”Yes, I Know Him”: A Hashavas Aveidah Story

While I admit you certainly managed to make a charming story of the lost passport episode (18 Shevat/January 24), please allow me to take issue with the conclusion of the article. “So you see,” she says, when the flight attendant showed me the passport and asked, ‘do you know him?’ I said yes because we are all Jews and we all ‘know’ each other. I knew that we would find a way to get it to him.”

Surely it’s quite clear, using the benefit of hindsight, that the gentleman would have been reunited (no pun intended) with his passport far quicker (in a matter of minutes, rather than eight days!…) had Mrs. N admitted that she did not know the owner. It would have been handed in to the United Airlines desk, which would be the logical first port-of-call to retrieve anything lost on a flight.

I feel that advice for similar situations would be to leave the item with a responsible crew member or the airline desk. That would have saved Mr. Grossman a lot of unneceesary stress.

I would also respectfully point out that the fact that the passport “found” its owner has less to do with Klal Yisrael “knowing” one another; rather it is testimony to the far-reaching power of social/electronic media! As was reported recently in this very paper, a British non-Jewish couple was reunited with a given-up-for-lost engagement ring which fell down a utility grate in Times Squre, New York, via similar means. So this story is not essentially a “Yiddish” story.



I was somewhat taken aback by your “Hashavas Aveidah” article that appeared in the January 23, 2019 issue of Hamodia – Parashas Yisro.

We are unfortunately all too aware of the tragic pitfalls of technology, and therefore our Rabbanim have allowed technology only and strictly “letzorech parnassah.”

Social media / groups do not come under this heter, and have been prohibited by the Rabbanim.

Yours sincerely,

H. Gottesman

After receiving letters to the editor criticizing the “hashavas aveidah” article, Hamodia reached out to the protagonist. She responded with a poem:

It’s not the social media
or the apps on a phone

That were the point of the story
of the passport’s journey home

It’s the fact that the stewardess
trusted me as a Jew

To give it right over to a man
I hardly knew.

It’s that I took responsibility
and tried so many ways

And managed to find him
in just a few short days

It’s the siyatta diShmaya that gave me
the thought in my mind

To contact Hamodia for its lost and find

And the idea that he’s writing a book – don’t laugh –

And his editor is someone from the Hamodia staff!

So, let’s look at the news and
keep our focus on the main,

’Cuz looking for the good
is the aim of the game!