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BAVA BASRA 88

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SUMMARY

1. There is a dispute about the characterization of a person who borrows something without permission.
 
2. The Gemara discusses a case of a merchant who displayed merchandise for sale, but then declared it all Hekdesh.
 
3. Rav Safra went beyond the letter of the law in his business dealings.
 
4. Rebbi Levi: Cheating in weights and measures is, in one respect, more severe than illicit relations.
 
5. Rebbi Levi: Stealing from a person is worse than stealing from Hekdesh.

A BIT MORE

1. Some say he is a borrower, while others say he is a thief.
 
2. Rav Kahana ruled that if the price had been established and people had already picked it up, they acquired it. Their acquisition effectively prevented the Hekdesh from taking effect, since a person cannot consecrate something that no longer belongs to him.
 
3. If he decided in his heart to sell a certain item for a certain price, he would hold himself to that price, even if the buyer misunderstood him and offered more money. According to the letter of the law, one may take the higher price.
 
4. The verse implies that it is more stringent. However, it is clearly less stringent in that it receives a lesser punishment. It is possible to return money (as opposed to illicit relationships, where the sin can never be undone).
 
5. This is evidenced by the fact that the moment at which a person picks up someone else's item in order to steal it, he is considered a thief. In contrast, one is liable for stealing from Hekdesh only after he picks it up and derives benefit from it.

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