Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Elul 5765 - September 21, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Adina Hershberg

Lost your house keys? Can't seem to find your book? Misplaced your wallet again? Can't find your diamond ring? We have all encountered similar circumstances. What can you do about it? You can search and search and hope to find that elusive item. You can offer your own children or some neighborhood children each a piece of pizza or an ice cream if they look diligently for the lost item. Or you can say a specific prayer for finding a lost object. About six years ago, my husband and I attended a wedding of the daughter of former neighbors. Instead of the usual bencher, the families gave a small collection of prayers, including the segulah of "Omar R' Binyonim . . . "

The gist of it is that until G-d opens our eyes, we are blind to things. The prayer refers to an event from the life of Hagar. One promises to give charity in memory of Rabbi Meir Ba'al Ha'Nes (the miracle worker), and in his merit one should find the object that he has lost.

Who was this Rabbi Meir whose tomb is in Tiberias, and to which countless people flock each year to pray? There are several theories about who is buried there. According to Rabbi Moses Basola, "People gathered there for prayer morning and night, stating that it was the tomb of one called Rabbi Meir who took a vow that he would not lie down until the Messiah came, and was buried there in an upright position." Some connect the grave with the Tanna Rabbi Meir, who established his school in Tiberias. During the 13th century, the tomb was connected with Rabbi Meir Kazin. Rabbi Meir ben Isaac, author of the special Akdomus prayer for Shavuos has also been connected with this Rabbi Meir.

Starting with the 18th century, a Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes charity box was found in many Jewish homes. Women put tzedokah into it prior to lighting Shabbos candles. Due to the miraculous deeds connected with the tomb, it was customary to donate money, candles, or oil for lighting as a specific protection against all kinds of diseases and dangers. This was also done in the hope of finding something lost, of being blessed with offspring, or of driving away evil thoughts. The box also symbolized the yearning for Eretz Yisroel. Rabbi Meir Ba'al Ha'Nes pushkes abound to this day.

One day I opened the drawer of the closet in my room in order to take out the camera. The camera was not in its regular place, and so I rummaged through the drawer. I asked family members if they had seen the camera, but no one had. A few days later while in bed, I started to think. We did not have money to buy another camera. What would we use to capture the memorable once-in-a-lifetime moments? I did some more fretting and finally fell asleep. In the morning I went out to our car and looked all over for the camera; perhaps it had been left there following a recent excursion to the forest. No success. I then recited the segulah and gave tzedokah. Off to a shiur I went. Upon returning to our apartment, I was amazed to see our camera on our dining room table! Later, my son Noam Chaim told me that after I had left, he went out to check the car for the camera. He found it in plain view inside the small storage space on the handle of the car door. G-d had opened up his eyes.

As is very common, we lost a mobile phone. It did not appear after a few weeks, and so I recited the prayer. That morning, I discovered it in a knapsack we had used when we had gone away for a Shabbos. Perhaps a more mundane item that got lost was one of the younger boy's shoes. But for us, losing a shoe is an expensive proposition. We rely mostly on hand-me-downs from relatives or gifts from my parents. I searched for the elusive shoe in the shoe drawer, under the beds, in the closets, among the toys, under the sofa, etc. When I had exhausted the possibilities, I said the special prayer.

One day, shortly afterwards, I opened my son's shoe drawer and guess what I found? One day, our young son Eliyahu Yeshaya came home from bike riding. He related that he had lost his red kippah when his bike fell over. Thank G-d he was O.K. I told him to go look for it. I had him describe to me where he had fallen. I said the special prayer. On the way to the spot where Eliyahu Yeshaya had fallen, I met several children and teens. As a I met each one I asked in Hebrew, "Ha'im ra'eeta kippah adumah?" and received a few strange looks. Later I realized that kippa adumah refers to Little Red Riding Hood. I did not look anything like a wolf. A bit more searching and I found my `Little Red Riding Hood.'

One time, I was witness to a child falling down and bruising himself. I tossed down my mail and mail key in my haste to help him but when I went back to pick up those items, I found only the mail. During the following days I searched for the mail key without success. I also put up signs and decided to say the prayer. The next morning when I went to take my son to nursery school, I found the key hanging on the gate outside the building. One of the mothers had found it near the very building where I had already looked.

Recently, Eliyahu Yeshaya, who is eight, received a hand- made paper pirate boat and flag. His five-year-old brother Yisroel Meir really liked it. Eliyahu Yeshaya has such a good heart that he gave the pirate ship and flag to Yisroel Meir to play with when he was home sick. Eliyahu Yeshaya reminded him to be careful with the boat and flag and not to lose them. When Eliyahu Yeshaya came home from school he asked Yisroel Meir for the treasured items. Yisroel Meir was only able to produce the pirate ship. Alas, the pirate flag had gotten lost!

To say that Eliyahu Yeshaya was upset was an understatement. I tried to calm him down. It is to his credit that he did not hurt his little brother in any way. He took out his disappointment with tears. I picked up various Torah sheets and other items that were on the kitchen table where the flag had last been seen. I shook the pages, but no flag fell out. When Eliyahu Yeshaya had calmed down somewhat, I reminded him about the prayer for finding lost objects, which he said, but he needed to give tzedokah. I told him that it should be from his own money. He dutifully took out his wallet and put money in the pushke. That evening our oldest daughter found the flag on the table in the pile of papers that I had leafed through earlier in the evening!

One of our children has an orthodontic retainer for his upper teeth. He tends to leave it around the house and not in the medicine cabinet where the case is kept. Surprise, surprise. One night this child could not find the retainer. We both looked for it, but we didn't find it. After several searches I told him that it was his responsibility to find it or replace it. I suggested the prayer. He took me up on the offer.

That Tuesday morning I went to do a laundry and I discovered that I had only one-half of a load of light-colored laundry. I decided to add several bath towels even though I usually wash them on Wednesdays. I went to the children's bathroom and started pulling a few of the towels off of the rack. Out fell the retainer.

[Adina's article has about another dozen examples that would fill up the rest of the Home and Family section, but I can't FIND any more room for it. Hopefully, by now, you've gotten the point. The segulah works, as many others can vouch for.]


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.