BAVA METZIA 21 - Dedicated by Drs. Shalom and Syma Kelman of Baltimore in honor of their children and grandchildren.

[21a - 51 lines; 21b - 54 lines]

1)[line 1]דשיילינן להו לסהדיD'SHAILINAN LEHU L'SAHADEI- we ask the witnesses

2)[line 3]עדי קיוםEDEI KIYUM - witnesses to the ratification of legal documents (KIYUM SHETAROS)

(a)By Torah law, any Shtar (contract) or Get (divorce document) properly written and signed by valid witnesses is unassailably valid. However, out of concern for forgeries, the Chachamim decreed that one affected by a document may insist that it be Mekuyam (validated). This can be accomplished in one of three ways:

1.The signed witnesses themselves attest to the validity of their signatures;

2.Each signature is validated by two others who recognize it;

3.The signatures are matched to those on previously validated documents.

(b)Once the three judges of Beis Din have determined the validity of a document, they make a notation on the document stating that they have determined its validity, and affix their signatures. This notation is known as a Henpek. Our Gemara explains that the Beraisa teaches that when there are witnesses signed on a Henpek of a Shover, the loan may be presumed repaid. Beis Din would not have ratified the receipt unless they had determined that the loan was no longer extant.

3)[line 5]עלויהILAVEI- upon it

4)[line 6]צריכא למימר דפסול?TZERICHAH L'MEIMAR D'PASUL?- is it necessary to teach that it is invalid?

5)[line 8]ויוצא מתחת ידי שלישV'YOTZEI MI'TACHAS YEDEI SHELISH- or it is in the possession (lit. leaving the hands) of a third party [who claims that the loan was repaid]

6)[line 9]שיוצא לאחר חיתום שטרותSHE'YOTZEI L'ACHAR CHISUM SHETAROS- that it is written following the signatures of the witnesses on the bill of debt

7)[line 10]הימניה מלוה לשלישHEIMNEI MALVEH LI'SHELISH- the lender trusted the third party

8)[line 12]מרע ליה לשטריהMARA LEI L'SHETAREI- contradicted [what was written earlier in] his document


9)[line 14]אלו מציאות שלוELU METZI'OS SHE'LO- these are the lost items that the finder may keep

10)[line 14]להכריזL'HACHRIZ- to announce [in an attempt to find the owner]

11)[line 15]פירות מפוזריןPEIROS MEFUZARIN- scattered produce (as a general rule, "Peiros" refers to wheat)

12)[line 16]כריכותKERICHOS- small bundles of grain

13)[line 17]עגולי דבילהIGULEI DEVEILAH- dried figs pressed together in a ring

14)[line 17]ככרות של נחתוםKIKAROS SHEL NACHTOM- loaves of bread baked by a baker

15)[line 17]מחרוזות של דגיםMACHAROZOS SHEL DAGIM- fish arranged in an orderly fashion (MUSAF ARUCH); generally understood to be fish strung on a line

16)[line 18]גיזי צמר הלקוחין ממדינתןGIZEI TZEMER HA'LEKUCHIN MI'MEDINASAN- fleeces of wool brought directly from the country [that are indistinguishable from wool shorn off of any other sheep since they are still in their natural, unprocessed state]

17)[line 19]אניצי פשתןANITZEI PISHTAN- bundles of combed flax

18)[line 19]לשונות של ארגמןLESHONOS SHEL ARGAMAN- "tongues" of purple-dyed wool; i.e., purple-dyed wool that has been combed and stretched into the shape of a tongue

19)[line 22]חרסCHERES- a pottery shard

20)[line 24]כלי אנפוריאKLEI ANPORIYA- The Gemara (23b) explains the meaning of this term.

21)[line 25]וכמה?V'CHAMAH?- and how much [produce in what area constitutes "scattered"]? It is Rebbi Yitzchak who poses this question in order to teach his ruling (see TOSFOS DH v'Chamah).

22)[line 25]קב בארבע אמותKAV B'ARBA AMOS- a Kav (approximately 1.20 or 2.4 liters, depending upon the differing Halachic opinions) [of wheat kernels scattered throughout] four [square] Amos (approximately 1.92 m / 6'4" or 2.3 m / 7'6", depending upon the differing Halachic opinions)

23)[line 26]דרך נפילהDERECH NEFILAH- they [appear to] have fallen haphazardly

24)[line 27]אפילו טובא נמי!AFILU TUVA NAMI!- [he should be able to keep] an even higher [concentration] as well [since wheat kernels have no identifying characteristics and he who lost them has surely given up hope of recovering them]

25)[line 27]דרך הינוחDERECH HINU'ACH- they [appear to] have been [carefully] placed [there, in which case it is reasonable to assume that their owner will come back for them]

26)[line 28]בציר מהכיBATZIR ME'HACHI- a lesser concentration

27)[line 29]במכנשתא דבי דרי עסקינןB'MACHNASHTA D'VEI DARI ASKINAN- [in the ruling of Rebbi Yitzchak] we are dealing with the gathering [of threshed grain] from the threshing house [wherein the owner of the grain has already taken the majority of his wheat and has left a bit behind]

28)[line 30]נפיש טרחייהוNAFISH TIRCHAIHU- lit. their toil is great; i.e., it is difficult and time consuming to pick up such a small volume scattered throughout such a large area

29)[line 30]לא הדר אתי ושקיל להוLO HADAR ASI V'SHAKIL LEHU- he will not return to take them

30)[line 32]בציר מהכיBATZIR ME'HACHI- [if the kernels were scattered throughout an area] less than [four square Amos]

31)[line 33]חצי קב בשתי אמותCHATZI KAV BI'SHTEI AMOS- a half-Kav [of wheat kernels] in [an area of] two [(a) by four (first explanation of TOSFOS DH Chatzi); (b) by two (second explanation of TOSFOS DH Chatzi)] Amos

32)[line 36]כיון דלא נפיש טרחייהוKEIVAN D'LO NAFISH TIRCHAIHU- since (a) it is not as [objectively] difficult to pick them up [since they are only half the volume of an entire Kav] (first explanation of TOSFOS DH Chatzi); (b) it is not as difficult to pick them up [since they are scattered twice as densely as a whole Kav in four square Amos] (second explanation of TOSFOS DH Chatzi)]

33)[line 37]לא חשיביLO CHASHIVEI- they are not valuable

34)[line 44]שומשמיןSHUMSHEMIN- sesame seeds [that are smaller and therefore more difficult to pick up, and yet more valuable, than wheat kernels]

35)[line 47]תמרי... רמוניTAMREI... RIMONEI- dates ... pomegranates [that are larger and therefore easier to pick up, and yet less valuable, than wheat kernels]

36)[last line]תיקוTEIKU - An Unanswered Question

(a)The Gemara often leaves a question unanswered with the word "Teiku." The PRI MEGADIM (Igeres preceding his introduction to Orach Chaim, #9) cites three explanations for this term:

1.[this question shall remain] sealed in its container (ARUCH, Erech Tik)

2.let [the question] stand ("Tehei Ka'I"; MUSAF HA'ARUCH)

3.Tishbi Yetaretz Kushyos v'Ibayos - Eliyahu ha'Navi will answer difficulties and questions (TOSFOS YOM TOV, end of Eduyos)


37)[line 1]יאוש שלא מדעת הוי יאוש / לא הוי יאושYE'USH SHE'LO MI'DA'AS HAVEI YE'USH / LO HAVEI YE'USH - Whether or Not one who is Not Yet Aware that he has Lost an Item is Halachically Considered to have Despaired of Retrieving it

(a)One who finds a lost item must return it to its owner. If he does not know who the owner is, then he must take care of the item until the owner asks him for it. One may not ignore the item and leave it where it lies (Devarim 22:1-3).

(b)Only an object with a Siman — an identifying characteristic — must be returned (Mishnah, 27a). Even such an item, however, may be retained by its finder following Ye'ush. Ye'ush occurs at the point at which the owner gives up all hope of retrieving his item, as evidenced by a verbal acknowledgement akin to "Vai Li l'Chisaron Kis!" — "Woe that I have lost this item!"

(c)One who loses an item without a Siman will surely be Meya'esh (despair of recovering it), since he has no way to prove that he is the owner. The finder of such an item, however, may not keep it for his own until Ye'ush occurs. Since Ye'ush is all but bound to occur, does the Halachah consider it is as if the owner has already been Meya'esh even before he has discovered his loss? This is the subject of a dispute between Abaye and Rava. Abaye rules that Ye'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as is not considered Ye'ush, and one may therefore not keep a lost object with no Siman unless he knows that the owner gave up hope of retrieving it before he found it. Rava maintains that Ye'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as is considered Ye'ush. One may therefore keep a lost object with no Siman even if he knows that the owner is not yet aware that he has lost the item.

38)[line 2]סימןSIMAN- an identifying characteristic

39)[line 4]שמעיניה דמיאש ל[ב]סוףSHAM'INEI D'MEYA'ESH L[EB]'SOF- he heard him despair eventually

40)[line 5]כי אתא לידיה, באיסורא הוא דאתא לידיהKI ASA L'YADEI, B'ISURA HU D'ASA L'YADEI- when he [first] took possession of it, it came into his possession in a prohibited manner (i.e., before Ye'ush)

41)[line 7]מימר אמרMEIMAR AMAR- he will presumably say

42)[line 7]יהבנא סימנא ושקילנא ליהYAHAVNA SIMANA V'SHAKILNA LEI- I will offer [my knowledge of] the Siman [as proof of ownership] and I will take it

43a)[line 8]זוטו של יםZUTO SHEL YAM- [an item lost] where the tide swells at the [edge of the] sea

b)[line 8]שלוליתו של נהרSHELULISO SHEL NAHAR- [an item lost] where a river [overflows its banks and] plunders [what lies there]

44a)[line 9]רחמנא שרייהRACHMANA SHARYEI- the Torah permits [one to keep] it

b)[line 10]כדבעינן למימר לקמןKED'BA'INAN L'MEIMAR LEKAMAN- as we will elucidate later on (22b)

45)[line 14](סימן פמג"ש ממקגט"י ככסע"ז)(SIMAN PMGSH MMKGTY KKSA"Z)- This Siman stands for the first or dominant letter of the first word of the series of proofs for Abaye or Rava that follow. It is difficult to ascertain to what exactly the Siman refers from the letter "Yud" and onward; indeed, the YAD DAVID writes that he does not know how to explain the meaning of these letters. The list below is a suggestion of how to understand the Siman:

1."P" - "Peiros" (line 15)

2."M" - "Ma'os" (line 18)

3."G" - "Igulei" (line 23)

4."SH" - "Leshonos" (line 26)

5."M" - "ha'Motzei" (line 29)

6."M" - "Me'emasai" (line 34)

7."K" - "Ketzi'os" (line 42)

8."G" - "ha'Ganav" (last line)

9."T" - "Shataf" (22a, line 6)

10."Y" - "keshe'Yachol" (22a, line 9)

11."K" - "Keitzad" (22a, line 15)

12."K" - "Kelach" (22a, line 21)

13."S" - "Bustena" (22a, line 38)

14."A" - "Odehu" (22a, last line)

15."Z" - "d'Zika" (22b, line 22)

46)[line 18]אבידה מדעת היאAVEIDAH MI'DA'AS HI- it is an intentionally lost item; i.e., he deliberately abandoned it

47)[line 21]אדם עשוי למשמש בכיסו בכל שעה ושעהADAM ASUY L'MASHMESH B'CHISO B'CHOL SHA'AH V'SHA'AH- people generally check their wallets constantly [and therefore know when they lost money and despair immediately]

48)[line 25]אגב דיקירי מידע ידע בהוAGAV D'YEKIREI MEIDA YADA BEHU- due to their weight he is aware [that he dropped] them

49)[line 28]אגב דחשיבי משמושי ממשמש בהוAGAV D'CHASHIVEI MISHMUSHEI MEMASHMESH BEHU- since they are valuable he checks [that he still has] them [often]

50)[line 35]לקטLEKET - Fallen Stalks that are Left for the Poor

(a)"Leket" refers to stalks of grain that have fallen to the ground while being cut or gathered during the harvest. Such stalks must be left for the poor; they not be retrieved by their owner (Vayikra 19:9-10).

(b)This prohibition applies only to individual — i.e., one or two — fallen stalks of wheat. Should three stalks fall together, they are not considered Leket, and may be retrieved.

51)[line 36]סבי דאזלי אתיגראSABEI D'AZLEI A'TIGRA- old men that walk [while leaning] upon sticks [who move so slowly that they are likely to find anything still left]

52)[line 37]לקוטי בתר לקוטיLEKUTEI BASAR LEKUTEI- [the second wave of] gatherers [who follow] after [the first wave of] gatherers

53)[line 38]נהיNEHI- it is true

54)[line 38]איכא עניים בדוכתא אחריתאIKA ANIYIM B'DUCHTA ACHRITA- there poor people who live elsewhere [who are included in those who own the rights to Leket]

55)[line 39]אמריAMREI- [the scholars in the Beis ha'Midrash discussing this question] said

56)[line 40]הנך מעיקרא איאושי מיאשHANACH ME'IKARA IYUSHEI MYA'ESH- those [poor people who live elsewhere] despaired [of gathering the Leket here] from the beginning

57)[line 42]קציעות בדרךKETZI'OS BA'DERECH- [if one found] figs that had been cut and spread out to dry on the road

58)[line 43]תאנה הנוטה לדרךTE'ENA HA'NOTAH LA'DERECH- a fig tree that leans out over the road

59)[line 44]מותרות משום גזלMUTAROS MISHUM GEZEL- they are permitted [and are not prohibited] due to [that which it would be] stealing


(a)After a crop is harvested and brought to the owner's house or yard, he must separate Terumah from the crop and give it to a Kohen (Bamidbar 18:12; Devarim 18:4). Although the Torah does not specify an amount that must be given, the Rabanan set the requirement at between one fortieth and one sixtieth of the total crop.

(b)Once Terumah has been separated from the produce, the first tithe must be separated. One tenth of the remaining produce is given to a Levi; this is known as Ma'aser Rishon(Bamidbar 18:21). The Levi, in turn, must separate one tenth of his Ma'aser Rishon and give it to a Kohen (Bamidbar 18:26). This is called Terumas Ma'aser.

(c)Once Terumah Gedolah and Ma'aser Rishon have been separated from the crop, it is time to separate the second tithe. In the third and sixth years of the seven-year Shemitah cycle this tithe is called Ma'aser Ani, and it is given to the poor (Devarim 14:28-29).

(d)During the first, second, fourth and fifth years of the seven-year Shemitah cycle, the second tithe is called Ma'aser Sheni. Ma'aser Sheni must be brought to Yerushalayim and eaten there while one is in a state of purity (Devarim 14:22-27).

(e)If it is impractical to bring the actual food to Yerushalayim, Ma'aser Sheni produce may be redeemed with money. This money receives the status of Ma'aser Sheni, and is then brought to Yerushalayim. In Yerushalayim the money is used to buy food, which in turn receives the Kedushah of Ma'aser Sheni and must be eaten b'Taharah in Yerushalayim.

(f)If the owner of the Ma'aser Sheni redeems his own Ma'aser, he must add a fifth of the total value (equal to a quarter of the original value) onto the money used; if someone else redeems it, he may do so with money equal to the value of the Ma'aser.

(g)Until Terumah and Ma'asros have been properly separated, the produce is termed "Tevel" and may not be eaten. The word "Tevel" means a mixture, and can be used to refer to any produce from which one must separate a part. If one intentionally eats Tevel, then he receives Misah b'Yedei Shamayim (see Background to Sukah 25:25).

(h)One need not separate Ma'aser Rishon from that which is Hefker (ownerless). This is because the Torah explains that the reason why the Levi receives Ma'aser is that "he has no portion or inheritance with you" (Devarim 14:29). Since a Levi may seize Hefker as equally as anyone else, one need not give Ma'aser from that which he has acquired from Hefker.

61)[line 45]חרוביםCHARUVIM- carob trees

62)[line 46]אגב דחשיביAGAV D'CHASHIVEI- since [dried figs] are valuable

63)[line 47]מידע ידיע דנתראMEIDA YEDI'A D'NASRA- he is certainly aware that figs [are likely to] fall down [and his Ye'ush is therefore intentional to begin with]

64)[line 50]חזותו מוכיח עליוCHAZUSO MOCHI'ACH ALAV- (a) its appearance proves [that] it [belongs to the owner of the tree from which it fell since it looks like the other olives growing on that tree] (RASHI, TOSFOS DH Te'ena); (b) according to the Girsa ZEISO MOCHI'ACH ALAV - his olive tree proves [that the olives that lie underneath it fell from] it [and therefore belong to the owner of the tree] (cited by TOSFOS DH Te'ena)

65)[line 51]דוכתא דאיניש איניש הואDUCHTA D'INISH INISH HU- [that which falls within] a person's place belongs to him

66)[line 53]תאנה עם נפילתה נמאסתTE'ENA IM NEFILASAH NIM'ESES- (a) a fig becomes disgusting when it falls [to the ground and its owner therefore no longer desires it]; (b) according to the Girsa TE'ENA IM NEFILASAH NAMESES - a fig loses its shape when it falls [to the ground and therefore no longer appears similar to those still in the tree] (cited by TOSFOS DH Te'ena)

67a)[last line]גנבGANAV- one who steals an item when he is sure that he is unobserved

b)[last line]גזלןGAZLAN- one who forcibly separates people from their possessions

68)[last line]נטלNATAL- takes