Ethics

For the week ending 22 December 2007 / 13 Tevet 5768

Lost and Found

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Question: I often see signs in public places or newspaper ads concerning a lost object in which it is stated that the finder will be rewarded. Since we are commanded by the Torah to return to its owner a lost object, is the right thing to do to accept such a reward?

Answer: This question was posed to Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, the rav of the Ramat Elchanan community in Bnei Brak. His response was that it is wrong to accept payment for returning a lost object even if the owner offers such a reward. A Jew returns what he has found because he is so commanded by the Torah and it is improper to demand or accept payment for doing a mitzvah.

When placing that "lost and found" ad, he suggested writing that the finder returning the lost object will receive his reward from Heaven.

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