BAVA METZIA 26 (20 Tishrei) - Dedicated by Al and Sophia Ziegler of Har Nof, Jerusalem, and their son Jared, in loving memory of Al's mother, Chaya bas Berel Dov Ziegler, on the day of her Yahrzeit - and towards her grandchildren's continued growth in Torah and Yir'as Shamayim.


(a)(Mishnah): If something was found in a new wall, if it was closer to Reshus ha'Rabim, the finder keeps it. If it was closer to Reuven' premises, Reuven gets it.

(b)(Rav Ashi): If a knife is found, we assume that it was inserted from the direction the handle faces. (The finder keeps it only if the handle faced Reshus ha'Rabim.) We assume that a drawstring bag was inserted from the direction that the strings face.

(c)Question: The Mishnah says that it depends on which half of the wall it is in!

(d)Answer: The Mishnah discusses things held from either side, like tufts of wool or pieces of silver.

(e)(Beraisa): If the Aveidah spans the entire width of the wall, the finder divides it with the owner.

(f)Objection: This is obvious!

(g)Answer: The case is, the (hole in the) wall slopes. One might have thought that we assume that the Aveidah was put on the higher side and slid down. The Mishnah teaches that this is not so.


(a)(Mishnah): If Reuven rented his house to others, one may keep what he finds even in the house.

(b)Question: We should assume that it belongs to the last tenants!

1.(Mishnah): If coins were found (in Yerushalayim) in front of people who sell animals, we always assume that the coins were used to redeem Ma'aser Sheni. (One must spend such coins on food and eat it in Yerushalayim. Most such coins are spent to buy Korbanos Shelamim.) Coins found in Har ha'Bayis are (assumed to be) Chulin;

2.In other markets in Yerushalayim, during the festivals (when all Yisrael come to Yerushalayim with Ma'aser coins), they are Ma'aser. At any other time, they are Chulin.

3.(R. Shemayah ben Ze'ira): This is because the markets of Yerushalayim are swept daily. (Surely, the coins were dropped the day they were found. Har ha'Bayis is not swept, so we follow the majority usage.)

4.Similarly, (had the Aveidah been left by prior tenants, the next tenant would have found it. We should assume that) what was found now was left by the last tenant!

(c)Answer #1 (Reish Lakish): The case is, the house was rented to three (people, even) Yisre'elim. The loser surely despaired.

(d)Inference: This shows that the Halachah follows R. Shimon ben Elazar (who permits keeping an Aveidah found in a public place, because the loser despairs) even when most of the city are Yisre'elim!

(e)Rejection #1 (and Answer #2 - Rav Menasya bar Yakov): The house was rented to three Nochrim.

(f)Rejection #2 (Rav Nachman): Even if it was rented to three Yisre'elim, perhaps the Halachah does not follow R. Shimon. Here, the loser despairs, for he is sure that one of the other two took it, and they deny it.

(g)This is like Rav Nachman taught elsewhere.

1.(Rav Nachman): If two people were standing together and Levi saw a coin fall from one of them, he must return it;


i.The loser does not despair. He is sure that his companion took it, and he plans to confront him and get it back.

2.If three people were standing together; and Levi saw a coin fall from one of them, he may keep it;

i.The loser despairs, for (he is sure that one of the other two took it, and) whoever he confronts can deny that he found it.

(h)Version #1 (Rava): If the Aveidah (that fell from one of three people) is worth at least three Perutos, he must return it. Perhaps they are partners (and each owns at least a Perutah), and they do not despair.

(i)Version #2 (Rava): If the Aveidah is worth at least two Perutos, he must return it. Perhaps they were all partners, and one of them pardoned his share to the others.


(a)(Rava): If Reuven saw a coin fall from Shimon, and he picked it up before Shimon despaired, intending to steal it, he transgresses all of the following: "Lo Sigzol", "Hashev Teshivem", and "Lo Suchal Lehis'alem";

1.Even if he returns it after Shimon despaired, this is only a gift. It does not correct his transgressions.

(b)If he picked it up before Shimon despaired, intending to return it, and after Shimon despaired, he intended to steal it, he transgresses "Hashev Teshivem."

(c)If he waited to pick it up until Shimon despaired, he transgresses only "Lo Suchal Lehis'alem."

(d)(Rava): If Reuven saw a coin fall from Shimon and fall in sand, if Reuven picked it up, he need not return it, for Shimon despaired.

1.Even if Shimon takes a sifter and sifts the sand, he despaired from his coin. He is trying to find what others have lost.


(a)(Mishnah): If Reuven found something (without a Siman) in Shimon's store, Reuven keeps it;

1.If he found it between Shimon's box (where he puts the money) and Shimon, it is Shimon's.

(b)If Reuven found money in front of the table of a moneychanger (Levi), Reuven keeps it;

1.If he found it between the chair (on which the table rests) and Levi, it is Levi's.

(c)If Shimon sold or sent Peros to Reuven, and there were coins inside, Reuven keeps them;

1.If the coins were wrapped up, he announces (to return them).

(d)(Gemara - R. Elazar): (Reuven may keep) even money on the table.

(e)Question (Mishnah): Reuven may keep money found in front of the table;

1.Inference: He may not keep money on the table!

2.Counter-question (Mishnah): Money found between the chair and Levi, it is Levi's.

3.Inference: Reuven may keep money on the table!

(f)Conclusion: The inferences contradict one another. We cannot determine which is correct. The Mishnah neither supports nor refutes R. Elazar.

(g)Question: What is R. Elazar's source?

(h)Answer (Rava): He had difficulty with the Mishnah. Rather than teaching that money between the chair and Levi is Levi's, it should have taught that money on the table is Levi's!

1.Alternatively, it could have said that Reuven keeps what he finds in a moneychanger's store, like the Reisha, which says 'Reuven may keep something he found in Shimon's store';

2.Since it did not say either of these, we must say that Reuven keeps it.