There was once a Chassid in Mezibush who had a problem – he was extremely forgetful. One morning he went off to shul. When he got there, he realized he had forgotten his tefillin at home. “I will have to go home and get them,” said the Chassid.
When the Chassid arrived at home, his wife greeted him. Her name was Gittel. “Why have you come home so early?” asked Gittel. “I forgot something,” said the Chassid. “But I can’t remember what it was.”
“It must have been the Gabbai’s pointer,” said Gittel. “You forgot to give it back to the Gabbai after your aliyah, and you brought it home yesterday.” Gittel gave her husband the pointer, and happy that he had found what he had forgotten, he walked back to shul.
Indeed the Gabbai was glad to get back his pointer, just in time for the Torah reading. But then the Chassid realized that he had still forgotten his tefillin at home. “How will I daven without my teffilin?” he sighed. Thankfully, Motel, the locksmith had already finished davening. “I will lend you my tefillin today,” said Motel. “Much thanks,” said the Chassid, donning Motel’s tefillin.
“I have an idea,” said Motel, after davening was over, “Why don’t you keep your tefillin in the shul? That way, you won’t ever have to remember to bring them from home.”
“You’re a genius, Motel!” exclaimed the Chassid. “That’s exactly what I’ll do.”
The Chassid was so excited about Motel’s idea that he ran all the way home.
“Motel had a great idea about my tefillin,” he declared to his wife.
“Wonderful, what was it?” asked Gittel curiously.
“Oh, it was brilliant,” said the Chassid, “Motel said that I should take them…” his voice trailed off.
“-take them where?” asked Gittel, at the edge of her seat.
The Chassid frowned. “It’s no good, Gittel, I’ve forgotten.”
“Wait!” said Gittel. “I know! Take them to be checked! That’s what he must have said.”
“Ahh,” said the Chassid, scratching his beard. “Maybe that was it. It’s true, I haven’t had them checked in a long time.”
So the Chassid took his tefillin to be opened up and checked by Yitchak the Sofer. When he left Yitzchak, he still had a nagging feeling that he had forgotten something.
The next morning, the Chassid arrived in shul. “My tefillin!” he cried, looking around, “I have forgotten them again! What shall I do?”
The Chassid walked all the way home. His wife was still sleeping, and he did not want to wake her. But he had forgotten all about taking his tefillin to be checked. He searched the house up and down and, of course, he could not find them anywhere. “Where could they be?” he moaned.
His eyes suddenly fell upon the lock on the front door.
“Aha!” he cried. “Now I remember! Motel, the locksmith told me to leave them in shul. That’s where they must be!” The Chassid of Mezibush cheerfully jogged back to shul. But of course, his tefillin weren’t there either.
“I’m at the end of my rope,” he wailed, “I have lost my tefillin for good.”
At Yitzchak the Sofer’s study, Yitzchak had just finished sewing up the Chassid’s tefillin. “Here,” he said to his 8-year-old son, Feivel, “go to the shul and bring these to the Chassid. He’ll surely be needing them for his davening.”
“Yes, father,” said Feivel. Feivel eagerly took the tefillin, left the house, and raced through the streets towards the shul.
Meanwhile, in the shul, The Chassid raised his eyes to heaven.
“Please Hashem,” he pleaded, “please help me find my tefillin. I cannot daven to you properly with out them.” He put his hands in the air and shut his eyes tight. “Please, please Hashem. I need your help, I want to daven to you, but you must help me find my tefillin!”
As he was praying so hard and rocking back and forth with his eyes closed, little Feivel entered the shul. He looked this way and that, until, near the Aron Kodesh, he spotted the Chassid praying desperately. Not wanting to disturb the Chassid in the midst of his prayers, he quietly placed the tefillin on the lectern directly in front of the Chassid. His job done, Feivel turned around, left the shul and ran back home.
“I’ll ask you just one more time, Hashem,” cried the Chassid, “Please, please help me find my tefillin!!”
With that, the Chassid of Mezibush opened his eyes, and lo and behold, there, right in front of hom, were his tefillin!
“O, thank you Hashem!” the Chassid called in tears. “Thank you so much for bringing me back my tefillin!” Joyously, he donned his tefillin and completed his morning prayers with great fervor.
And he never lost them again.
(Because he forgot to take them off.)