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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) Rav Ashi rules that if someone who finds a knife with a handle or a purse with straps in a wall - we go after the handle and the straps (whichever side of the wall they are placed), rather than after which half of the wall they are found.

(b) He establishes our Mishnah, which presents the criterion as whether the article was found on the inner half or the outer half of the wall - in a case where one found a ball of material or a lump of silver.

(c) If the article filled the entire hole, the Beraisa rules - 'Cholkin'.

(d) This is not so obvious - because it speaks when the wall is sloping, in which case the article may have previously been lying at the top end, and had slid down to fill the hole.

(a) The Mishnah in Shekalim rules that money found in Yerushalayim in front of the animal merchants, was always Ma'aser-Sheini - because most of the meat that was eaten in Yerushalayim, was purchased with Ma'aser Sheini money. People tended to bring all their Ma'aser money to Yerushalayim on Yom-Tov, and whatever remained when they left, they would leave for the residents of Yerushalayim to eat after they had gone. Nor do we suspect that maybe it was the animal-merchants who had lost the money, because since there are more purchasers than sellers, the money probably fell from them - and is still Ma'aser.

(b) The reason that, if the money was found in the streets of Yerushalayim, it depended upon whether it was found on Yom-Tov (when it was Ma'aser) or during the rest of the year (when it was Chulin) is - because the streets of Yerushalayim were swept daily, so that any money that was lost there, would be found on the same day. Consequently, money found on any given day, would have been money that was lost after the previous sweeping. Har ha'Bayis however, was not swept every day. Consequently, money that was found, could have been lost a long time before, so we go after the majority of money that was brought there, which was Chulin.

(c) Money that was found in Yerushalayim during the year was Chulin - because most of the money that circulated in Yerushalayim at that time was Chulin.

(d) Har ha'Bayis did not need to be swept, because it was on a hill, and was kept clean by the winds - and besides, it was forbidden to enter the Har ha'Bayis with the dust on one's feet. This meant washing one's feet before entering the Har ha'Bayis, so it was never that dirty.

(e) We learn from the case of the streets of Yerushalayim - that we do not go after the majority, but after the last one.

(a) What makes our Mishnah comparable to the Mishnah in Shekalim is - the fact that before leaving a hired apartment, one normally tends to check that one has gathered all one's belongings.

(b) To reconcile the two Mishnahs, Resh Lakish in the name of bar Kapara establishes our Mishnah when the owner previously rented it out to three Jews. We initially consider this a reason not to return the article to the last owner - because it turns it into a public place, where Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar permits the finder to keep whatever he finds in any event (perhaps even when the majority of people are Jews), as we learned above.

(c) To refute the proof that the Halachah is like Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar even when there are a majority of Jews, Rav Menashya bar Ya'akov re-establishes the Mishnah - when the owner previously rented it out to three Nochrim.

(d) Rav Menashya establishes it by '*three* Nochrim' (not because it really make any difference how many Nochrim rented the house before him, but) - because Resh Lakish (whose opinion he is coming to counter) established it by *three* Jews.

(a) Rav Nachman Amar Rabah bar Avuhah agrees with Resh Lakish, on the grounds that, even if we establish our Mishnah by three Jews, it will have nothing to do with Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar - because the reason that the finder may keep the article is due to the fact that whenever there is a threesome, the owner is Meya'esh, as we shall see.

(b) The difference between the two cases is - that here, the loser knows (or thinks he knows) that one of the two men must have found it, and despair of retrieving it; whereas the Rabbanan argue with Rebbi Shimon in a case where the loser does not know who found it, and therefore has no cause to believe that the finder will not return it to him.




(a) When Rav Nachman quoting Rabah bar Avuhah, establishes our Mishnah when the owner rented his house to three Jews, he is merly following his own reasoning elsewhere. He rules that someone who sees a Sela fall from one of ...
1. ... two people is obligated to return it - because, assuming that his partner must have found it, and knowing that there was nobody else there, he figures that he will retrieve his Sela by taking him to Beis-Din and forcing him to swear a Shevu'as Hesses.
2. ... three people, he is permitted to keep it - because he has already asked them numerous times to return his Sela, and they have refused. Clearly then, one of them has stolen it, and there is nothing he can do about it, since he doesn't know from which one to claim.
(b) Rava argues with Rav Nachman. He changes the sum that one is permitted to keep, if it fell from three people, from a Sela to less than three P'rutos - in case they are partners. Consequently, had he found a Sela of theirs (or even three P'rutos), he would be obligated to return it, because partners tend to trust each other, and even if initially, the two partners denied any knowledge of the money, the loser is not Meya'esh, because he thinks that they are just pulling his leg, but will soon admit to their prank.

(c) Rava would concede however, that he would not be obligated to return less than three P'rutos of theirs, even if he knew that they were partners - because then each one would own less than a P'rutah, and one is not obligated to return less than a P'rutah.

(d) Some say that even if there were only two P'rutos, Rava would obligate the finder to return them - in case they are partners and one of them had forwent his portion to his friend.

(a) The three sins that Rava ascribes to a person who picks up a coin that he finds before Yi'ush are - "Lo Sigzol", "Hashev Teshivem" and "Lo Suchal Le'his'alem".

(b) Neither does he rectify the latter sin by returning it after Yi'ush (though he does rectify the other two sins (see Tosfos DH 'Matanah').

(c) If he ...

1. ... picks it up before Yi'ush with the intention of returning it, and after Yi'ush he decided to 'steal' it - he transgresses only the La'av of "Hashev Teshivem".
2. ... waits until after Yi'ush before picking it up with the intention of keeping it - he transgresses only the La'av of "Lo Suchal Le'his'alem".
(d) In the first of the two previous cases, he does not transgress the Isur of Gezel - because Gezel is only applicable at the time when the Gazlan takes it. The transgression cannot come into effect once he has it in his hands.
(a) Rava states that if Reuven finds the Sela that Shimon lost in the sand - he is permitted to keep it (though it is unclear what the Chidush is - see Shitah Mekubetzes).

(b) An this ruling applies - even if he sees Shimon fetch a sieve and start sifting the sand.

(c) The reason that Shimon sifted the sand is in the hope that he at least finds something that someone else lost (see Shitah Mekubetzes).

(a) The Tana of our Mishnah rules that someone who finds a coin ...
1. ... in a store may keep it - because, since many people enter the store, the owner is Meya'esh (see Tosfos DH 'Afilu').
2. ... between the drawer and the store-keeper must return it to the storekeeper - because he is bound to be the one who lost any money found on that side of the counter. The drawer contained the goods to sell, and in addition, he would place the money he received into it.
(b) The job of a banker in the times of the Mishnah - was to examine and to exchange coins.

(c) He and his customers would place their respective coins - on the table that was in front of him.

(d) Someone who finds coins 'Lifnei ha'Shulchani' (on the customer's side of the table) may keep them - because if they belonged to the banker, they should have been found on the other side of the table (between the banker's chair and the table).

(a) The Tana of our Mishnah makes a distinction between someone who finds loose money among the fruit that he purchased from his friend or that his friend sent him - which he is permitted to keep (because it has no Siman [as will be explained shortly]) and someone who finds wrapped money - which he is obligated to return to whoever identifies the amount or the knot.

(b) Rebbi Elazar rules - that the finder may keep money that he finds on the banker's table.

(c) We counter the Kashya on Rebbi Elazar from our Mishnah 'Lifnei ha'Shulchan, Harei Eilu she'Lo' (implying 'Ha al-Gabei ha'Shulchan, Harei Eilu shel Shulchani') - by citing the Seifa, which states 'Bein ha'Kisei u'le'Shulchani, Harei Eilu shel Shulchani', which implies 'Ha al-Gabei ha'Shulchan, Harei Eilu she'Lo'. So we ignore the implications altogether.

(d) Rebbi Elazar extrapolates from the Seifa 'Bein ha'Kisei le'Shulchani, shel Shulchani' that money that one may keep money that one finds on the banker's table - because otherwise, the Tana should have said in the Seifa 'al-Gabei ha'Shulchan, shel Shulchani' (and all the more so, 'Bein ha'Kisei le'Shulchani') or in the Reisha 'Matza be'Shulchanus Harei Eilu she'Lo' (meaning on the customer's side of the table), to match the Reisha of the Reisha, 'Matza ba'Chanus, Harei Eilu she'Lo'. 'Lifnei ha'Shulchani' incorporates on the table, too.

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