Rabbi Leizer Teitelbaum, OK Senior Rabbinic Coordinator, was travelling in Spain to visit OK facilities when his tefillin and laptop computer were stolen as he was checking in to the hotel. Rabbi Teitelbaum immediately contacted the local Chabad shliach, Rabbi Dovid Lieberson, to arrange to borrow a tallis and tefillin for the duration of his trip. A few weeks later, Rabbi Lieberson contacted Rabbi Teitelbaum to let him know that his tefillin were found. Here is the incredible story of their return!
From: Teitelbaum, Rabbi Leizer
Sent: 23 March 2011 13:41
To: Chayim Schwab
Dear Mr. Schwab,
Rabbi Dovid Lieberson advised me that you were Hashem’s shliach to get me back my tefillin.I don’t know how to thank you enough for doing this for me. Therefore, I will not write any flowery appreciation letters, but please know that I appreciate it very much. Please also tell me how to send you the money that you paid for them – I would appreciate the opportunity to pay you back – at least what you paid.
Rabbi Leizer Teitelbaum
From: Schwab, Chayim
Sent: 24 March 2011 10:41
To: Rabbi Leizer Teitelbaum
Dear Rabbi Teitelbaum,
I was delighted to read your email and I’m so pleased that the tefillin made their way back to their rightful owner. I was in Barcelona to watch a soccer game between Arsenal (a London team) and Barcelona. I took my wife along so she could have a little break too.
Arsenal lost the game but I guess it was hashgocha that we should see the sights of Barcelona and visit a flea market where I saw your tefillin lying there. They were out of their boxes and the stallholder wanted to charge me 40 Euros because he said it was 5 Euros for each ‘piece’. I put the tefillin back in the boxes and showed him there were only four pieces so he gladly accepted 20 Euros. (Please note that the Rashi and Rabeinu Tam tefillin could be in the wrong boxes – I had no way of knowing which was for which).
I do not want any money – I am pleased that I could fulfil a big mitzvah and if you want to donate the money I paid to the Chabad House in Barcelona that assisted in returning the tefillin to you then that would be fantastic.
Wishing you all the best.