The Blaze (Nov 12) — Legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” It’s a lesson that Rabbi Noah Muroff, who teaches Judaic studies at Yeshiva of New Haven in Connecticut, took to heart after he purchased a desk for $150 and was shocked to discover $98,000 bundled up inside if it.
Muroff had a choice to make: Quietly keep the money or return the bag of cash to the desk’s owner. It was a moral dilemma that started with the faith leader’s simple quest for a new piece of furniture.
“We had been looking on Craigslist for a few weeks, and eventually found a listing for a desk that seemed like what we wanted,” Muroff told The Times of Israel.
He went to a private home to purchase the used desk on Sep. 2. When Muroff arrived home with it, he and a friend had a difficult time maneuvering the unit into the home due to its size, so they started to take it apart.
And that’s when the big bag of money was discovered inside of it, The Hartford Courant reported.
“I thought I saw a bill, and I guessed there was maybe something like $100 in it,” Muroff told the Times.
Of course it ended up being much more than $100.
The stunning find left Muroff and his wife, Esther, with a big decision to make, but the two knew what had to be done.
Late that same night, Muroff called the woman who sold him the desk and delivered the news about the cash; she was stunned.
As it turns out, she had inherited the money from her recently-deceased parents. It had apparently fallen behind one of the desk drawers and when couldn’t find it, she assumed it was somewhere else in her home.
The next day, Muroff and his wife brought their two children with them to return the money in an effort to teach them a valuable life lesson.
“They should learn from this — about the attribute of honesty, and doing what is right,” Muroff told The Hartford Current.
In a letter, the woman, who wishes not to be identified publicly, thanked the rabbi for returning her money.
Muroff also noted that Jewish law requires that objects be returned to their rightful owners. In this case, he is sharing his story in an effort to also help others in the community learn from it as well.