It wasn’t until Shabbat afternoon, when I was sitting in Rabbi Duvi Bensoussan’s weekly class at Ahi Ezer, that I realized one of my earrings was no longer on my ear. The earrings were a birthday gift from my husband and I was distraught. I searched around the area where I was sitting, but couldn’t find it.
After the class ended, I tried to retrace my steps from the shul to my home a little more than two blocks away. I carefully examined the streets and sidewalks along the route, but to no avail. After Shabbat ended, I reviewed what had been a very busy day in the hope of determining where the missing earring could be. That morning, I had attended prayer services at Ateret Torah on Quentin Road, where we joined my sister Sharon’s family to celebrate her granddaughter’s marriage just a few nights before. From there, we joined them at the sheva berachot in Bnei Binyamin on Avenue O. I recalled that it was raining when we left the kinees, and that I had needed to pull my coat hood over my head. Perhaps that was when the earring fell off? I had to go look for myself.
I stopped by Bnei Binyamin first, where a large group of men who were reciting birkat halevana voluntarily joined my search, but nothing came up. Then I went to Ateret, and to my embarrassment, I opened a door and unknowingly interrupted a class. The men there, too, generously offered to search the room, but still no earring.
I proceeded to walk the streets with my trusty flashlight, with my husband Jimmy following closely behind me in the car. Retracing my morning route, I started on Avenue O and East 8thStreet, walked over to Ateret, and then down Quentin to Ocean Parkway and eventually to my home on East 4thStreet. But the earring was nowhere to be found.
When I returned home, I was exhausted, but it was time to take special action. I was determined to pull out all the stops. First, I recited the special tefilah (prayer) for a misplaced or lost item (which Baruch Hashem, had never failed to work for me in the past), and then put some sedaka in the charity box that I keep in memory of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness. Next, I called a contact at the Kupat Ha’ir charity to make a donation. Aside from the great merit of sedaka, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, shelita, is known to pray on behalf of those who donate towards this cause.
As the night passed, I began to try to accept the loss in my heart. If it was Hashem’s will that I was to lose the earring, so be it. Let it be a kappara (atonement) for me and my family. But deep down, I never really did give up hope.
On Tuesday, I attended a class given by Mrs. Carol Haber, and among other things, she presented to us a wonderful lesson from Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, z.s.l.: An “awakening from Above” cannot take place without an “awakening from below.” I thought of my missing earring, and felt that I had certainly done my share of “awakening” down here.
The next evening, I attended a special event held for our community’s women at Shaare Zion. Though my missing earring was not at the forefront of my thoughts, the disappointment over its loss was still in the back of my mind. So when, Allegra Mamiye stood up at the gathering and announced. “Did anyone lose an earring?” Instinctively and without hesitation, I raised my hand. Then I realized that she was probably referring to an earring she had found right then and there, which could not have been mine. She asked me to describe the lost earring and, without holding out much hope, I did. Then, to my sheer amazement, she said that the earring she found really was mine!
Allegra explained that her daughter, Shirley, had found it on Avenue S on Shabbat (near Ahi Ezer). She clipped the earring to her necklace, so as not to carry on Shabbat, and even went door to door in the immediate neighborhood, asking if anyone had lost an earring.
The next morning, Allegra and her son, Ely, who had just learned in school about the missvaof hashavat avedah (returning lost items) and was now able to participate in a real-life experience, brought the earring to my house. I was amazed that it really was a match. I still couldn’t believe that I was actually holding my earring. And Ely was even more excited, because now he was going to be able to tell his story to his class.
Rav Dessler’s words had come true – and of course, I should have known that they would. Hashem is great! When you throw your burden onto Hashem and trust that whatever He does is good, then He will not disappoint you!
In memory of Mazal bat Nizha – Mollie Levy Sutton