Parashat Ki Teitzei: Lost Things
Have you ever lost anything? Your keys, a book, a piece of clothing? Or perhaps you just misplaced them? Have you found something that someone else lost? What did you do with it? Have you ever felt like a lost thing?
In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitzei, we are told to return lost things, “You shall not see your brother's ox or sheep straying, and ignore them. [Rather,] you shall return them to your brother. But if your brother is not near you, or if you do not know him, you shall bring it into your house, and it shall be with you until your brother seeks it out, whereupon you shall return it to him. So shall you do with his donkey, and so shall you do with his garment, and so shall you do with any lost article of your brother which he has lost and you have found. You shall not ignore [it] (Deuteronomy 22:1-3).” In all instances we are to return anything that we find that has been lost. More than that we are supposed to go out of our way to return the lost object, whether the person is near or far. We must wait to return the object to the right person, and keep it safe in the meantime. We shall “not ignore it.” It clearly important to G-d that we return lost things that we find. Why are all these details so important? There must be something in the action of returning something that is lost.
Tonight at your Shabbat dinner table ask yourself What does it feel like to lose something? What does it feel like to find something? What does it feel like to return something? What is so important about returning something that is lost? There is a less obvious power in returning something that has been lost. In giving a spark of joy. So, next time you find something in your house, in the street, or even if you feel lost, remember to return it, and think about what it means to that person and to you.