During the time of the Roman Empire, when the Jews were subservient to the Romans, many harsh decrees were enacted to both humiliate the Jews and stunt their growth in Judaism. Rabbi Chananiah ben Teradyon, the father-in-law of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness, and one of the asirah harugei malchus (ten great Sages murdered by the Romans), was caught teaching Torah studies to Jews. This was an act strictly prohibited by the evil Romans, and they ordered that Rabbi Chananiah ben Teradyon be executed. At the same time, they ordered that Rabbi Chananiah ben Teradyon’s daughter be sent to a brothel.
Rabbi Meir Baal Haness, who was married to Bruriah, the sister of the captive woman, set out on a mission to rescue his sister-in-law.
After locating the brothel where his sister-in-law was held captive, Rabbi Meir Baal Haness offered the warden a large bag of dinars. When the warden proclaimed his fear of punishment, were he to be caught for the crime of releasing Rabbi Meir’s sister-in-law from captivity, Rabbi Meir promised the warden that he would be saved if he would cry out “G-d of Rabbi Meir, answer me.”
In order to prove that the words “G-d of Rabbi Meir, answer me.” would prove to be worthy of saving the warden from a fate of punishment, Rabbi Meir demonstrated by walking over to a pit of hungry, vicious dogs, and throwing a stone in their direction. When they charged upon him, Rabbi Meir screamed out: “G-d of Rabbi Meir, answer me.”
Though the dogs were accustomed to devouring humans, they remained still and did not approach Rabbi Meir Baal Haness.
The warden was convinced, and allowed Rabbi Meir’s sister-in-law to go free.
As he predicted, after releasing Rabbi Meir’s sister-in-law, the warden was caught, and sentenced for execution. As the noose was being tightened around his neck he suddenly remembered the promise of the “Rabbi Baal Haness” (the Rabbi who had performed miracles) and cried out: “G-d of Rabbi Meir, answer me!” The rope immediately snapped, and the guard was saved from his fate of death.
At that, the Romans accepted that the warden indeed could go free. However, upon further questioning, they discovered that Rabbi Meir was guilty of redeeming his sister-in-law, and they wanted to punish him for this act. In order to track him down, the Romans engraved a likeness of Rabbi Meir on the city gates, and ordered their soldiers to track him down.
Rabbi Meir was successful in escaping the Romans, but he spent many years in exile, as a hunted man.
Yet even as he hid, Rebbe Meir Baal Haness lit up the eyes of the world with his Torah. Although many people are familiar with Rav Meir’s name (which in English is also sometimes spelled “Rabi Meir Bal Hanes”) as that of the person mentioned in the prayer for lost things, Rav Meir Baal Hanes was also a crucial link in the chain of transmitting the Torah – much of the Mishnah is based upon his teachings. Fittingly, through the prayer of lost things, his merits continue to help people find light in situations of darkness.
Thereafter, Rabbi Meir Baal Haness became well-renowned for helping people in need, with finding lost objects one of the needs high up on the list. How to find something with prayer becomes a concrete, possible reality through using the prayer for lost objects that invokes Rabbi Meir’s merits. If you ever lose something, try the segulah of Rav Meir Baal Haness: people who pray to find lost things have, time in and time out, seen inspiring results.
In fact, before he passed away, Rabbi Meir Baal Haness promised that he will intercede in Heaven, on behalf of anyone in distress, who will give charity to the poor of Israel in his memory. That is why the prayer for lost items which invokes his merit is so inextricably associated with the giving of charity. How to find something you lost with prayer hence also involves tzedakah.
For hundreds of years, people have been reciting the tefillah to find a lost item. This lost item prayer, known as “Amar Rav Binyamin” because of its opening words, is not just a prayer to find lost things. It is also a declaration which reminds us Whom to pray to when you lose something: the one Who gives light – and life – to us all. Those powerful words therefore have the ability to uncap the wellsprings of faith which are innate to every Jewish soul, and make them a lived reality for the person reciting the tefillah for finding lost items. That faith, in turn, fuels a deeper connection with G-d. Is it any wonder then, why this prayer for lost items has such potency and is so beloved to all?
Customarily, people donate charity to the poor of Israel as a merit to find their lost item, after reciting the lost things prayer. Kupath Rabbi Meir – a charity organization also known as the Rabbi Meir Baal Haness tzedakah – can do just that; they can also arrange that prayers for lost things be said upon your behalf at the Rabbi Meir Baal Haness kever in Tiveria. The prayer for lost items is always recited at his grave by G-d fearing Torah scholars with whom the charity has a long-standing relationship. The prayer for lost things they recite on behalf of brethren in need is invariably heartfelt, focused, and enunciated with much emotion and concentration.
Throughout the ages, each small town and shul had a tzedakah box dedicated l’ilui nishmas Rav Meir Baal Hanes For every prayer for lost objects recited, a coin would be deposited inside. Young and old, humble and prominent – all community members alike turned to the simple little tzedakah box in the shul in a time of need. Every village child could tell you how to find something you lost with prayer, and every coin subsequently placed inside had its own tale of origin to tell. Finally, when filled up, the box of donated monies would be sent to the needy in Israel. The tefillah for finding lost items which had been whispered over each coin thus literally helped the impoverished residents of the Holy Land find new life and light during even the most terrible decades of famine and want. Today, however, donating is as quick as searching “prayer for lost item” on Google; funds can be immediately processed and distributed as you say the words of the prayer for lost things.
This lost items prayer thus continues to unite people from all walks of life and all areas of the world who now have the opportunity to tap into this powerful segulah through the Rebbe Meir Baal Haness tzedakah’s online platform. Not just that: even those unfamiliar with the words of this tefillah for finding lost items can now easily access a transliterated version (and a translation into English as well , entitled “prayer for lost objects” , and available directly through our website). It’s as easy as typing “prayer to help find something you lost” into your search engine of choice. So, though times and locales have changed, we have the same answer as our ancestors so far as it comes to shedding light on what’s lost: How to find something you lost? With prayer – the prayer for lost things.