Bava Metzia Chart #8

Chart for Bava Metzia Daf 21a-25a


[ ] = This is not taught explicitly in the Mishnah (A)
[fruits in front of a vessel;
coins in front of a purse] (3)
fruits in a vessel;
coins in a purse (4)
2 FRUITS (PEROS) scattered fruits (5) fruits in a pile (6)
3 COINS (MA'OS) scattered coins (7) coins in a pile (6)
4 SMALL SHEAVES OF GRAIN (KERICHOS) sheaves in Reshus ha'Rabim (8a) (8b) sheaves in Reshus ha'Yachid (9)
fish strung together (10);
pieces of cut meat
[pieces of cut fish;
partially eaten fish] (11)
cake of pressed figs (10) [with a potsherd inside], according to the Rabanan (12) cake of pressed figs with a potsherd inside, according to Rebbi Yehudah (12)
loaves of a commercial baker (13) loaves of a Ba'al ha'Bayis (14)
shearings in their raw state ("mi'Medinasan") (15) shearings after they have been processed ("mi'Beis ha'Uman") (16)
bundles of flax;
strips of purple wool (15)
[barrels of wine, oil, grain, and figs] (18) barrels of wine and oil (17)




(1) None of these objects can be identified by their number (Minyan) or their place (Makom), according to Rava (22b) because they were found in a manner that indicates that they fell ("Derech Nefilah") and were not placed there intentionally -- with the exception of Kerichos (22b; Tosfos 21a, DH Elu; see footnote 8). According to Rabah, these items belong to the finder whether they were found in a manner that indicates that they fell ("Derech Nefilah"), or whether they were found in a manner that indicates that they were placed there ("Derech Hinu'ach"), because Raba holds that the place in which they were found (Makom) is not a valid Siman (Tosfos 21a, DH Elu). Their number (Minyan) is also not a Siman because only one was found (Tosfos 24a, DH Aval). Therefore, if the item was found in Reshus ha'Rabim even in a manner that indicates that it was placed there intentionally, "b'Derech Hinu'ach," the finder may keep it (see footnote 8). If it was found in Reshus ha'Yachid, he may take it only if it was found in a manner that indicates that it fell, "b'Derech Nefilah," (since if it was found in a manner that indicates that it was placed there, the finder must assume that the owner did not yet despair of retrieving it -- Pnei Yehoshua on Tosfos 21a DH Elu; see also Rebbi Akiva Eiger. This is in contrast to the Maharsha and Mahadura Basra there.) In all of the cases in this column, a reason must be given for why it is not "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as."

(2) In all of the cases in this column, the find must be announced because it has a Siman. The Mishnah does not state simply, "One must announce any find that has a Siman," because the Mishnah wants to teach a Chidush with regard to each of the objects that it mentions (see RITVA 21a). With regard to the objects in this column for which the Siman is their number (Minyan) or the place in which they were found (Makom), a reason must be given to explain by each why their number or location is considered to be a valid Siman even if it is found in Reshus ha'Rabim, where objects tend to be kicked around. In addition, according to Rabah (22b), a reason must be given to explain why the Siman is not expected to be effaced due to trampling, in Reshus ha'Rabim.

(3) This is taught by the Beraisa (25a), and inferred from the wording of the Mishnah (24b). This ruling applies only when the objects are completely outside of the vessel. If the objects are such that they roll easily out of a vessel (for example, they are round and smooth), then even if they are found outside of the vessel, the finder may not keep them unless the opening of the vessel is facing away from the objects, or the opening of the vessel has a rim which would impede some of the objects from rolling out (and since no objects are left inside we may assume that the objects did not come from the vessel). However, since there is a vessel there with the fruits, the case is clearly not one of fruits that were found in the place of threshing. If so, according to Abaye, who maintains that "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as" is not considered Yi'ush, why may the finder keep these fruits? See Insights to 25a for the answer.

(4) Both the fruit (or money) and their container must be returned to the person who identifies the container with a Siman. Since part of the fruit or money is still in the container, we assume that all of the fruit or money was lost with the container (see above, footnote 3).

(5) According to Rava, this applies even when there are more than one Kav of fruit and they are scattered in less than four Amos, if the fruits were found "b'Derech Nefilah" (since there is no Siman on ordinary fruits). According to Abaye, who maintains that "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as" is not considered Yi'ush, this ruling applies only when one finds a Kav (or less) of fruit in four Amos (or more), and only when they are found in the place of threshing, where the fruit is an "Aveidah mi'Da'as" (i.e. the owner intentionally left it there without intention to come back for it, because of the inconvenience involved in picking up all the fruit) 21b; TOSFOS 21a, DH v'Kamah. (According to the Gemara's conclusion, this ruling applies according to Abaye even in a place which is not a threshing floor, see footnote 3 above, and Insights to 25a.)

(6) This refers to when there are at least two piles and therefore the number of piles is a Siman (see Tosfos 24a, DH Aval, and Insights there), or the place in which they were resting is a Siman (since they were resting there in a manner that indicates that they were placed there with intention) (25a). Why, though, should the number (Minyan) or place (Makom) be a Siman, if the fruits get trampled and kicked around by passers-by and animals? For an answer to this, see Insights to 25a.

(7) Coins have no Siman. They are not considered "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as" because a person constantly checks his pocket to make sure his money is still there, and thus immediately after they fell he realized it and was Meya'esh, as Rebbi Yitzchak teaches.

(8a) According to Rabah, this refers to Kerichos that have a Siman, but the owner is Meya'esh since a "Siman he'Asuy li'Dares" is not a Siman. According to Rava, this refers to Kerichos that have no Siman, but which were found resting in a manner of "Derech Hinu'ach." Even though their place (Makom) is normally a valid Siman, since they were found in Reshus ha'Rabim it is not a valid Siman, because they are kicked around by people and animals walking there and will not be found in their original place (22b). (The other objects which belong to the finder (in column A) belong to him even when found in Reshus ha'Yachid, because they were found resting in a manner of "Derech Nefilah." Everything that is found in such a manner has no Siman of "Makom" (Tosfos 21a, DH Elu).) These Kerichos may be claimed by the finder even though the owner placed them there with intent ("b'Derech Hinu'ach"), because certainly the owner forgot about them and is not going to return to them when he remembers them. The owner realizes that when objects are placed in Reshus ha'Rabim, they get kicked around and moved from their place (making them only "Safek Hinu'ach" and not "Vadai Hinu'ach") and will be picked up by people in Reshus ha'Rabim, because not everyone knows the Halachah that one may not take an object that is "Safek Hinu'ach" and has no Siman (Rosh 2:1-2).

Kerichos are not "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as," according to Rabah, because the owner certainly knows about their loss since they are heavy (as the Gemara says with regard to Deveilah). According to Rava, they are not considered "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as" because they were found "b'Derech Hinu'ach," which means that the owner knows that he put them there. (So explains the Hagahos ha'Gra 21b; see also Tosfos and Maharsha, who also assert that "Derech Hinu'ach" is never considered "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as." It is not clear why this is so, since the loser obviously did not realize that the objects were left behind until later, and if so he still might not realize that he left them behind, as Rebbi Akiva Eiger (21b) asks. Apparently, the Ga'on's intention is that the owner will immediately remember any object that he put down intentionally and then forgot, and therefore the loss is considered "mi'Da'as," as the Nesivos ha'Mishpat writes (CM 260:15).

(8b) As explained above (8a), according to Rava the Kerichos of the Mishnah were found resting in a manner of "Derech Hinu'ach," but the other objects in the Mishnah were found "b'Derech Nefilah." According to Rava, why does the Mishnah assume we will understand that it is referring to Kerichos that were found "b'Derech Hinu'ach," even though the other objects that it lists (such as pieces of fish and loaves of bread) were found either "b'Derech Hinu'ach" or "b'Derech Nefilah?" The answer is that Kerichos, which are heavy, would not fall from someone without his noticing. Rather, it is much more likely that a person will place them to rest, and then forget about them (Tosfos 21a, DH Elu). Alternatively, the other objects are either food items or items of value, and a person does not intentionally place such items on the ground, and thus they presumably were found "b'Derech Nefilah." Kerichos, though, are placed on the ground, and therefore we are safe to assume that those of the Mishnah were found "b'Derech Hinu'ach" (Ran 22b). This is the opinion of most Rishonim, who write that the other objects mentioned in the Mishnah belong to the finder even when they are found in Reshus ha'Yachid (since they were found "b'Derech Nefilah"). However, the view of the RA'AVAD (cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes, end of 22b) is that when the Mishnah writes with regard to Kerichos that they were found "in Reshus ha'Rabim," it is actually referring to all of the objects mentioned from Kerichos (fourth row in chart) until the end (ninth row). Similarly, when the Mishnah later (25a) mentions "in Reshus ha'Yachid," it is referring to all of the objects mentioned there which must be announced based on their "Minyan" or "Makom." (The Ra'avad agrees that according Rabah, all of the Halachos of finds mentioned in these Mishnayos (i.e. besides the Halachos of Kerichos) remain true whether the object was found in Reshus ha'Rabim or in Reshus ha'Yachid, as is evident from the Gemara's question (22a) from loaves (Kikaros).

(9) According to Rabah, this refers to Kerichos that were found "b'Derech Nefilah," and that have a Siman (such as their knot). According to Rava, this refers to Kerichos that were found "b'Derech Hinu'ach," and that do not have a Siman on them, but rather their place (Makom) is their Siman (because in Reshus ha'Yachid they do not get kicked about and moved).

(10) This is not "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as," either because these objects are heavy and the owner notices immediately when they fall (Tosfos and other Rishonim), or because all foodstuffs are considered "significant" in a person's eyes, and he will constantly check to make sure he still has them (Rif and Rosh), as mentioned above (footnote 3). The case in the Mishnah, in which the finder may keep these objects, is when there is no Siman in the number of pieces of fish or meat, nor in their weight or the manner in which they were cut, because they are prepared in the standard manner (23b).

(11) The cut referred to here is an unusually-shaped cut, which is a Siman (similar to the bitemark in a partially-eaten fish, which is unique by nature) (23b). (Even in Reshus ha'Rabim it is a Siman, and it is not a "Siman he'Asuy li'Dares" (which, according to Rabah, is not a valid Siman) because the Siman is in the shape of the piece itself, which will not be effaced by being trampled -- see footnote 16.)

(12) The Rabanan who argue with Rebbi Yehudah maintain that a "Siman ha'Ba me'Elav" is not considered a valid Siman. Rebbi Yehudah maintains that a "Siman ha'Ba me'Elav" is a Siman, and that is the Halachah according to the conclusion of the Gemara (23a). (According to Rashi, a "Siman ha'Ba me'Elav" is a Siman that the owner made intentionally, but that could have come about on its own. According to Tosfos (23a DH Siman), it is a Siman that actually came about on its own, but it is likely that the owner noticed it and is able to identify his object based on it.)

(13) These have no Siman, since the loaves of all professional bakers look similar. (Rashi and the Rishonim, 21a. See RASHASH there, who points out that even if loaves of different bakers look different, their looks cannot be used as identifying marks since many individuals buy from each baker. This is probably the intention of Rashi as well.) It is not "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as" because of the reasons mentioned above (footnote 10), as the Gemara explains (21b; see Tosfos ha'Rosh there).

(14) These have a Siman, because every Ba'al ha'Bayis makes his breads in a unique manner. Hence, even when they are found in Reshus ha'Rabim, they must be returned (or announced). Even Rabah -- who holds that a "Siman he'Asuy li'Dares" is not a valid Siman -- agrees that loaves found in Reshus ha'Rabim must be returned, because people do not step on food items and thus their Siman will not be effaced (23a).

(15) It is not "Yi'ush she'Lo mi'Da'as," because they are heavy and the owner certainly noticed that they were gone immediately after they fell (Rosh). Similarly, a person notices right away that his strips of purple wool are missing, since they have significant value in the eyes of their owner (21b).

(16) They have a Siman. Even in Reshus ha'Rabim, their Siman is not trampled, because the Siman is in the actual strips and is not something attached to them (Ramban and Rishonim, 22b).

(17) The Siman on such barrels is the form their seal takes when the owner opens them to offer a taste of their contents to potential customers (wholesalers, who buy many barrels together from individuals) and then they is resealed with clay or plaster. Rebbi Zeira says in the name of Rav that the Siman is the shape of this seal, because every person who reseals a barrel does so in a unique manner. Abaye says that the shape of the seal is normally not a Siman (see Insights to 23b). Rather, he explains that the Mishnah is referring to a barrel that was opened and resealed, and was found before most people open their barrels and then reseal them. Since it is unusual for a barrel to be resealed in this season, the fact that it was resealed is a valid Siman.

(18) When the Beraisa (23b) states that one does not need to announce the containers that he finds, it is referring to containers that have not been resealed (Rav), or that were found after the time that most people open and reseal their containers (Abaye -- see previous footnote).