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Bava Metzia 28

BAVA METZIA 28 (5 Teves) - Dedicated in memory of Max (Meir Menachem ben Shlomo ha'Levy) Turkel, on the day of his Yahrzeit, by his wife Jean and sons Eddie and Lawrence Turkel.



(a) On the assumption that Simanim are d'Oraysa, Rava says that if one person gives Simanim, and another ...
1. ... gives Simanim too - we put the article away until Eliyahu comes.
2. ... brings witnesses - we give it to the person who brings witnesses.
(b) And if two people give the appropriate Simanim, and a third person brings one witness - we ignore the witness, and put away the article until Eliyahu comes.

(c) In spite of having just proved (from the Pasuk "ve'Hayah Imcha ad D'rosh Achicha Osos") that Simanim are d'Oraysa, Rava nevertheless uses the expression 'assuming that Simanim are 'd'Oraysa' - because we can refute the proof by establishing the D'rashah by witnesses (as we did on the previous Amud).

(d) He needs to add this clause, in spite of the fact that the same would apply if Simanim were de'Rabbanan - to teach us that, even if Simanim are d'Oraysa too, witnesses take precedence over Simanim (though it is not clear why. See also Hagahos Maharshal).

2) If one claimant ...
1. ... brought witnesses that he lost it and another, that he wove it, we would we follow the former - because the weaver might well have sold it to the man who actually lost it.
2. ... identified the width of the lost garment, and the other, the length, we would give it to the latter - because it is easier to guess the width of a garment whilst the owner is wearing it than the length.
3. ... identified the length and the width of the garment, and the other, the measure of Gamav (the combined length and width, like the Greek letter 'Gama' [which resembles a final 'Chaf']), we would give it to the former, again because it is relatively easy to guess the latter.
4. ... identified the length and the width, and the other, the weight, we would give it to the latter - for the same reason again, because it is far more difficult to guess the weight than the length and the width.
(a) Rava then goes on to discuss a similar set of Dinim with regard to a lost Get. Still assuming that Simanim are d'Oraysa, what he rules that, if both the husband and the wife identify the lost Get, or the string with which the lost Get is tied - we would return it to the husband (because unless she had already received the Get, how would she be able to identify it).

(b) In the previous case, Rava cannot be referring to the identification of the Get's measurements or the color of the string - because the woman may well have learned that just seeing it in her husband hand.

(c) In fact, in the case of ...

1. ... the Get - he is referring to a hole beside a certain letter (which is a Siman Muvhak (as we learned earlier).
2. ... the string - he is referring to the length of the string.
(d) If both parties identified the Get by means of the box in which it was lying (see Shitah Mekubetzes) - it would be returned to the husband, seeing as the identification of the wife, who knows exactly where her husband keeps his things, would be worthless, in which case the husband, who wrote the Get, has a Chazakah (of original ownership).
(a) According to Rebbi Meir in our Mishnah, the finder only needs to announce the Aveidah until the neighbors get to know about it. Rebbi Yehudah obligates him to announce it in Yerushalayim for three consecutive Yamim-Tovim plus seven days.

(b) The extra seven days - are to give the potential loser a chance to go home (three days [to check his things]), and return, and one day for him to find the announcer and identify the object.

(c) Rebbi Meir is referring to - the neighbors of the location where the article was found.

(d) He cannot be referring to the neighbors of the article's owner - because if he knew the owner's identity, he would not need to announce it in the first place.

(a) According to the Tana Kama in the Mishnah in Ta'anis, we should pray for rain - on the third of Marcheshvan.

(b) Raban Gamliel says on the seventh - to give a chance for those people who live beside the River P'ras (in Bavel) to arrive home without getting drenched.

(c) The problem this poses on Rebbi Meir, who requires the finder of a lost article to announce the article for seven days is - that seeing as the owner might well live in Bavel, we ought to give him thirty-one days (fifteen days to go home, fifteen days to return, and one day for the announcement).

(d) To answer the Kashya, we differentiate between the period of the first Beis Hamikdash and that of the second. In the time of the first Beis-Hamikdash, Yisrael are described by the Navi as being as numerous as the sand by the sea-shore. In the time of the second - there were only forty thousand, three hundred and sixty men.

(a) Rav Yosef initially proposes that the Mishnah in Ta'anis refers to the first Beis-Hamikdash, which required more time to arrive home, because of the large numbers of people involved; whereas our Mishnah, which refers to the second Beis-Hamikdash, with fewer numbers of people traveling, required less time.

(b) Abaye rejects Rav Yosef's initial explanation however - based on the Pasuk in Nechemyah, which describes how Yisrael basically occupied the same wide territory in the period of the second Beis Hamikdash as they did in the first. That being the case, the fewer people traveling, the more sparse the caravan service, and the longer it would take to arrive at one's destination.

(c) So Abaye reverses the two Mishnah's - our Mishnah speaks in the time of the first Beis Hamikdash, and the Mishnah in Ta'anis, in the time of the second.

(d) Rava does not differentiate between the two Batei Mikdash. He reconciles our Mishnah with the Mishnah in Ta'anis - by restricting the time Chazal required the finder of an article to bother with it to seven days (even though the loser might not manage to go home and check his things after the third Yom-Tov).

(a) Ravina extrapolates from the fact that we only give the loser seven days and not eight, to check on his objects - that the finder announces (not just that he found an object, but) the name of the object that he found (for example, a coat). Otherwise, he would have needed another day to look through all his things to make sure that he had lost nothing.

(b) Rava counters Ravina's proof (establishing the Mishnah, even if he announces just that he found an object [refer to the Machlokes between Rav Yehudah and Rav Nachman, on the following Amud]) using the same argument as he used before - that Chazal did not want to trouble the finder to look after it for more than seven days.

(a) On the ...
1. ... first and second Yom-Tov respectively - the finder would announce 'Regel Rishon' and 'Regel Sheini''.
2. ... third Yom-Tov - he would announce the object S'tam, without mentioning the Yom-Tov.
(b) This was necessary - for the potential losers to know when the third Yom-Tov arrived, after which they had a final seven days to look over their things.

(c) Although he did not announce 'Regel Shelishi' in case the loser understood 'Regel Sheini', we are not concerned that on the second Yom-Tov, the loser might think he heard 'Regel Rishon' - because seeing as there was still a third Yom-Tov to come, so what if he did?




(a) The seven days required by Rebbi Yehudah refer to the time of the Beis-Hamikash. The Beraisa rules that ...
1. ... nowadays, when there is no Beis-Hamikdash - it will suffice to announce it in the local Shuls and Batei-Medrash.
2. ... when there are Anasin (Persians, who insist that all Aveidos belong to the king [punishing or putting to death those who contravened the law]) - the finder merely informs his neighbors and acquaintances.
(b) When a certain Roman saw Rebbi Ami trembling because he had found an Aveidah, he told him - that he may keep it, since they were not Persians who required the finder of a lost article to return it to the king.

(c) The 'E'ven ha'To'en' - was a large stone in Yerushalayim, where the 'finders' would announce the objects they had found, and where those who had lost them would go to claim them.

(d) Choni ha'Me'agel told the people who had asked him to pray for the excessive rains to stop, to go and see whether the E'ven ha'To'en was covered by rain-water, in which case he would accede to their request.

(a) Our Mishnah learns that one does not return a lost article to a swindler, even if he gives the correct Simanim - from the Pasuk "ad D'rosh Achicha Oso", from which we Darshen 'Darshehu she'Lo Yehei Rama'i' (as Rava explained on the previous Amud).

(b) Rav Yehudah holds that the finder announces he found *an article*, and the loser must identify it, because we are afraid of swindlers, by which he means that - someone who recognizes the coat with its Simanim, and when he hears the finder announce that he found *a coat*, he will identify it and claim it (but if the finder announces that he found something, it is only the owner, who knows he lost it, who will take the trouble to claim it.

(c) Rav Nachman does not contend with swindlers - because, he says, if we would, then we would need to contend with them even if the finder were to announce that he found an article, since swindlers will go to great lengths to obtain what they want (and there is no end to what we could decree).

(d) Our Mishnah states 'Amar es ha'Aveidah, ve'Lo Amar Simanehah, Lo Yiten Lo', posing a Kashya on Rav Nachman - because if the finder announces that he found a coat, and the claimant claims that he lost a coat, we would not need a Mishnah to teach us this.

(e) We answer - that what the Mishnah means is that he did not give its clear Simanim (only vague ones), and the Mishnah is coming to teach us that one does not return an Aveidah with vague Simanim.

(a) When the Chachamim saw that swindlers were posing as the owners of lost objects and giving the right Simanim - they instigated that claimants bring with them witnesses to testify that they are not swindlers.

(b) When Rav Papa's father lost a donkey and, at the request of Beis-Din, he brought witnesses to say that he was not a swindler, Beis-Din asked them whether they knew him to be a swindler, to which they replied in the affirmative, implying that he was.

(c) They accepted the witnesses explanation that they meant that he was not a swindler - on the basis of a Chazakah that Rav Papa would not have brought witnesses to implicate himself.

(d) Otherwise, they would have forbidden him to receive his article - due to the din of 'Keivan she'Higid, Shuv Eino Chozer u'Magid' (Having testified, the witnesses are not permitted to retract).

(a) Our Mishnah rules - that the finder works with an animal that eats and works (to pay for the food-bills), but sells an animal that eats but does not work (before the food bill accumulates).

(b) The finder does not have the option of selling an animal that does work, and giving the owner the money - because we assume that the owner prefers his own animal to a new one, which he will later have to purchase with the money.

(c) We derive the Din by an animal that does not work from the Pasuk "va'Hashevoso Lo" - which teaches us that the finder is obligated to give the owner at least half of his animal's value (which will not be the case if the food bill is allowed to accumulate until it reaches more than half the animal's value.

(d) Rebbi Tarfon permits the finder to use the money that he receives for an animal that does not work, whereas Rebbi Akiva forbids it. Consequently - in the event that he loses the money, he will be liable to pay, according to Rebbi Tarfon (since he is a Shomer Sachar), and Patur, according to Rebbi Akiva (because he is a Shomer Chinam).

(a) For looking after a donkey and a cow which eat and work - Rav Nachman Amar Shmuel gives the Shiur of twelve months.

(b) The Beraisa corroborates Rav Nachman. The Tana gives the Shiur for looking after a ...

1. ... a calf and a filly, which do not work - as three months.
2. ... a gander and a rooster - as thirty days.
(c) After this period has elapsed - the finder sells the and puts away the money.

(d) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak - gives chicken (which produce eggs) the same Din as animals that eat and work (whose Shiur is twelve months).

(a) Another Beraisa corroborates the statement of Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak. The two Beraisos contradict each other however, in two points. We reconcile the first Beraisa with the second Beraisa, which gives the Shiur for ...
1. ... calves and fillies as thirty days - by establishing the first Beraisa by animals that graze in green pastures, whilst the second Beraisa speaks when there is no grass in the fields and the animals need to be fed in a manger.
2. ... ganders and roosters as three days by establishing the first Beraisa by small birds, which eat less, and the second Beraisa by large ones, which eat more (See Hagahos ha'G'ra).
(b) The period that one looks after ganders and roosters is shorter than that of calves and fillies - because they are more troublesome to look after.
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