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
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
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
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
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
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