The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 29 March 2008 / 22 Adar II 5768

The Tefillin Retrievers

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

When he saw two sets of tefillin in the hands of a fellow who didn't look like he ever wore them, Rabbi Yehuda Mutzafi, rabbi of the Minchat Yehuda Congregation in Jerusalem, suspected that they were stolen property. His fears were confirmed when the thief turned violent and demanded an exorbitant price for giving them up. The rabbi succeeded in getting him to settle for a token sum and then set about trying to locate the owners of the stolen tefillin.

After some futile attempts he finally turned to Machon Pe'er in Bnei Brak, which specializes in locating owners of lost tefillin. Just as they have been successful in locating such owners in hundreds of cases, these "detectives" managed to find the owners of these tefillin that had been stolen from their yeshiva dormitory room 15 years earlier.

This incident recalled the happy day when someone came to the home of a friend years ago with a pair of tefillin that his son had left on a bus years earlier. This thoughtful fellow explained that he has a practice of periodically looking through the lost items department of Egged Bus Company in order to find lost tefillin. In this case there was identification in the tefillin bag, which led to a happy ending.

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