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The Talmud (Avodah Zarah 18a-b) relates that the sister-in-law of R’ Meir had been taken hostage by the Romans and placed in a house of ill repute. His wife, Bruriah, begged him to save her.

R’ Meir approached the guard and offered him a bribe, but the guard was concerned that he would be discovered and punished. R’ Meir advised him to call out, “G-d of Meir, answer me,” and he would be saved.


“How do I know that I will be saved this way?” asked the guard.

R’ Meir incited the attack dogs who were ready to devour him, and when he called out, “G-d of Meir, answer me!” the dogs left him alone. Upon seeing this, the guard freed R’ Meir’s sister-in-law.

When the guard’s treachery was discovered he was brought to be hanged. When the guard called out as R’ Meir had instructed him, they were unable to hang him, and his life was saved.

Since that time it has become a time-honored custom that when one loses something, or is in any type of crisis, they say, “G-d of R’ Meir save me,” three times and then contribute a few coins to the tzedakah of R’ Meir Ba’al HaNes.

As Phyllis sat down on the other side of my desk, she admitted resignedly, “I’ve come to the end of the line, Rabbi. You’re my last chance.”

Indeed, Phyllis’ problem was complex. After a breakup in the family ten years earlier, her 19-year-old son had left home, disassociating himself from both parents.

Phyllis handed over a creased note that had been folded and refolded many times, which read, “I’m leaving. I don’t know if I will ever see you again. Doug.” Phyllis now wanted to find her son. She was getting older and was losing her vision. She would shortly be undergoing serious long-put-off surgery on her eyes, and felt an urgent need to find her son.

I didn’t know how to respond. How could I help her find a grown-up son whom she had not seen all this time, whom she had not heard from, or had any contact with, and who had deliberately severed all connections?

After a moment’s contemplation, I said, “Phyllis, there’s a special prayer a Jew says when he finds himself in a troubled state. It’s from Tehillim (Chapter 22), which you can recite every day. In addition, there is a special segulah, a sort of talisman, for finding something that is lost. Try it.”

“Yes, Rabbi. What is it?”

“Put a small amount of charity into a special charity box,” I explained, “and say the words ‘Eloka d’Rav Meir aneni.’ These few words have been known to have tremendous power when a person has given up all hope of finding something that has been lost.”

I could see Phyllis’ face take on an expression of hope. “I’ll do it, Rabbi,” she said. “I’ll say the psalm every day, and I’ll give charity. I pray it will work.”

“If you have faith – bitachon – Phyllis, I’m sure it will,” I encouraged her.

A month passed. Phyllis had still not been able to find Doug.

A short while later Phyllis received an invitation to attend an ecological conference in Vermont. Since ecology was a strong and abiding interest of hers, she made plans to attend.

Phyllis enjoyed the seminars and the workshops, never for one minute forgetting what had become an all-consuming pain in her heart. On the last evening of her stay, Phyllis sat in the large cafeteria with a cup of coffee in front of her, disconsolately looking through the large plate glass windows as the last bit of daylight disappeared. Suddenly she jumped up and ran outside, as speedily as she could, onto the grounds. Although she had not been paying careful attention, she thought she had seen a familiar face.

As she got closer to the young man ahead of her, she called out “Doug,” at first softly and tentatively, then louder and stronger, “Doug!”

The young man whirled around and stopped when he saw the middle-aged woman running towards him.

“Doug,” she panted, as she tried to catch her breath. “I found you at last. Please, Doug, give me a chance.”

He was pulling away from her. His face registered only shocked surprise. “Mother, I don’t know how you found me. I will have to take time to get used to this. I can’t believe this. How did you find me? How?” he kept repeating.

“It’s a long story. It wasn’t easy. It took a little faith.”

I have recently suggested that this segulah should be implemented to help bring the hostages home by reciting a short tefillah followed by the words, “Eloka D’Meir aneini,” three times.

Yehi ratzon milifnei avinu shebashamayim sheyachzor habaysah b’meheirah acheinu bnei yisroel hashvuyim b’yedei achzarim b’Azah, v’lo yiheyeh l’hanechetafim shum nezek v’sakanah, v’HaKadosh Baruch Hu yerachem aleihem v’yoshi’em, v’yotzi’em mitzarah l’geulah, b’agalah uv’zman kariv amein. May it be the will of our Father in Heaven that our brothers and sisters, who are captives in the hands of the enemy, will return home soon. That there will be no harm or danger to the abductees. May Hashem have mercy on them and comfort them, and bring them out of trouble to deliverance, to rejoin Klal Yisrael, imminently, Amen.


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Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, a prominent rav and Torah personality, is a daily radio commentator who has authored over a dozen books, and a renowned speaker recognized for his exceptional ability to captivate and inspire audiences worldwide.