Homeless Man Gives Bochurim His Most Cherished Item – A Tefillin Shel Rosh [SEE THE VIDEO]

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Los Angeles’ Skid Row is usually a place most people try to avoid. Packed with homeless people’s tents and deviants of all sorts, it’s the type of place that regular folk steer far away from. This Tisha B’av, however, a group of bochurim found themselves walking past the homeless tents as they searched for another friend.

As they moved past one homeless man’s little fort, he called them over.

“I have something very important for you,” he says.

The man rummaged around in his tent for a few moments and emerged carrying the shel rosh from a pair of tefillin.

The man said that through his time on the streets, whenever the cops would kick him out of areas, he always made sure that no matter what, he kept that shel rosh with him. He added that another homeless individual with whom he is friendly opened up the tefillin to check if they have drugs.

The man said he would ask around the local encampments to find out whether someone is in possession of the tefillin shel yad. One of the bochurim told YWN that while the homeless man said the shel rosh had been opened, there are no obvious signs that it actually was, but it will be sent to a sofer to be checked.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Nice to hear the tefillin are being returned, despite the condition. I will point out however that there has been a disturbing trend of people taking videos of these type of stories and of ‘Kiddush Hashem’ stories in a way that seems very not real. It’s almost as if the first thought that comes into people’s minds when a story happens (or even before it happens) is how this story would look if I get a video of it and post in on the yeshiva world (usually involving a re-enactment of the original episode as in taking out a cell phone and asking the subject: ‘Sir can you say again what you said a minute ago?’). If the story is a kiddush Hashem, would it be so bad to post it in words without re-enacting it or staging it for a video? I don’t blame the individuals, but it is a clear symptom of our generation’s addiction to social media where people engineer their life to be something that works well for social media. For example, a winter vacation can no longer be to Miami/Orlando as it is unfit for social media. You need to post from Cancun or who knows where. Nice that the tefillin were returned. Sad that everything needs to be ‘produced’ for consumption.

  2. letsgetthisright – I beg to differ with your way of thinking. Just as we do right on a greater level when we clearly understand Hashem is watching, perhaps a person who starts out wanting to make a kidush Hashem for the sake of having it on video for all to see, will eventually understand and it will become second nature.

  3. Flatbush Tzadik – You make a good point and I don’t disagree with you that mitoch shelo lishmah bah lishmah, both for the individual in the story and for someone watching the video, but I think we need to aspire higher. Emes and tznius (in your actions) are forgotten middos theses days. We underestimate the greatness of a human being and we sell ourselves short when we focus on how a chessed looks rather than what it is doing and how it impacts the world.