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.

1)

(a)What does Rav Ashi say about someone who finds a knife with a handle or a purse with straps in a wall?

(b)How does he then establish our Mishnah, which presents the criterion as whether the article was found on the inner half or the outer half of the wall?

(c)What does the Beraisa say in a case where the article filled the entire hole?

(d)But is this not obvious?

1)

(a)Rav Ashi rules that if someone finds a knife with a handle or a purse with straps in a wall we go after the handle and the straps (whichever side of the wall they are facing), rather than after which half of the wall they are found.

(b)And he establishes our Mishnah, which presents the criterion as whether the article was found on the inner half or the outer half of the wall in a case where one found a ball of material or a lump of silver.

(c)If the article fills the entire hole, the Beraisa rules 'Cholkin'.

(d)This is not so obvious because it speaks when the wall is sloping, in which case the article may have previously been lying at the top end, and had slid down to fill the hole.

2)

(a)Why does the Mishnah in Shekalim rule that money found in Yerushalayim in front of the animal merchants, was always Ma'aser-Sheini?

(b)Why do we not suspect that maybe it was the animal-merchants who lost the money?

2)

(a)The Mishnah in Shekalim rules that money found in Yerushalayim in front of the animal merchants, was always Ma'aser-Sheini because most of the meat that was eaten in Yerushalayim, was purchased with Ma'aser Sheini money. People tended to bring all their Ma'aser money to Yerushalayim on Yom-Tov, and whatever remained when they left, they would leave for the residents of Yerushalayim to eat after they had gone.

(b)We do not suspect that maybe it was the animal-merchants who had lost the money because since there are more purchasers than sellers, the money probably fell from them and is still Ma'aser.

3)

(a)If money was found in the streets of Yerushalayim, it depended upon whether it was found on Yom-Tov (when it was Ma'aser) or during the rest of the year (when it was Chulin). Why should this Din be different than money that was found on Har Habayis, which was always Chulin?

(b)Why was money that was found in Yerushalayim during the year Chulin?

(c)Har ha'Bayis did not need to be swept, because it was on a hill, and was kept clean by the winds. Why else did Har Habayis not need to be swept every day?

(d)What principle do we learn from the latter case (of money found in the streets of Yerushalayim) regarding the criterion for returning a lost article?

3)

(a)The reason that, if the money was found in the streets of Yerushalayim, it depended upon whether it was found on Yom-Tov (when it was Ma'aser) or during the rest of the year (when it was Chulin) is because the streets of Yerushalayim were swept daily, so that any money that was lost there, would be found on the same day. Consequently, money found on any given day, would have been money that was lost after the previous sweeping. Har ha'Bayis however, was not swept every day. Consequently, money that was found there, could have been lost a long time before, so we go after the majority of money that was brought there, which was Chulin.

(b)Money that was found in Yerushalayim during the year was Chulin because most of the money that circulated in Yerushalayim at that time was Chulin.

(c)Har ha'Bayis did not need to be swept, because it was on a hill, and was kept clean by the winds and besides, it was forbidden to enter the Har ha'Bayis with the dust on one's feet. This meant washing one's feet before entering the Har ha'Bayis, so it was never very dirty.

(d)We learn from the case of the streets of Yerushalayim that we do not go after the majority, but after the last one.

4)

(a)What makes our Mishnah comparable to the Mishnah in Shekalim? Why ought we to go after the last one here as well?

(b)To reconcile the two Mishnahs, Resh Lakish in the name of bar Kapara establishes our Mishnah when the owner previously rented it out to three people. How does this answer the Kashya? Why do we initially consider this a reason not to return the article to the last owner?

(c)How does Rav Menashya bar Ya'akov re-establish the Mishnah, to refute the proof that the Halachah is like Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar even when there are a majority of Yisre'eilim?

(d)Why does Rav Menashya establish it by 'three Nochrim'? Does it really make any difference how many Nochrim rented the house before him?

4)

(a)What makes our Mishnah comparable to the Mishnah in Shekalim (in which case, we ought to go after the last one here too) is the fact that before leaving a hired apartment, one normally tends to check that one has gathered all one's belongings.

(b)To reconcile the two Mishnayos, Reish Lakish in the name of bar Kapara establishes our Mishnah where the owner previously rented it out to three Yisre'elim. We initially consider this a reason not to return the article to the last owner because it turns it into a public place, where Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar permits the finder to keep whatever he finds in any event (perhaps even when the majority of people are Yisre'elim), as we learned above.

(c)To refute the proof that the Halachah is like Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar even when there are a majority of Yisre'elim, Rav Menashiya bar Ya'akov re-establishes the Mishnah where the owner previously rented it out to three Nochrim.

(d)'Three Nochrim' (not because it really make any difference how many Nochrim rented the house before him, but) because Reish Lakish (whose opinion he is coming to counter) established it by three Yisre'elim.

5)

(a)Rav Nachman Amar Rabah bar Avuhah agrees with Resh Lakish, on the grounds that, even if we establish our Mishnah by three Yisre'eilim, it will have nothing to do with Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar. Why not?

(b)What is the difference between the two cases? When do the Rabbanan argue with Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar (assuming that they do)?

5)

(a)Rav Nachman Amar Rabah bar Avuha agrees with Reish Lakish, on the grounds that, even if we establish our Mishnah by three Yisre'elim, it will have nothing to do with Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar because the reason that the finder may keep the article is due to the fact that whenever there are three people, the owner is Meya'esh, as we shall now see.

(b)The difference between the two cases is that here, the loser knows (or thinks he knows) that one of the two men must have found it, and despair of getting it back; whereas the Rabanan argue with Rebbi Shimon in a case where the loser does not know who found it, and therefore has no cause to believe that the finder will not return it to him.

26b----------------------------------------26b

6)

(a)When Rav Nachman quoting Rabah bar Avuhah, establishes our Mishnah where the owner rented his house to three Yisre'eilim, he is merely following his own reasoning elsewhere. Why does he say that someone who sees a Sela fall from one of ...

1. ... two people, is obligated to return it?

2. ... three people, is permitted to keep it?

(b)Rava disagrees with Rav Nachman. Why does Rava change the sum that one is permitted to keep, if it fell from three people, from a Sela to less than three P'rutos? What would be the Din if he found a Sela belonging to them?

(c)Why then, would Rava concede that he may keep less than three P'rutos, even if he knew that they were partners?

(d)Some say that even if there were only two P'rutos, Rava would obligate the finder to return them. Why is that?

6)

(a)When Rav Nachman quoting Rabah bar Avuha, establishes our Mishnah where the owner rented his house to three Yisre'elim, he is merely following his own reasoning elsewhere. He rules that someone who sees a Sela fall from one of ...

1. ... two people is obligated to return it because, assuming that his partner must have found it, and knowing that there was nobody else there, the loser figures that he will get his Sela back by taking him to Beis-Din and forcing him to swear a Shevu'as Heses.

2. ... three people, he is permitted to keep it because he has already asked them numerous times to return his Sela, and they have refused. Clearly then, one of them has stolen it, and there is nothing he can do about it, since he doesn't know from which one to claim.

(b)Rava disagrees with Rav Nachman. He changes the sum that one is permitted to keep, if it fell from three people, from a Sela to less than three Perutos in case they are partners. Consequently, had he found a Sela of theirs (or even three Perutos), he would be obligated to return it, because partners tend to trust each other, and even if initially, the two partners denied any knowledge of the money, the loser is not Meya'esh, because he thinks that they are just pulling his leg, but will soon own up that they found it.

(c)Rava concedes however, that he may keep less than three Perutos, even if he knew that they were partners because then each one would own less than a Perutah, and one is not obligated to return less than a Perutah.

(d)Some say that even if there were only two Perutos, Rava would obligate the finder to return them in case they are partners and one of them has forgone his portion to his friend.

7)

(a)Two of the three sins that Rava ascribes to a person who picks up a coin that he finds before Yi'ush are "Lo Sigzol" and "Hashev Teshivem". What is the third?

(b)What if he returns the article after Yi'ush (see Tosfos DH 'Matanah')?

(c)And what does he transgress if he ...

1. ... picks it up before Yi'ush with the intention of returning it, and after Yi'ush he decided to 'steal' it?

2. ... waits until after Yi'ush before picking it up with the intention of keeping it?

(d)Why, in the first of the two previous cases, does he not transgress the Isur of Gezel?

7)

(a)The three sins that Rava ascribes to a person who picks up a coin that he finds before Yi'ush are "Hashev Teshivem", "Lo Sigzol" and "Lo Suchal Le'his'alem"

(b)If he returns it after Yi'ush he has given the owner a gift, but the Lav of "Lo Suchal Le'his'alem" remains (though he has rectified the other two La'avin (see Tosfos DH 'Matanah').

(c)If he ...

1. ... picks it up before Yi'ush with the intention of returning it, and after Yi'ush he decides to 'steal' it he transgresses only the Lav of "Hashev Teshivem".

2. ... waits until after Yi'ush before picking it up with the intention of keeping it he transgresses only the Lav of "Lo Suchal Le'his'alem".

(d)In the first of the two previous cases, he does not transgress the Isur of Gezel because Gezel is only applicable at the time when the Gazlan takes it. The transgression cannot come into effect once he has it in his hands.

8)

(a)What does Rava say about Reuven who finds the Sela that Shimon lost in the sand?

(b)What if he sees Shimon fetch a sieve and start sifting the sand?

(c)Then why did he sift the sand?

8)

(a)If Reuven finds the Sela that Shimon lost in the sand, Rava rules that he is permitted to keep it (because we assume that Shimon has been Meya'esh) ...

(b)... even if he sees Shimon fetch a sieve and start sifting the sand ...

(c)... because the reason that Shimon sifted the sand was in the hope that he at least finds something that someone else lost (see Shitah Mekubetzes).

9)

(a)Why does our Mishnah say that someone who finds a coin ...

1. ... in a store may keep it?

2. ... between the drawer and the store-keeper must return it to the storekeeper? What is the purpose of the drawer?

(b)What was the job of a banker in those times?

(c)Where would he and his customers place their respective coins?

(d)Why may someone who finds coins 'Lifnei ha'Shulchani' keep them? What exactly, does the Tana mean by 'Lifnei ha'Shulchani'?

9)

(a)Our Mishnah rules that someone who finds a coin ...

1. ... in a store may keep it because, since many people enter the store, the owner is Meya'esh (see Tosfos DH 'Afilu').

2. ... between the drawer and the store-keeper, he must return it to the storekeeper because he is bound to be the one who lost any money found on that side of the counter. The drawer contained the goods to sell, and in addition, he would place the money he received into it.

(b)The job of a banker in those times was to examine and to exchange coins.

(c)He and his customers would place their respective coins on the table that was in front of him.

(d)Someone who finds coins 'Lifnei ha'Shulchani' (on the customer's side of the table) may keep them because if they belonged to the banker, they would have been found on the other side of the table (between the banker's chair and the table). Consequently, they must belong to one of the banker's clients, who is Meya'esh

10)

(a)What distinction does the Tana draw between someone who finds loose money among the fruit that he purchased from his friend or that his friend sent him, and someone who finds wrapped money?

(b)What does Rebbi Elazar say about money that is found on the banker's table?

(c)How do we counter the Kashya on Rebbi Elazar from our Mishnah 'Lifnei ha'Shulchan, Harei Eilu she'Lo' (implying 'Ha al-Gabei ha'Shulchan, Harei Eilu shel Shulchani')?

(d)How does Rebbi Elazar extrapolate from the Seifa 'Bein ha'Kisei le'Shulchani, shel Shulchani', that money that one may keep money that one finds on the banker's table? What ought the Tana to have said ...

1. ... in the Seifa?

2. ... in the Reisha?

10)

(a)The Tana draws a distinction between someone who finds loose money among the fruit that he purchased from his friend or that his friend sent him which he is permitted to keep (because it has no Si'man [as will be explained shortly]) and someone who finds wrapped money which he is obligated to return to whoever identifies the amount or the knot.

(b)Rebbi Elazar rules that any money that he finds on the banker's table the finder may keep.

(c)We counter the Kashya on Rebbi Elazar from our Mishnah 'Lifnei ha'Shulchan, Harei Eilu she'Lo' (implying 'Ha al-Gabei ha'Shulchan, Harei Eilu shel Shulchani') by citing the Seifa, which states 'Bein ha'Kisei u'le'Shulchani, Harei Eilu shel Shulchani', which implies 'Ha al-Gabei ha'Shulchan, Harei Eilu she'Lo'. So we ignore the implications altogether.

(d)Rebbi Elazar extrapolates from the Seifa 'Bein ha'Kisei le'Shulchani, shel Shulchani' that money that one may keep money that one finds on the banker's table because otherwise, the Tana should have said ...

1. ... in the Seifa 'al-Gabei ha'Shulchan, shel Shulchani' (and all the more so, 'Bein ha'Kisei le'Shulchani') or ...

2. ... in the Reisha 'Matza be'Shulchanus Harei Eilu she'Lo' (meaning on the customer's side of the table), to match the Reisha of the Reisha, 'Matza ba'Chanus, Harei Eilu she'Lo'. 'Lifnei ha'Shulchani' incorporates on the table, too.

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