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Bava Metzia 21

***** Perek Eilu Metzi'os *****



(a) The Tana of our Mishnah rules that someone who finds 'scattered fruit (referring to grain), scattered money, small sheaves in the Reshus-ha'Rabim or rings of dried figs' - may keep them.

(b) The significance of the fact that he found the small sheaves in the Reshus-ha'Rabim is - that, even if they perhaps had a Si'man initially, it would have have been trampled on by the public and rendered unrecognizable.

(c) What the above, as well as someone who finds 'bakers' loaves, strings of fish, cuts of meat, unprocessed shearings of wool, thin threads of flax or combed 'tongues' of wool' have in common is - the fact that they all have no Si'man, in which case, the owner despairs of getting them back, which in turn, renders them Hefker.

(d) Rebbi Yehudah obligates the finder to return anything which has a Shinuy, by which he means something like a ring of dried figs with a piece of clay in the middle, or a loaf with a cavity with money in the cavity.

(a) Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar says - that 'K'lei Anpuri'ah' (which will be explained later) need not be announced.

(b) Rebbi Yitzchak qualifies 'scattered fruit' in our Mishnah - to not more than a Kav in an area of not less than four Amos.

(c) According to Rebbi Yitzchak, our Mishnah cannot be speaking about fruit that had obviously ...

1. ... fallen unbeknown to the owner - because then he would be permitted to keep even more than a Kav that he found in an area of even less than four Amos.
2. ... been placed deliberately - because then he would be obligated to return even less than a Kav in an area of more than four Amos.
(d) Rav Ukva bar Chama therefore establishes our Mishnah in a case - where he found it in the granary, after the corn had been threshed (which is not a regular case of loss), and it is a matter of whether the owner will return for the remains or not.
(a) The underlying reason for this distinction is - because we assume that the owner will find it too troublesome to gather a Kav of grain in the space of four Amos.

(b) Rebbi Yirmiyah asks a number of She'eilos based on this distinction. In spite of the fact that ...

1. ... half a Kav in two Amos entails less trouble to pick up than one Kav in four Amos, the finder might nevertheless be permitted to keep it - because it is less valuable (and whether one must return it or not, depends on a balance between the two).
2. ... two Kabin in eight Amos is more valuable than one Kav in four Amos, the finder might nevertheless be permitted to keep it - because it entails more trouble to gather it.
(c) Sesame-seeds are even more trouble to gather than grain. One might nevertheless be obligated to return a Kav of them that one finds in the granary scattered in four Amos - because they are more valuable.

(d) One might nevertheless be obligated to return a Kav of dates or pomegranates scattered in four Amos, even though they are less valuable than grain - because they are larger and less trouble to gather.

(e) The outcome of all these She'eilos is - Teiku.




(a) Abaye holds 'Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as Lo Havi Yi'ush', meaning - that someone who finds a lost article whose owner has not yet been Meya'esh, is not permitted to keep it, even though we know that he will be Meya'esh later.

(b) Rava says - 'Havi Yi'ush'.

(c) Even in a case where the owner was not aware of the loss until after the finder found it ...

1. ... Rava will concede that, if the lost article has a Si'man, 'Lo Havi Yi'ush' - because, the finder picked it up be'Isur (seeing as the owner was not expected to be'Me'ya'esh later [even in the event that he subsequently was]).
2. ... Abaye will concede that if the incoming tide or an overflowing river swept away the lost article, 'Havi Yi'ush' - because (as we shall see later), we learn this from a Pasuk.
(d) They argue specifically in a case - where the article had no Si'man and it was not impossible for the owner to retrieve it at the time that he lost it.
(a) If Abaye goes after the time of Yi'ush - Rava considers the Yi'ush to work retroactively, seeing as, from the time that he lost the object, his mind was no longer on it, even after he discovered its loss.

(b) We reconcile Abaye with our Mishnah, which permits the finder to keep ...

1. ... scattered fruit - by establishing the Mishnah like Rav Ukva bar Chama (in the granary, as we explained above), and not by a lost article.
2. ... scattered money - by establishing it like Rebbi Yitzchak, who maintains that a person tends to feel in his pocket at regular intervals, so we assume that he was aware of the loss by the time the finder found it.
3. ... rings of dried figs and bakers' loaves - because, due to their weight, we assume that the owner discovers their loss almost immediately.
4. ... 'tongues' of purple wool - because likewise, we assume that the owner discovers their loss almost immediately, on account of their value.
(c) The Beraisa - permits someone who finds money in a Shul, in a Beis ha'Medrash or in any public place that is frequented by large numbers of people to keep it.

(d) To answer the Kashya on Abaye from Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as, Rebbi Yitzchak explains that this is - because a person tends feel in his pocket every few minutes, as we explained above.

(a) Another Beraisa permits anyone to take Leket once the Nemushos have been and gone. According to Rebbi Yochanan, the 'Nemushos' are old men who walk on sticks. According to Resh Lakish - they are the second wave of collectors.

(b) The Tana's reason for this ruling (according to both Rebbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish) is - because, once these people have been, the other poor people in the area will be Meya'esh from finding any more Leket in the fields.

(c) It makes not the least difference that the poor people who live in other towns do not know when the Nemushos have been - since they are Meya'esh already from the beginning, because of the locals, who, they reckon, will have emptied the fields by the time they arrive.

(a) 'Ketzi'os' - are figs that have been cut off the tree with a special cutting-knife. As a result, juice now oozes from them and they need to be spread out in the field to dry.

(b) The Mishnah in Ma'asros rules - that Ketzi'os that one finds in the street or beside a field ...

1. ... are not subject to Gezel.
2. ... do not need to be Ma'asered.
(c) The Tana there says ...
1. ... the same about figs that one finds underneath a fig-tree ...
2. ... but that olives and carobs that one finds underneath their respective trees are subject to Gezel and must therefore be Ma'asered.
(a) We might ask on Abaye from the Reisha of the Beraisa - where the Tana permits Ketzi'os and figs under a fig-tree, even though they appear to be cases of Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as?

(b) Abaye will explain that the Tana permits ...

1. ... Ketzi'os - because, due to their value, the owner keeps constant track of them.
2. ... figs under a fig-tree - because the owner knows that figs are constantly falling off the tree, in which case it is really a matter of Yi'ush mi'Da'as.
(c) And according to Rava, the reason that the Tana in the Seifa forbids the olives and the carobs that have fallen off the tree is (not because it is Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as. but, Rebbi Avahu explains) - because the owner, knowing that everyone knows from whose trees they fell, he is not Meya'esh in the first place.

(d) The figs under the fig-tree are different, says Rav Papa - because, due to the fact that they become squashed as they hit the ground, the owner is Meya'esh.

(a) The Beraisa rules that if a Ganav, a Gazlan and the River Yarden took away objects from one person and deposited them by another - what they took, they took, and what they gave, they gave (meaning that the recipient may keep the objects).

(b) The Tana mentions specifically the River Yarden - because he happened to live near the Yarden, but the same will apply to any other river.

(a) There is nothing to ask from the cases of Gazlan and the River Yarden - because the owner sees them, and it is a question of Yi'ush mi'Da'as.

(b) The case of Ganav however, whom the owner does not see, and which is therefore a question of Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as, indicates that the Tana holds 'Havi Yi'ush'. To reconcile the Beraisa with Abaye, Rav Papa establishes it - by an armed robber (whom the owner sees).

(c) True, an armed robber is also a Gazlan. Nevertheless - the Tana wishes to present two cases of Gazlan.

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