The Matzav Shmoooze: Does Anyone Care About Their “Stuff”?


chareidim1Dear readers,

As we engage in Pesach cleaning, at home, at work or elsewhere, does anyone ever stop to think of all the articles of clothing and other items that are left haphazardly in countless locations? Go to any local shul and you’ll see jackets, coats and hats in the coatroom. Whose are they? Where are their owners? Don’t those people realize that they don’t have their coat or jacket? How does one just “lose” these items?

Go to any school at the end of the year and you’ll find a collection of books, coats, sweaters, loose-leafs, and pens and pencils of every shape and color left behind.

I guess the children learn from their parents.

Go to camps at the end of each season and you’ll find clothes, sporting goods, and electronics left behind. You’ll also find caps, gloves, balls, bats, disc-mans, fans, lamps, watches, and more.

I guess the children learn from their parents.

But why do we tolerate this waste, this lack of responsibility, and this lack of chashivus for one’s belongings?

As we clean for Pesach, perhaps we should also reevaluate our attitude towards the things we own. If we change our attitudes and start caring, we’ll have a fighting chance that our children will learn these values. Otherwise, we’ll just continue to see the pathetic display of carelessness we witness today.

Y. G.


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. good point, I always wondered the same thing. How and why do people leave thousands of dollars worth of stuff everywhere they go??

  2. They do care. They just don’t know where the item is. I believe we do have a mitzvah called hashovas aveidah. Look to see if the item has an identifying siman and contact the owner. I am sure they will be glad to have the item back.

    In addition, the example the author uses regarding children is hardly fair. Parents do teach their children to be responsible but they are not adults yet and do lose things and don’t know where to find them.

    Maybe it is bashert that Y.G. noticed these lost items and he can start a lost and found bulletin.

    Wishing everyone a chag kasher vsamayach!

  3. As often happens, items are taken in error. If you take my coat, I don’t who took it, so yours is “lost” but don’t know it. Now is a good time for everyone to make sure that the winter coats, rain coats, hats etc. that are in your closet are indeed yours.

  4. Why do you call it: waste, lack of responsibility, lack of chashivus for one’s belongings?
    Maybe a cheshbon was made and it wasn’t worth the time to go and look for it or retrieve it. In the words of Rabbi Yitzchok Berkovits shlita, if the time and effort it takes to save an item isn’t worth the value of that item, there is no problem of baal tachshis. On the contrary, if you do save it you are being over baal tachshis of time.
    There is no question that the average person would agree to this: would anyone in today’s generation say that it’s worth 10 minutes of moving an extremely heavy item away from a wall and back to save a tissue that is stuck behind it? Obviously not.
    So the concept itself everyone has to agree to.
    It then just becomes a question of how to evaluate the time and effort verse the value of the object, so no two people will draw the exact same line and there is bound to be an extremely broad range depending on one’s upbringing, community, culture and more.
    So who’s to say for someone else that it’s a problem? Do you understand all their calculations? Do you know how valuable their time is? Maybe on the contrary, you are underestimating the great importance of every second we each have in this world?
    In short, al tadin es chavercha in general, and specifically in this case where you are forced to admit that the line is subjective.

  5. We all do care very much about our stuff. When our child looses his hat or coat we are very upset at the loss of money and try to convey that to him. When my son lost a Shabbos shoe shortly after buying it, he knew he’d have to help pay for it. (B”H we found it.) But with large communities and large families, we often loose things and cannot find them. It doesn’t mean we’re negligent.

  6. When children/youth/young adults have no responsibility to earn $ (babysitting, matzvoh & wine deliveries, car cleaning, succah bldg, binding of sefarim, etc.) then the possessions that are purchased become valueless in their eyes..

  7. Best thing that is left behind…are someone’s keys! How do they get home w/o them..

    The shul I daven in has keys that have been sitting for the longest time and yet no cars are ever left in the parking lot..

  8. yet another reason to criticize our community- we are busy, we are running, our cars are on the wrong side, our kids have to get to school on time; minyan; work ,busy mommies, We are human- we run, we lose, we forget. STOP looking for reasons to rebuke our brother (and ourselves) My block in flatbush just raise over 2,000 dollars for one needy family on our block for pesach- and we are NOT a rich block. We are the nicest, kindest, caring , people We make mistakes. Give us and yourself a break Stop looking for the negative. Maybr You can find some of the owners of these belongings. Give it a try Do a mitvah.

  9. Why is it always the brand new coats that are “mistakenly” taken by someone else on Shabbos? No one ever mistakenly takes an old coat! Hmm!

  10. I’m surprised that someone as flawless as the writer chooses to remain anonymous. Please, dear writer, tell us your name so we can emulate your perfection.

  11. Stress the positive and stop being a negative Ba’al Mussar.

    Instead, start a campaign to teach people how to embed their own bar codes on their clothing so that when it’s found, a simple scan will advise all the contact details?

    Now that would be useful, no, and increase Mitzvos and happiness

  12. There is obviously something more ingrained than simple time-prioritization (as suggested by Hey Ho)
    I know of a shatnez-checking office who, over the years has accumulated literally a room-full of unclaimed brand-new recently-paid-for items which were never claimed. (This was before they had the brain-wave of labeling each item as it arrives)