Homeless Man Returns Tefillin in Los Angeles

By Matis Glenn

When a homeless man approached Joey Brecher and his two friends on Tisha Ba’av and told them that he has “something very important” for them, the group didn’t know what to expect. To their surprise, he told them that he had “the black straps,” and proceeded to describe tefillin!

The man says that he’s had the tefillin for over four months. While forced out of his encampments by police several times, the one possession he held on to were the tefillin. “I found this in my area after I had some guests, and it looked important, so I held on to it,” the man said to the group. “And then I come to find out that it’s very important. So I held on to it for two moves, two police raids, and we lost everything a couple of times, but I held on to this.”

Brecher and his friends, Uri Gurvitz and Gadol Stern, were stopped by the kind-hearted man at an encampment on La Cienga Boulevard and 3rd Street, in an area between two Jewish neighborhoods. They came to give food to a different homeless person who frequents the area, who told them previously that he was Jewish.

For ten minutes, the man rummaged through his tent to find the precious tefillin, eventually producing a tefillin shel rosh. The man says that the shel yad was opened by a friend of his, thinking there might be something hidden inside. Brecher says that the homeless man told them that he’s going to retrieve the shel yad, and hopefully the parshios as well.

The shel rosh appears intact, but Brecher will have the tefillin inspected by a sofer.

Brecher says that the man said that the tefillin “was very precious to him. He knew that there’s something behind it and they couldn’t just throw it out.”

It’s not clear how the tefillin ended up in the man’s possession.

“I hope that this made your day because it definitely made mine,” the man said.

“He started getting chills once we told him that it means a lot to us,” Brecher said.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!