do in the circumstances, he "got a result" as we say here in Jersey.

    If the finder had decided to make his own enquiries he would probably have exposed himself to all sorts of (false) accusations that ב"ה we do not need to discuss further.

  3. you are probably right. there is a halachic debate in such a situation what the correct thing to do is - do you fulfill hashavat aveida by giving it in to lost and found, because that is where the loser will look for it, or do you as the finder have the obligation to look for the loser yourself, to the best of your ability..

    with that amount of money, I think I might do it myself. As a matter of fact, by turning it in one is just exposing more people to the potential accusations if something might have happened.

  4. You should never put anything other than tefillin (and perhaps a small siddur) into a tefillin bag. It's an anti-segulah that could cause you to forget it somewhere!

  5. An anti segula causing you to forget? It is true that since the bag serves to hold the tefillin, it gains a level of kedusha and hence should not be used to hold anything else. Perhaps the money, etc. was in the outer bag, which holds the actual tefillin bag. In that case, one may keep other items in the bag as this is the accepted purpose.


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