Sunday, May 17, 2009

Giving Up

The halachah is that the finder of a lost object does not acquire it if the owner does not know that his object seems irretrievably lost. The She’eris Menachem, zt’l, learns a very inspiring lesson from this. “One can explain that giving up, yei’ush, is ‘not from da’as,’ displays a lack of understanding. A true ‘bar da’as’—someone with genuine understanding—will never give up and always encourage himself to serve Hashem, no mater what!”
The Kotzker Rebbe, zt”l, adds, “The reason why one can acquire another’s property only after despair is because one really has no right to give up at all. He should trust that Hashem will help him recover what was taken from him. Therefore, if he gives up, he loses his right to his property. One must never give up!”
Someone once asked the Maharal, zt”l, “Why should one acquire what is not his property? Why does the Torah make a distinction if the one who lost the object gave up or not?”
The Maharal explains, “We must know that our money is not like our body or soul. Our body and intellect are ours for our entire stay in this world and they are the primary means through which we fulfill Hashem’s will in this world. With our possessions, there is a difference; sometimes people have ample money, and at other times they hardly get by. However, since we must usually work to make money it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that one’s money is also a part of him like his own body. We must learn that it is only Torah and mitzvos that have real lasting value. If money remained in one’s possession no matter what, it would be that much easier to mistakenly attribute more value to it than it really has.
He concludes, “And if one will claim that it is still only proper for the finder to return the lost object, that is actually the halachah. It really is fitting to return any lost object, even that which lacks an identifying mark. Yet the Torah refrains from obligating us to do so in order to teach us to distance ourselves from too much attachment to money since you can’t take it with you!”

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