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To Catch a Thief?

Sunday, 5 November, 2017 - 9:39 pm


Question of the Week:


I received the following anonymous question exactly as presented here, unedited and in the original:


im not a jew but we have somthin the jews might like to buy of us. it is a

scrol made of deers leather with hebru writing on it, i do not no anything

about this religous item and was wondering if you and your jewish

community would be interisted in this, if yes get back in contuct. i have

evidence of this item and was wondering who to turn to if i would like to

sale such an item. thank you


I didn't get a good feeling from this question. It seems this guy has found or probably stolen a Mezuzah. It is a holy object, and if he throws it away or defaces it, that would be a serious desecration of G-d's name. On the other hand, Jewish law forbids paying too much to redeem a holy object, as it will only encourage more theft. So I needed to come up with a way to encourage the return of the scroll without overpaying.  

Here's my response:




The scroll that you are holding is a ticking time bomb.


It has little monetary value, as it cannot be used anymore. At most you may get a few dollars for it.  


But it is a holy object. It has power. The highest power. And if it is mistreated it brings bad luck. Have you noticed a few things have gone wrong since you got it? As long as it is not in its rightful place, it is dangerous. 


For your own safety, I suggest you immediately put the scroll in a plastic bag and tie up the bag. Then look for a house with a similar scroll affixed to the doorpost, and leave the bag in the mailbox.


I wish you only blessing, once you return the scroll.

Rabbi Moss  


Do you agree with my response? Can you suggest a better one? I'd love to hear.... 



Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 39:7 (not to overpay) 

Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 423:2 (stolen Mezuzah can't be used)

Sefer Shmiras Haguf Vehanefesh 216 (dangerous to mishandle a Mezuzah)

Tehillim 18:27 (Veim Ikesh Tispatol)  

Rashi on Bereishis 29:21 (Gam ani achiv beramous)  

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