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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Bava Metzia 26

BAVA METZIA 26 (3 Teves) - dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Rebbetzin Sarah Gustman (wife of Hagaon Rav Yisroel Zev Gustman and daughter of Hagaon Rav Meir Bassin of Vilna) on the day of her Yahrzeit, by two Talmidim Muvhakim of Rav Gustman, Hagaon Rav Hillel Ruvel and Hagaon Rav Yisrael Azriel Zalisky - and in honor of the marriage of Rav Zalisky's son, Yitzchak Zvi, to his wife Rachel Dinah (Lasher) on 2 Teves 5762. May they be Boneh a Bayis Ne'eman b'Yisrael!


(a) (Mishnah): If it was found in a new wall - in the half facing the public domain, the finder keeps it; in the half facing the owner's premises, the owner gets it.
(b) (Rav Ashi): If a knife is found, we assume it was inserted from the direction the handle faces (if that is the public domain, the finder keeps it); by a drawstring bag, it was inserted from the direction the strings face.
(c) Question: But the Mishnah says that we only care which half of the wall it is in!
(d) Answer: The Mishnah speaks of things which are held from either side, like tufts of wool or pieces of silver.
(e) (Beraisa): If the lost object spans the entire width of the wall, the finder divides it with the owner.
(f) Objection: This is obvious!
(g) Answer: The case is, the (hole in the) wall slopes. One might have thought, we are concerned that the lost object was put on the other side and slid down - the Mishnah teaches, this is not so.
(a) (Mishnah): If Reuven rented his house to others, one may keep even what he finds in the house.
(b) Question: We should assume it belongs to the last tenants!
1. (Mishnah): Coins found (in Yerushalayim) in front of people that sell animals - we always assume that they are coins of Ma'aser Sheni; coins found in Har ha'Bayis - they are Chulin;
i. In other markets in Yerushalayim - during the festivals, they are Ma'aser; any other time, they are Chulin.
ii. (R. Shemayah ben Ze'ira): This is because the markets of Yerushalayim are swept daily (surely they were dropped the day they are found; Har ha'Bayis is not swept, so we go after majority usage).
iii. Similarly, (even if the lost object originally belonged to prior tenants, surely the last tenant found it) this was left by the last tenant!
(c) Answer #1 (Reish Lakish): The case is, the house was rented to three (people, even) Yisraelim - the loser surely despaired.
(d) Suggestion: This says that the Halachah follows R. Shimon ben Elazar even when most of the city are Yisraelim (the loser despairs)!
(e) Rejection #1 (and Answer #2 - Rav Menashya bar Yakov): The house was rented to three Nochrim.
(f) Rejection #2 (Rav Nachman): Even if it was rented to three Yisraelim, this does not show that the Halachah follows R. Shimon ben Elazar; - here, the loser despairs, because he is sure that one of the other two took it, and they deny it.
1. This is as Rav Nachman holds elsewhere.
2. (Rav Nachman): If two people were standing together and Levi saw a coin fall from one of them, he must return it;

i. The loser does not despair - he is sure that the one next to him took it, he plans to confront him and get it back.
3. If three people were standing together; and Levi saw a coin fall from one of them, he may keep it;
i. The loser despairs - whoever he confronts can deny having found it.
4. Version #1 (Rava): If the lost object (which fell from one of three people) is worth at least three Perutos, he must return it - perhaps they are partners, and do not despair.
5. Version #2 (Rava): If the lost object is worth at least two Perutos, he must return it - perhaps they were partners, and one of them relinquished his share to the others.
(a) (Rava): Reuven saw a coin fall from Shimon - if he picked it up before Shimon despaired, intending to steal it - he transgresses all of the following: "Lo Tigzol", "Hashev Teshivem", and "Lo Tuchal l'His'alem";
1. Even if he returns it after Shimon despaired, this is only a gift, it does not correct his transgressions.
(b) If he picked it up before Shimon despaired, intending to return it, and after Shimon despaired, he intended to steal it - he transgresses "Hashev Teshivem".
(c) If he waited to pick it up until Shimon despaired, he only transgresses "Lo Tuchal l'His'alem".
(d) (Rava): Reuven saw a coin fall from Shimon and fall in sand. If Reuven picked it up, he need not return it, for Shimon despaired.
1. Even if Shimon takes a sifter and sifts the sand - he despaired from his coin, he is trying to find what others have lost.
(a) (Mishnah): If Reuven found something (without a sign) in Shimon's store, Reuven keeps it;
1. If he found it between Shimon's box (where he puts the money) and Shimon, it is Shimon's.
(b) If Reuven found money in front of the table of a moneychanger (Levi), Reuven keeps it;
1. If he found it between the chair (on which the table rests) and Levi, it is Levi's.
(c) If Shimon sold or sent produce to Reuven, and there were coins inside, Reuven keeps them;
1. If the coins were wrapped up, he announces (to return them).
(d) (Gemara - R. Elazar): (Reuven may keep) even money on the table.
(e) Question (Mishnah): Reuven may keep money found in front of the table;
1. Inference: He may not keep money on the table!
2. Counter-question (Mishnah): Money found between the chair and Levi, it is Levi's.
3. Inference: Reuven may keep money on the table!
(f) Conclusion: The inferences contradict one another - we cannot determine which is correct, the Mishnah neither supports nor refutes R. Elazar.
(g) Question: What is R. Elazar's source?
(h) Answer (Rava): He had difficulty with the Mishnah - rather than saying that money between the chair and Levi is Levi's, it should have said that money on the table is Levi's
1. Alternatively, it could have said that Reuven keeps what he finds in a moneychanger's store, like the first clause, Reuven may keep something he found in Shimon's store;
2. Since it did not say either of these, it must be that Reuven keeps it.
(i) (Mishnah): If Reuven bought produce...
(j) (Reish Lakish): This is only if he bought from a merchant (who buys fruit and sells it) - but if Shimon sold his own produce, surely they are Shimon's coins.
1. A Chacham recited in front of Rav Nachman a Beraisa teaching Reish Lakish's Halachah.
2. Question (Rav Nachman): Even if it is Shimon's produce - did he thresh it himself?! (Perhaps a worker dropped the coins!)
3. The Chacham: I will no longer recite the Beraisa (there is a mistake in the text)
4. Rav Nachman: It is not mistaken - the case is, Shimon's Kena'ani slave threshed it (either way, the money is Shimon's).
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