When I was a youngster of seven or eight years old the following incident took place. My father was at a large community event when an expensive diamond ring was found. The man that found the ring put it into his pocket not thinking of announcing the found ring. Later that night he remembers finding the ring and was hesitant about doing something about it. He thought that the person probably had the insurance, etc.
A few days passed and his good side got the better of his conscious and he decided to return the ring. He brought the ring to my father and sheepishly asked my father to find the rightful owner. My father called the people who held the party but they had no idea who had lost such an expensive ring as no claim had been made.
My father was upset with the man but on the other hand he realized that “it was as it was.” Whatever happened to the ring, I don't remember. But the lesson of ‘don't put off a good deed until tomorrow’ remained with me.
This month I had the good fortune to attend a Bris ceremony of my niece’s son. During the party I dropped a fork under the table and while reaching down for it I found a rather expensive diamond Gucci watch. I did not wait too long and proceeded to make a loud announcement “A piece of jewelry was found. Please come to me with the correct identification and it will be returned.” No one came forth, so I put the watch in my pocket thinking of returning it at a later date.
Then bingo! I remember how 55 years ago a man found a ring, etc. I did not want a repeat of that to happen. I went table to table until I found a young mother who, when hearing my announcement, checked her arm and, sure enough, no watch. She proceeded to tell me that she did not know what she would have done when she recognized her loss as she had just lost her bracelet a week ago. Now it happened again. What would she have done? She exclaimed! Rest assured she was happy with the return of her watch and I am happy for the mitzvah.
So, my friends, always grab a chance to do a mitzvah as it is rewarded as a second mitzvah. Ultimately it brings other good deeds – from a Bris to returning lost items to the joy of experiencing it all.
Rabbi Eli Hecht is vice–president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America and past–president of the Rabbinical Council of California. He is the director of Chabad of South Bay in Lomita, CA which houses a synagogue, day school, nursery school and chaplaincy programs.