Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Returning Lost Objects Part 18

In the past few months we have discussed the laws of returning lost objects in considerable detail. Before we move on to the next topic, it is worthwhile to review some of the ideas that we derive from this Mitzvo (commandment). The most obvious lesson is that a person cannot live in a bubble ignoring the needs of those around him. He has to take a degree of responsibility for the property of others. We have said in the past that the Torah's outlook is that not helping others is not neutral, rather it is considered a negative form of behavior. Therefore, a person must develop an awareness of the world around him and how he can help improve that world.

The Mitzvo (commandment) of returning lost objects teaches us that even when we walk along the street we should be aware of the possibility that there is a lost item on the floor. Further, we should be prepared to expend the effort to fulfill our obligation to return the item to its proper owner. By doing such an act one can do a great kindness to the loser of the object. Many people feel great pain when they lose valuable items and returning them constitutes a great Mitzvo.

There is a remarkable story told which demonstrates the deeper significance of the Mitzvo to return lost objects. A non-observant Jewish young woman once happened upon an Orthodox Torah class whilst she was vacationing in in Jerusalem. This class was about the Mitzvo to return lost objects. The woman was not particularly moved by the class and carried on her life as usual. Some time later, she spent some time in the Far East, delving into the Eastern religions. She adopted a guru as her spiritual mentor - she saw him as the personification of spirituality. On one occasion they were walking together and the guru noticed a wallet on the floor. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. She asked him if he would try to return it to its owner and he replied that it was now his to keep. At this point she was reminded of the class she was taught about this very subject. The guru's indifference to the property of others stood in stark contrast to the attitude of the Torah. She decided to return to Jerusalem to enquire more into the religion of her ancestors.

One of the striking aspects of this story is how the guru did not connect 'spirituality' with taking responsibility for other's property. Spirituality was reserved for areas such as prayer and meditation, but it played little part in one's daily life. Judaism stresses that spirituality is not limited to one's relationship with G-d, rather one can connect to spirituality by following the Torah in the most seemingly mundane areas such as returning someone else's item. By studying the laws of the Mitzvos that involve our daily lives we can elevate commonplace occurrences into opportunities to connect to G-d by doing His Will.


Text Copyright 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org Visit Rabbi Gefen's new blog at rabbiygefen.blogspot.com.


 






ARTICLES ON SHOFTIM AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

First in the Mind!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

I Will Not Be Lazy - I Will Not Give Up
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Home is Where the Bais Din Is
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Joyful Service
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Challenged in the Heat of Battle
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5761

Just Justice
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

> Trial Preparation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Deceitful Prayer
Shlomo Katz - 5759

War and Leadership
Shlomo Katz - 5762

ArtScroll

You Cannot Hide
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Roadsigns to Eternity
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

In The Shadow Of Hashem
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Temimus: Wholeheartedness Is Necessary To Build Torah Institutions
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Protection For The Way
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Looking to the Future
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Protection For The Way
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information