NEW YORK (VINnews) — If you found money lying on the ground, with no known claimers nearby, wouldn’t you take it for yourself?
This is even acceptable according to halacha- if there is no sign on the money, the owner cannot be tracked and would accept his loss. However in one case one should try and locate the owner- if there is a possibility of Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name). Even if the money belonged to a gentile, it is right to return it if it could cause a Kiddush Hashem.
A couple of high schoolers from Fasman Yeshiva High School in Skokie, Illinois, had an opportunity for such a Kiddush Hashem when they stumbled upon a large number of bills which seemingly had no owners. For a time it seemed to them like money grew on trees and came down like fall leaves.
“It was so windy – literally, money was floating in the air!” Zev Goldstein told CBS 2 reporter Steven Graves.
Goldstein and his friends were walking from breakfast Thursday morning when more green than the grass started appearing.
“There’s tons of money – hundreds of 20s just lying on the ground in this area that floated over the bushes.”
“I was like, whose is this? Where is this coming from?” added Coby Kamish.
Kamish figured something was off. He tried to give the cash to a man in the distance who was rushing to pick it up.
“And he was like, ‘Just keep it!’ I was like, ‘That’s weird, why would he just say keep it?’”
It turned out that man was guy was pocketing the money.
“And then we look across the street and we see the armored truck,” Kamish said. Apparently the money had fallen off while transferring to an ATM and had been swept away in the wind.
“Because of how windy it was, it was futile,” Goldstein said. “We just gave up.”
He said the students did recover an estimated $790, which is now in the hands of police.
“I thought the right thing was to give it back to the people that actually, it’s their money,” Kamish said.
But there was a fleeting feeling that these young men won’t soon forget.
“This is the best day of my life, initially,” Goldstein said. “Yeah, I wish it could happen a second time.”
Skokie police said this is an active investigation – so they cannot say how much money was found, or if they are looking at surveillance footage. But they do say they are thankful for these teens’ honesty, and wanted to make sure it was recognized.