Years ago, a student of mine bought a house from a non-Jewish woman who was getting on in her years. As the elderly lady was about to leave the house for the last time, she confided in the young man that she had once lost a diamond ring inside but never found it.
Shortly after moving in, my student decided to make a number of repairs to the kitchen and repaint the walls. And so, he called a repair company and asked them to evaluate the work entailed and offer a price quote. A few days later, a repair man made his way over to inspect the house. Walking all around, he eventually wandered over to the sink in the kitchen. The sink was quite old and clearly in need of replacing. Fidgeting with the sink, the repair man soon noticed a ring pop out. Surprised by the discovery, he brought the matter to my student’s attention, who figured that the ring must belong to the woman who had previously owned the house.
When I received a call later from my student asking what to do, I told him that it would be a tremendous Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name) to return it. And so, he did. When the elderly woman heard what had happened, she was beside herself. She could not stop thanking him again and again for his kindness. For some time afterwards, different members of the woman’s family called to thank him. “Thank you so much,” they all said, “G-d bless you. You made grandma so happy.”
Pleased that he could help and be the source of a Kiddush Hashem, he was surprised when he received one final call. This time it was not a family member; it was the priest. “I just wanted to say that blessed be the G-d of the Jews.”
In Judaism, one simple physical act can have the greatest of spiritual ramifications. Whether it be returning a lost item, making a Kiddush Hashem or washing our hands with water to purify them, we can never underestimate the impact and effect of our actions. And, of course, on a most practical level, if you remove your rings when washing your hands for Netillas Yadayim, be sure to put them in a safe place… Otherwise, you might return next year for Pesach cleaning and surprisingly find somewhere hidden in your sink a diamond ring. ~ Rabbi Yisroel Belsky zt”l in The Torah Anytimes