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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776
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Rabbi Who Returned $98,000 Found in a Desk Not ‘Good Samaritan’

We should set the record straight on this term, at least when it comes to describing the noble act of a Jewish person.

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Rabbi Noah Muroff with cash.

Rabbi Noah Muroff with cash.
Photo Credit: WTNH-TV



New Haven Rabbi Noah Muroff and his wife found a huge pile of cash after buying a desk on Craigslist.

Rabbi Muroff, a teacher at a private Jewish high school in New Haven, told WTNH-TV that he found the money because he had to dismantle the desk to get it inside his home office after he bought it in September.

“The desk did not fit into this office by a fraction of an inch,” he said.

“Behind the drawers there is this plastic bag, like a shopping bag,” he continued. “In the bag, I could already see through the bag, it looks like a one hundred dollar bill. We open it up and it’s full of cash. And we counted up and there’s $98,000 cash sitting in the bag.”

And then, naturally, “right away my wife and I sort of looked at each other and said we can’t keep this money.”

The original owner was speechless, and managed to utter only: “Oh my gosh, because I… oh my God.”

One thing The Jewish Press feels obligated to correct: the Muroffs have been described, time and again, in the media coverage of their excellent behavior, as “good Samaritans.” They’re not. They’re very good Jews.

The term “good Samaritan” is an anti-Jewish slur included in the “new testament,” and intended to shame Jews.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (10:29–37), about a traveler who is beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of the road. A Kohen and then a then a Levy come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a Samaritan—a gentile whose practices are a derivative of Jewish tradition, comes by, and he helps the injured man.

The story is used as a putdown of the Kohen and levy, who are on their way to Jerusalem to fulfill their temple service—for which they must maintain their spiritual purity, meaning not touch the dead. They keep to the highway because the shoulder of the road is likely to emit “tumah,” the impurity of the dead. If they contract tumah, they’d have to spend a week cleansing themselves of it and miss out on their very short time of service (the kohanim only served two weeks or so each year).

If the man looked dead, the two temple servants were not going to risk their service on his behalf. The parable is clearly not documenting an actual event, but is one of those typical early Christian attacks on the Prushim (Pharisees), the Rabbinical Jews and their “odd” preferences. They switched to actually murdering those rabbinical Jews as soon as they gained sufficient power.

But it’s intolerable that the fine and selfless act of a Jew would be used to push that despicable story one more time.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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