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BAVA METZIA 28

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SUMMARY

If a case or a package of loan documents are found it shall be returned to the person who gives a Siman.
 
An Aveidah is returned Min ha'Torah only after the owner gives a Siman in order to assure that he is not a swindler.
 
If Simanim are Min ha'Torah and two people both give Simanim on the object it shall be put away until the arrival of Eliyahu ha'Navi.
 
If one person gives a Siman and another person brings witnesses who testify that it belongs to him it is given to the person with the witnesses.
 
If two people both give Simanim on a lost object even if one of them also has one witness on his side it shall be put away until the arrival of Eliyahu ha'Navi.
 
If witnesses testify that one person wove the lost object and other witnesses testify that it was dropped from another person the object shall be given to the person who dropped it. (1)
 
If one person gives the width of a lost garment as a Siman and another person gives the length as a Siman it is given to the person who gives the length. (2)
 
If one person gives the length and the width of a garment as a Siman and a second person gives the length and width combined but doesn't know each one separately it is given to the first person.
 
If one person gives the length and the width of a garment as a Siman and a second person gives the weight it is given to the person who gave the weight as a Siman.
 
If both a husband and a wife give a Siman on a Get, if she says that there is a hole next to a certain letter it is given to her. (3)
 
If both the husband and the wife give the length of the string that the Get is tied with it is given to her.
 
If both the husband and the wife give the Siman that the Get was found in a case it is given to her because she knows that he put everything that he has in a case.
 
R. Meir says a person who finds a lost object must announce it until the neighbors of the place where the Aveidah was found are aware of it.
 
R. Yehudah holds it must be announced for three Regalim and for seven days after the third Regel to give the owner three days to go home, and three days to return and one day to announce that he lost it.
 
The Tana Kama holds that we start asking for rain on the third day of Cheshvan, while R. Gamliel holds that we start asking for rain on the seventh. (4)
 
R. Yosef says that during the first Beis ha'Mikdash it took seven days for the furthest of the Olei Regel to get home, while during the second Beis ha'Mikdash when the population was sparser it took only three days to get home.
 
Abaye says that the opposite is true, during the first Beis ha'Mikdash it took less time to get home because it was easier to find a caravan, while during the second Beis ha'Mikdash it took more time because it was harder to find a caravan. (5)
 
When a person announces an Aveidah during the first and second Regel he announces the Regel, but he doesn't announce the Regel during the third Regel so that the listeners will not mishear and think that he is announcing the second Regel.
 
At first an Aveidas was announced in Yerushalayim, after the destruction of the Beis ha'Mikdash it was announced in the Batei Keneses and Batei Midrash, but upon the advent of the thugs it is sufficient to notify the neighbors and friends. (6)
 
If someone correctly states the Aveidah but doesn't give the Siman it is not given to him and if he is a swindler it is not given to him even if he states a Siman.
 
When swindles became numerous a person who claims an Aveidah must bring witnesses who testify that he is not a swindler.
 
R. Yehudah says that the finder of an Aveidah announces that he found something without stating the item, while R. Nachman says that he states the item. (7)

A BIT MORE

1. Because the person who wove it may have sold it and it was lost by the buyer.
 
2. Because it is possible to guess the length while the garment is being worn by the owner.
 
3. Because even if it was given to her the husband he knows the Siman of the Get while if it was never given to her she would not have known the Siman, however if she states the length and width of the Get it is not given to her because she may have seen it while it was in the hands of her husband.
 
4. In order to give the furthest of the Olei Regel fifteen days to return home after the Regel without getting caught in the rain.
 
5. Abaye holds that even though the population was sparser during the second Beis ha'Mikdash however the returnees lived in the same cities their forbearers lived in and therefore some people lived very far away. Rava holds that there is no difference between the first and second Beis ha'Mikdash and although it took more than three days for some people to get home the Chachamim did not trouble the finder of an Aveidah to announce it for more than seven days.
 
6. The thugs claimed that an Aveidah must be given to the King.
 
7. R. Yehudah is concerned that if the item that was lost is announced it is possible that a swindler will use that information to his advantage, while R. Nachman holds that if we are concerned for a swindler there is no end to our concerns and even if we don't state the item there is a possibility of a swindle.

BRIEF INSIGHT

SIMAN VS. WITNESSES
 
If one person gives a Siman and another person brings witnesses who testify that it belongs to him it is given to the person with the witnesses. The Rosh states even if he gave a Siman Muvhak it is given to the person who brings witnesses. Even if the witnesses only testify that it belongs to him and they don't testify that it fell from him it is still given to the person who is supported by the witnesses because once it is established that it belonged to him is he has a Chazakah that he did not sell it. The Hagahos Mordechai says if one person brings witnesses who testify that it belongs to him and the other person also brings witnesses that it belongs to him and he also gives a Siman, the Siman is inconsequential is a situation that there are witnesses and therefore it is put away until the arrival of Eliyahu ha' Navi.

QUICK HALACHAH

A SIMAN MUVHAK
 
If the Ba'al ha'Aveidah gives an inadequate Siman it is not returned to him and if a swindler gives even an adequate Siman it is not returned to him until he brings witness that it belongs to him. At first anyone who lost an Aveidah and comes and gives Simanim it was returned to him unless there was a Chazakah that he is a swindler. When there was an increase in swindlers the Beis Din decreed that the Ba'al ha'Aveidah is told to bring proof that he is not a swindler and he may take the Aveidah. According to some opinion even nowadays an Aveidah is returned with a Siman Muvhak even if he doesn't bring witnesses. The measurement, weight, number and place of the Aveidah are all regarded as Simanim Muvhakim (Shulchan Aruch CM 267:5, 6, 7)

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