The undeniable links of Pessah

A clear mitzva message learned from a pair of gold cuff links.

Levitsky 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy )
Levitsky 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy )
Fifteen years ago, I was a ba'al tshuva [penitent Jew] studying at Yeshivat Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem. Just before Pessah, I volunteered to do a mitzva that took me to the city's Rehov Bar-Ilan at night in the rain and cold. I dressed in my black overcoat, hat and has on my gold cuff links. The cuff links are each an American $5 gold coin from 1881 and worth about $750 each. When I returned from the intersection after doing the mitzva, I noticed that one of the cuff links was missing. In a panic, I retraced my steps over to Rehov Bar-Ilan and returned saddened and downhearted. The cuff link was gone. The next day I was in class and my sweet humash teacher Rabbi Gefen asked why I looked so sad. I relayed the story and asked how I could have lost such an item while doing a mitzva. The wise rabbi's eyes lit up and he told me to put up posters along the bus route and my cuff link would be returned. I replied to my rebbe that Bar-Ilan was a busy intersection and that there were many different types of pedestrians walking there, and that for sure someone just picked the gold coin cuff link up and thought his prayers were answered that "he found gold in the streets of Jerusalem" just before Pessah. My rabbi's face became lined and hardened; again he asked me to put up posters along the bus route. My answer was that I would have to go to Geula and spend NIS 50 to make copies at the copy shop above the Geula Pharmacy and it would be better to just donate the money as charity to the needy. This time my sweet humash rabbi raised his voice and stated sternly and loudly: "Betzalel, Betzalel, a Yeshiva bocher is desperately trying to get the cuff link back to you. Put up the posters!" I went and made copies. I took the remaining cuff link and enlarged it three times and printed copies on yellow bond paper. I put up the posters at bus stops, all the while telling myself that it was a waste of time. I returned to my apartment I rented from Rabbi Hanoch Teller in Ma'alot Dafna and looked at the clock. A car was coming to pick me up in 20 minutes to take me to Neveh Ya'akov for a week for Pessah. What a waste of time, money, and effort, I thought. At least I could tell my rabbi that I did as ordered. The phone rang. Nervously, the caller asked me if I lost a cuff link. Before I could answer, the line disconnected. A practical joker, I thought. A few minutes later the phone rang again. The caller was indeed sincere and apologized that his Bezek phone card had expired. He excitedly told me that his brother-in-law was walking with him last night before he was to leave for America and found a gold coin cuff link near Rehov Bar-Ilan. They both were aware of the monetary value of the coin and were worried that the owner would be upset and both of them spent the night making notes by hand that they posted at all the telephone poles at bus stops in three languages hoping to find the owner of the cuff link,. And then he said, "We are yeshiva bochers desperately trying to get this cuff link back to the owner." The cuff link was given to his father-in-law for safe keeping, and he lived across the alley-way, 20 steps from my apartment! The lesson is clear: Hashem will always protect, guard and safeguard and reward those doing His Torah mitzvot with a pure heart.