Chareidi Man Finds NIS 40,000, Returns To Arab Owner

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Yosef Chaim Machlouf, a Chareidi resident of Givat Ze’ev, saw a bag on the street of his neighborhood a few days ago.

He picked it up and to his suprise, found NIS 40,000 worth of cash inside as well as several checks. Machlouf tracked down the owner, an Arab from Gilo, through the name on the checks.

Although according to halacha, he wasn’t mechuyav to return the aveidah, Machlouf decided to make a kiddush Hashem and return the money.

In an interview on Kol Chai Radio, he spoke about what motivated him to return the money: “According to halacha, not only wasn’t I required to return the package, but it’s even forbidden unless it will cause a kiddush Hashem – then it’s muttar. That’s why I returned it.”

“Due to the situation with the coronavirus I decided to act ‘lifnim meshuras hadin’ and I requested from Hashem that He also act with us in the same way.”

The Arab who lost the money also spoke on Kol Chai, saying: “In every place there’s good people and not good people. I’m happy that it was found by someone good who returned the money and I’m very grateful to him. He’s a holy man.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I hope he first asked daas Torah.

    Here, in this particular case, it isn’t merely an issue of returning “avadus akum” (lost property of a gentile).

    When we know that the majority of Arabs hate Jews and wish their destruction, there is a possibility that this money might be used to harm Jews or their property.

    As such, by returning this lost money, the Jew might be indirectly contributing to shfichas domim (loss of life).

    Would it be a “mitzvah” or a “kiddush Hashem” if a Yid was to return a lost gun to a terrorist?!

    Here there is a r’ov (majority) and a chazaka that the Arabs hate and seek to harm Jews.

    Before I cheer this Yid on his well-intentioned noble actions, I think this requires real daas Torah. After all, hell is paved with good intentions but heaven is filled with good works.

    I think Rabbi Hoffman should write a halachic article on this.

    Not that he is the posek that I follow!

    I would appreciate a halachic discussion and analysis of the issues. Obviously, in many halachic discussions, there are multiple considerations and opinions.

    A good discussion and analysis of ANY topic does not necessarily mean that one must agree with the conclusions presented.

    The purpose of any discussion, debate, analysis is to be more informed and hear a diversity of opinions. Though, on some topics, there is no room for debate or controversy.

    The issue HERE is that the money may very well be used to harm Jews.

    It might be like returning a lost gun to a terrorist.

    Hence, the “usual” halacha of returning lost objects to a goy may or may not apply.

    Although we follow halacha blindly, we must also know if the halacha applies to the particular circumstances.

  2. The point as to whether the gent would be forbidden to return the money is not so simple. In an area populated mainly by Jews, and the owner would suspect that a Jew found the money, there is most probably an obligation to return the money in all events. The reason of kiddush hashem however overrides all else, so other points are anyway just there for discussion.