Jerusalem man finds bag with 40,000 shekels, tracks down owner and returns it

“I decided to go above and beyond, and I asked God to act the same way with us,” said the ultra-Orthodox man who found the money.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

After finding over 40,000 shekels in a bag on the streets of Jerusalem. an ultra-Orthodox man decided to do the right thing and track down the owner even though Jewish law didn’t require him to do so.

Thanks to checks found in the bag addressed to the recipient, Yosef Chaim Machlouf was able to successfully return the money to its owner – an Arab.

“According to Jewish law, not only did I not have to return the bag, it was even forbidden to return the bag unless doing so would sanctify God’s Name, and then it would be permissible. So I returned it,” Machlouf told Kol Hai Radio.

“Because of the situation with coronavirus, I decided to go above and beyond, and I asked God to act the same way with us,” Machlouf added.

During the same interview, the Arab who lost the bag of money came on air and thanked Machlouf for his kindness.

“In every place, there are good people and not good people. I am happy I ended up, thank God, with someone good, who returned the money to me, and I thank him very much. He’s a holy man,” he said.

Although the commandment of sanctifying God’s name (“Kiddush Ha-Shem”) and defaming God’s name (“Hillul Ha-Shem”) are not commandments explicitly written in the Torah, the Jewish sages derived it from the verses:

“You shall keep My commandments and do them: I am the Lord. You shall not profane My holy Name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel; I am the Lord who hallow you.” (Lev. 22:31, 32)

The sages saw this as an implication to perform deeds that bring praise to God and refrain from actions that diminish him in the eyes of others.