I invite everyone to join me in a story-sharing campaign about fulfilling mitzvos. After all, we are now approaching Parshas Yisro in which we received the 613 mitzvos from Hashem. Each one of them is a pillar in the life of an observant Jew, making him a soldier in the Ribbono Shel Olam’s army. Collectively, they cover every aspect of human life and accompany every step of our daily lives. They are pipelines of sustenance that keep the world going.
People throughout the generations have gone to great lengths to properly fulfil the mitzvos. Our generation is no different. But sharing stories about cherishing mitzvos is still crucial. No one, not even the greatest among us, does not benefit from hearing an inspiring story. So let us all share the wealth we have – the wealth of untold stories.
The following story about hashavas aveidah begins at a wedding in Antwerp, Belgium. At the end of her daughter’s simcha, after most of the guests had left the hall, Mrs. M. discovered a precious diamond necklace strewn on the floor. Assuming the owner of the hall would be contacted about it, she told him to refer any inquiry to her.
A few days later, no one had called yet. Surprised, she put up signs in stores and announced her find in the local newsletter – to no avail. Strangely, no one seemed to miss the necklace, so she regretfully buried it in a drawer at home.
But the episode gnawed at her – where could the owner be? – so finally one day she decided to call a rabbi to ask him what else she could do to return the necklace. His reply took her by surprise: “Start wearing it,” he said.
Wear someone else’s piece of jewelry? The thought made her very uncomfortable. She kept delaying and delaying… until one day, as she was packing in preparation for a trip to the United States to attend a family wedding, her eyes fell on the necklace. On an impulse, she added it to her jewelry case.
In America, while preparing to head out to the wedding, she lifted the necklace and hesitantly put it around her neck. Somehow wearing it in a foreign country felt easier than wearing it in Belgium.
The wedding was enjoyable and uneventful, but then one of the guests came over to compliment her on the beautiful necklace she was wearing. With a slight sigh, the lady added, “I’m attracted to this necklace. It reminds me of a very similar one I once had, but, anyways, that memory belongs to the past.”
“Really,” said my friend, highly interested. “What happened to your necklace?” The lady’s eyes grew dreamy as she recalled, “I lost it at a wedding in Antwerp a few years ago.” My friend, gasping for air and doubting her own ears, opened the chain closure and returned the necklace to its rightful owner.
She was overjoyed at having fulfilled the mitzvah of hashavas aveidah and marveled as she reflected on the rabbi’s advice. It was obvious that hashgacha pratis (divine providence) and siyata d’Shmaya (heavenly assistance) had collaborated to effect this unlikely coincidence.
Stories have far-reaching effects. If they gush forth from the heart, they talk to the soul. Everyone has a story – either his or her own or that of some someone else. So, may I ask you to join me in sharing stories? Don’t keep them to yourselves. They will enrich, inspire, and uplift other people’s lives.