An Amazing Story of Hashgacha Pratis:
The following is a remarkable story of Hashgacha Pratis that happened to me just last week:
On Wednesday October 25, 2006 someone broke into my car, which was parked in a parking garage in downtown Baltimore, and stole my Tallis and Tefillin that were sitting in a black Tallis bag on the front passenger seat of my car.
Assuming the chances for recovery were minimal at best, I paid a visit to a local Sofer on Thursday evening to purchase new Tefillin. After choosing the Tefillin and having them fit to my specifications the Sofer handed me a card. He explained to me that on this card there was a Tefilla that was common to say in the hope of recovering lost objects. The Tefilla is to be accompanied by a pledge of tzedaka in the name of the great Tana, Rabbi Meir Bal Haaness. The origin of this is a Gemara in Avoda Zara (18b) that relates a story in which R’ Meir Baal Haness proves to a Roman soldier that by stating the phrase “Eloka D’Meir Anainu” – The G-D of Meir answer me, one can be saved from dangerous situations. The minhag has evolved to also say a Tefilla that includes this phrase in order to recover lost bjects.
While I had previously heard of this method of attempting to recover lost objects, I have never been one to pay much attention to these things.
After arriving home from the Sofer I said the Tefilla 3 times and pledged tzedaka to an organization in the name of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness. I then went about my regular routine without placing much hope into this actually working.
Until I received a phone call the following day at around 2 pm…….
There is an orthodox person that lives in Baltimore named Meir Kleiner (name used with permission) that does some business with local pawnshops. I happen to know Meir as his in-laws live in Monsey and daven in the same shul as my in-laws. On Friday morning he received a phone call from a person named David Glazer who owns a pawnshop in downtown Baltimore named “Easy Pawn” (about 5 blocks from where my car was parked). That morning a regular customer of Mr. Glazers’ walked into his pawnshop and dropped a Tallis bag on his desk stating that he found it in an ally a few blocks away and thought it looked “Jewish.” Knowing that Mr. Glazer was Jewish he figured he may know what to do with it. Although Mr. Glazer is not Orthodox, he recognized the item as Tallis and Tefillin and decided to call the only Orthodox Jew he knows to see if he can help locate the owner. So after placing a call to Meir and explaining the story, he drove downtown to pick them up. And as they say, the rest is history. Meir recognized my name and called to say that he had my Tallis and Tefillin. B’H everything was there and intact!
Just to highlight some of the amazing hashgacha pratis involved in this story:
* After realizing that they were of no value to him, the thief decides to drop them in an ally rather than throw them in the trash.
* Of all people to find them in the ally, it was a regular customer of a Jewish owned pawnshop in downtown Baltimore (how many of those do you think exist!)
* The owner of the pawnshop does business regularly with an Orthodox Jew.
* I happen to personally know this person after meeting him in a shul in Monsey.
On a side note, when the Sofer handed me the card with the Tefilla of R’ Meir Baal Haness I sarcastically told him that if this works I’d give the new ones to Tzedaka! While I’m sure I could somehow find a heter to not follow through on that promise, I’ve decided that in light of this amazing story I will donate the new pair of Tefillin. There is now a Bal Tshuvah in Aish Hatorah's new yeshiva in Pasaic, NJ that will receive a brand new pair of Tefillin!
Amazing how things work!
Oh, one more thing…the name of the sofer that I bought the new Tefillin from …… Rabbi Sion Baal Haness!!! That is no joke!
Please feel free to disseminate as you wish.