Rabbi Finds $98,000 in Craigslist Desk

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Rabbi Noach Muroff at the desk in which he found $98,000 in cash. (photo credit: Esther Muroff)

Rabbi Noach Muroff at the desk in which he found $98,000 in cash. (photo credit: Esther Muroff)

We all fantasize about finding a sack full of money, but Rabbi Noach Muroff actually did stumble upon a cash fortune in a plastic shopping bag. It may have been a dream come true, but a quick reality check determined what Muroff would do with the loot.

The religious imperative to return lost items is not just an academic lesson the young rabbi teaches his students at Yeshiva of New Haven in Connecticut. He personally provided an example of Jewish law in action by returning a stash of $98,000 he found in a desk he bought off Craigslist to its rightful owner.

Muroff, who is originally from Ottawa, Canada and has been teaching at the yeshiva for five years, had bought the desk for a study he recently added to his home.

“We had been looking on Craigslist for a few weeks, and eventually found a listing for a desk that seemed like what we wanted,” he told The Times of Israel.

The rabbi and a friend went to pick up the item from a woman who lived just outside of New Haven. It fit perfectly in the minivan, but not through the door to Muroff’s study. “It missed being able to pass through the door by a quarter of an inch. It was so frustrating!” Muroff recalled.

When attempts to remove the study door from its hinges failed, Muroff, his wife Esther, and the friend resorted to taking the desk apart. They took off the file cabinet drawers and found a plastic shopping bag behind the filing cabinet drawers.

“I thought I saw a bill, and I guessed there was maybe something like $100 in it,” the rabbi said. But the bag was rather heavy, and when Muroff looked inside he found far more than just a C-Note. By the time he and his wife finished counting up the packets of bills, they were holding close to $100,000 in their hands.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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