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Bava Metzia 23

BAVA METZIA 23 - Dedicated in memory of Max (Meir Menachem ben Shlomo ha'Levy) Turkel, whose Yahrzeit will be 5 Teves, by his wife Jean and sons Eddie and Lawrence Turkel.



(a) We extrapolate from 'Kikros shel Nachtom, Harei Eilu she'Lo' - that one is obligated to return home-baked loaves (seeing as they are identifiable) ...

(b) ... irrespective of whether the loaves are found in a Reshus ha'Yachid or a Reshus ha'Rabim.

(c) Even though Rabah holds 'Si'man he'Asuy Li'dares, Lo Havi Si'man', the finder is not permitted to keep a home-baked loaf that he finds in the Reshus ha'Rabim - because people do not tend to walk past food (without picking it up).

(d) The Tana does not contend with the possibility that the loaves will be trodden on ...

1. ... by Nochrim - because Nochrim too, will give the bread a wide birth, for fear that it may be bewitched.
2. ... by animals - because he is speaking in a town where animals are few and far between.
(a) Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah, obligates the finder to return 'Davar she'Yesh Bo Shinuy'. The Tana Kama - permits him to keep it.

(b) We initially assume that even the Tana Kama agrees that an automatic Si'man (that might have come into being on its own) is considered a Si'man and that people walk past food. We would hold that an automatic Si'man is considered a Si'man - by ignoring the possibility that it came into being by itself (turning 'Si'man ha'Ba'ah me'Eilav' into a misnomer).

(c) The basis of the Machlokes Tana'im would then be - whether Si'man he'Asuy Li'dares Havi Siman' (Rebbi Yehudah - like Rava) or ... Lo Havi Si'man' (the Tana Kama - like Rabah).

(d) Rav Z'vid in the name of Rava refutes this explanation - because if the Tana Kama were to hold both 'Si'man ha'Asuy Li'dares Lo Havi Si'man' and 'Ma'avirin al ha'Ochlin', then why would the finder be obligated to return home-baked loaves in the Reshus ha'Rabim.

(a) Rav Z'vid in the name of Rava therefore concludes that both Tana'im agree that 'Si'man he'Asuy Li'dares Havi Siman' and 'Ma'avirin al ha'Ochlin', and they argue over Si'man ha'Ba'ah me'Eilav. Rabah will say the opposite. According to him - both Tana'im will hold 'Si'man he'Asuy Li'dares Lo Havi Siman' and 'Ein Ma'avirin al ha'Ochlin', though he too will establish the basis of their Machlokes whether 'Si'man ha'Ba'ah me'Eilav, Havi Si'man' or not (like Rava).

(b) The second Lashon follows exactly the same pattern as the first, only we do not initially try to establish the basis of the Machlokes as to whether 'Si'man he'Asuy Li'dares Havi Si'man' or not. In fact, according to this Lashon, both opinions hold 'Si'man he'Asuy Li'dares Lo Havi Si'man' - and they argue over whether 'Ma'avirin al ha'Ochlin' (the Tana Kama), or not (Rebbi Yehudah).

(a) Rav Z'vid in the name of Rava teaches us a number of principles concerning a lost article. We know when a person has been Meya'esh from a lost article - when he says 'Vay Li le'Chesaron Kis' ('Oy, I've lost so and so').

(b) Someone who finds small sheaves in the Reshus ha'Rabim, may keep them. According to Rava, this is speaking when the article has no Si'man.

(c) If he found those same sheaves in the Reshus ha'Yachid, it would depend upon how they were placed. If they clearly fell, the finder may keep them - because they have no Si'man, and since they fell without his knowledge, the location where they fell is not a Si'man either.

(d) And in all of these cases according to Rav Z'vid Amar Rava, if the lost article had a Si'man - he will have to return it, seeing as he holds 'Si'man he'Asuy Li'dares Havi Si'man'.




(a) We learned in our Mishnah that the finder of strings of fish may keep them. The owner cannot claim them by identifying ...
1. ... the knot - because the Tana is speaking in the case of a standard fisherman's knot, which is not a Si'man.
2. ... the number of fish per string - for the same basic reason.
(b) The Tana of the Beraisa rules that someone who finds silver or copper vessels, or a piece of lead or metal - may not return them unless the claimant gives either a Si'man or the correct weight.

(c) Rav Sheishes extrapolates - that if weight is considered a Si'man, so is size and number (resolving our She'eilah as to whether number is a Si'man or not).

(a) The Tana of the Beraisa rules that someone who finds ...
1. ... cuts of fish or a piece of bitten fish - must announce them.
2. ... barrels of wine, oil ... - may keep them (see Tosfos DH 'Chavi'os').
(b) Based on the assumption that 'cuts of fish' means the head or the tail, this poses a Kashya on our Mishnah - which rules that the finder may keep cuts of meat that he finds.

(c) We therefore reinterpret 'cuts of fish' to mean - that they have been cut in an unusual manner, leaving them easily identifiable.

(a) Rabah bar Rav Huna used to send cuts of meat to his wife - cut in a triangular shape.

(b) He did this - because he would send them through a Nochri, and Chazal forbade Jewish meat that passes through the hands of a Nochri unless it is identifiable.

(c) And we prove this interpretation of 'cuts of fish' from the Beraisa itself - which inserts the case of a bitten piece of fish, which is a Si'man in the piece, and not just a specific part of the fish (as we initially defined 'cuts of fish').

(a) We just learned in the Beraisa that someone who finds barrels of wine or oil, produce, dried figs or olives may keep them. In order to reconcile the Mishnah later, which obligates someone who finds barrels of wine or oil to announce them, with this Beraisa, Rebbi Zeira Amar Rav establishes it - by a sealed barrel (since each wine-producer would seal the lid of his barrel in his own way - Tosfos DH 'be'Rashum').

(b) The Beraisa cannot be speaking about an open barrel - because an open barrel is an 'Aveidah mi'Da'as' (akin to throwing it away, and we would not need a Beraisa to teach us that the finder may keep it). Consequently, the Tana must be speaking - about a barrel that is neither sealed nor open, but simply shut.

(c) Abaye establishes even the Beraisa in the case of a sealed barrel - only the Mishnah speaks - before the wine-producers open their storehouses, whereas the Beraisa speaks - after they have been opened, and many wine-merchants received barrels from the same producer, so that the seal is no longer a Si'man.

(d) When Rav Acha bar Ya'akov found a sealed barrel of wine after the store-houses had been opened Abaye told him - to keep it.

(a) Rav Bibi asked Rav Nachman whether Makom is a Si'man. Rav Nachman tried to resolve Rav Bibi's She'eilah from the previous Beraisa (which permits someone who finds a barrel of wine or oil ... to keep it) - because, if Makom was a Si'man, why is the finder not obligated to return it on the basis of 'Makom'.

(b) To refute Rav Nachman's proof, Rav Z'vid establishes the Beraisa by 'Raksa de'Nahara' - which means 'the river bank', which is where the wine (which was transported from the wine-press by river) would be unloaded by the purchasers, and taken one by one, to their respective stores.

(c) This explanation refutes Rav Nachman's proof due to the reason given by Rav Mari - that since the river-bank was a sort of public-supply plant, just as the claimant lost his barrel there, so too, might anybody else have done so.

(d) According to others - Rav Mari was giving a reason as to why Makom in general is not a Simon.

(a) A certain man found - pitch in the olive-press.

(b) When he displayed reluctance to follow Rav's ruling to keep it - Rav told him he could share it with Rav Chiya his son.

(c) Rav permitted him to keep it (not because he held that Makom is not a Si'man but) - because seeing as nettles had grown on the pitch, it was obvious that it had been lying there for a long time, and that the owner had already given up hope.

(a) Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar permits the finder to keep 'K'lei Anpuryah'. Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel defines 'K'lei Anpuryah' as - brand new vessels which the owner has not yet got used to (and this will be explained still further later.

(b) 'Anpuryah' is the acronym of - 'Ein Poh Re'iyah'.

(c) This implies that a vessel that is not brand new, and that the owner has become accustomed to, must be announced, even though it has no proper Si'man - because it might belong to a Talmid-Chacham, to whom one must return a lost article, if he recognizes it.

(a) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel lists three things in which a Talmid-Chacham tends to lie: 'bi'Mesechta, u've'Puri'ah, u've'Ushpiza'.
1. 'bi'Mesechta' means - that even though he has learned a certain Masechta, he says that he has not (see Tosfos DH 'bi'Masechta').
2. 'u've'Puri'ah' means - that he says that he has not been intimate with his wife, even though he has (see Tosfos 'DH be'Puri'ah').
3. 'u've'Ushpiza' means - that if he is asked whether he was treated well by his former hosts, he replies in the negative (so as not to embarrass them by causing an influx of guests taking advantage of their hospitality).
(b) The ramifications of this statement are - that it is only to someone who lies in these three areas exclusively to whom one returns a lost article on the basis of recognition alone, but not to someone in other areas too.
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