POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Bava Metzia 27
1) THE PARTICULAR LOST OBJECTS MENTIONED IN THE TORAH
(a) (Mishnah): The verse already taught that one must return
a garment - "Simlah" was written to teach the general
rule: just as a garment has signs and people claim it,
also anything that has Simanim, and people will claim it,
the finder must announce (to return it).
2) EXPOUNDING THE PARSHAH OF LOST OBJECTS
(b) (Gemara - Question): How did the verse already teach that
one must return a garment?
(c) Answer (Rava): "Kol Avedas Achicha (any lost object of
(d) Question (Rava): Why did the Torah write (four examples
of lost objects) - "Shor, Chamor, Seh and Simlah"?
(e) Answer (Rava): The Torah must teach all four cases:
1. If it only taught a garment - one might have
thought, we only return lost objects through
witnesses or Simanim on the object itself;
(f) Question: Once "Ox" teaches that we must return even the
hair at the end of the tail, there is no need to teach
that we must return the shearings!
i. "Donkey" teaches that we return a donkey
through witnesses or Simanim on the saddle.
ii. "Ox" teaches that we must return even the hair
at the end of the tail
iii. "Seh (sheep or goat)" teaches that we must
return the shearings.
(g) Retraction (Rava): We do not know why the Torah wrote
1. Also, according to R. Yehudah, we do not know why
the Torah wrote "Chamor" regarding animals that fall
in a pit.
(h) Suggestion: Perhaps Seh teaches that the dung must be
(i) Rejection: People make it Hefker.
(j) Suggestion: Perhaps it teaches that Simanim are
1. The Halachah is, we return lost objects through a
medium Siman - we are unsure if this is mid'Oraisa
or mid'Rabanan - perhaps it is mid'Oraisa, "Seh"
(k) Rejection: Since the Tana of our Mishnah said that
"Simlah" teaches about Simanim, we cannot say that "Seh"
(a) (Beraisa): "Asher Tovad (that will be lost)" - this
excludes a lost object worth less than a Perutah; R.
Yehudah says, "u'Matzasah (And you will find it)"
excludes a lost object worth less than a Perutah.
3) ARE SIGNS MID'ORAISA?
(b) Question: On what do they argue?
(c) Answer #1: They only argue about which verse teaches the
1. Question: What do Chachamim learn from "u'Matzasah"?
(d) Answer #2 (Rava): They argue regarding a lost object
worth a Perutah that declined in value to less than a
2. Answer: Ravnai's law.
i. (Ravnai): "U'Matzasah" connotes that it came to
your hand (and even so, you need only return
your brother's object, not a Nochri's).
3. Question: What does R. Yehudah learn from "Asher
4. Answer: R. Yochanan's law.
i. Question (R. Yochanan): How do we know that one
may keep a lost object found in a flooding
5. Question: How does R. Yehudah learn Ravnai's law?
ii. Answer (R. Yochanan): "So you will do to any
lost object Asher Tovad Mimenu (that will be
lost from him) and you will find it" - the
Torah (commands returning) things that are lost
from him only, not something which is lost
(irretrievable) from everyone.
6. Answer: From the extra 'Vov' in "u'Matzasah".
7. Question: How do Chachamim learn R. Yochanan's law?
8. Answer: From "Mimenu (from him)".
i. R. Yehudah holds that we cannot learn from
"Mimenu", only from "Asher Tovad".
1. Chachamim learn from "Asher Tovad" - anything worth
a Perutah when lost must be returned, even if later
it is worth less;
(e) Objection: Chachamim should admit that "u'Matzasah"
implies that it is worth a Perutah when you find it!
2. R. Yehudah learns from "u'Matzasah" - you must only
return a lost object if it is worth a Perutah when
you find it.
(f) Answer #3 (Rava): Rather, they argue regarding a lost
object worth less than a Perutah that rose in value to a
1. Chachamim learn from "Asher Tovad" - if it was not
worth a Perutah when lost, it need not returned;
(g) Objection: R. Yehudah should admit that "Asher Tovad"
implies that it was worth a Perutah when lost!
2. R. Yehudah learns from "u'Matzasah" - you must
return it if it is worth a Perutah when you find it.
(h) Answer #4 (Rava): Rather, they argue regarding a lost
object worth a Perutah that declined in value, then rose
and is again worth a Perutah.
1. Chachamim learn from "Asher Tovad" - it was worth a
Perutah when lost, it must be returned;
2. R. Yehudah learns from "u'Matzasah" - you only need
return it if it was worth a Perutah from the time it
was lost until you found it.
(a) Question (The Halachah is, we return lost objects through
a (medium) Siman): is this mid'Oraisa or mid'Rabanan?
1. Question: What difference does it make?
4) WHY THE ENACTMENT WAS MADE
2. Answer: Whether we can return a Get of divorce
through a Siman.
(b) Answer #1 (Mishnah): The verse already taught that one
must return a garment - "Simlah" was written to teach the
generality: just as a garment has simanim and people
claim it, also anything that has simanim, and people will
claim it, the finder must announce (to return it). (Since
we learn from a verse, it is mid'Oraisa.)
i. If the law is mid'Oraisa - it applies also to a
ii. If it is a Rabbinical enactment - it was only
enacted by money, not by prohibitions.
(c) Rejection: The verse only teaches that it must have
people that will claim it - the mention of simanim was an
allusion to the Rabbinical enactment.
(d) Answer #2 (Beraisa): "Chamor" teaches that we return a
donkey through simanim on the saddle.
(e) Rejection: It means, through witnesses that recognize the
(f) Answer #3 (Beraisa) Question: "It will be with you until
your brother Derosh (demands) it" - might one have
thought to return it before this?!
1. Rather, this teaches that you must Doresh
(investigate) if he is lying.
(g) Rejection: No, you require him to bring witnesses
testifying that it is his.
2. Suggestion: This is by asking him to give a sign!
(h) Answer #4 (Mishnah): Witnesses may only testify (to
identify a corpse to permit the wife to remarry) if they
saw the face with the nose, even if there are signs on
the body and clothes.
1. This shows that Simanim are not mid'Oraisa!
(i) Rejection: The Mishnah speaks of unreliable Simanim on
the body, e.g. he was tall or short;
1. We do not rely on Simanim on the clothes, we are
concerned that the deceased was wearing borrowed
(j) Suggestion: Tana'im argue whether Simanim are mid'Oraisa.
2. Question: If so, why do we return a donkey through
Simanim on the saddle - perhaps the saddle was
3. Answer #1: People do not borrow saddles, it could
wound the donkey.
4. Answer #2: Indeed, we are never concerned for
i. The Mishnah teaches, we do not rely on
unreliable Simanim on the clothes, such as they
were black or red.
5. Question (on Answer #1 - Beraisa): A messenger lost
a Get and found it tied to his moneybag or in his
ring, or among his clothes, even after a long time -
the Get is valid (we assume it is the one he lost).
i. If we are concerned for borrowing, when it is
tied to his wallet, why is it valid?
6. Answer: People do not lend these articles.
i. Lending a moneybag is a bad omen; one would not
lend his signet ring, lest people will use it
1. (Beraisa): We do not testify (to identify a corpse)
based on birthmarks; Elazar ben Mehavai says, we
(k) Rejection #1 (Rava): All agree that Simanim are
mid'Oraisa; they argue whether we are concerned that
someone with the same Mazel (configuration of the stars
when he was born) would have similar birthmarks.
2. Suggestion: The first Tana holds that Simanim are
mid'Rabanan, Elazar ben Mehavai holds that they are
1. Chachamim say that this is common, we are concerned,
Elazar says that it is rare, we are not concerned.
(l) Rejection #2: All agree that it is uncommon that someone
with the same Mazel would have similar birthmarks;
1. They argue whether birthmarks are prone to change
appearance after death.
(m) Rejection #3: All agree that birthmarks are not prone to
change appearance after death; and that Simanim are
2. Chachamim say that they change, Elazar says they do
1. They argue whether birthmarks are considered an
2. Elazar says that it is, Chachamim say it is not.
(a) Question (Rava): If Simanim are mid'Rabanan, why was the
(b) Answer #1 (Rava): The finder is happy to return it
through Simanim, in order that when he loses something,
he will get it back through Simanim.
(c) Objection (Rav Safra): We are not concerned for the
finder, rather for the owner!
(d) Answer #2 (Rava): The loser knows that he cannot bring
witnesses, therefore he wants to be able to get it
1. He is confident that only he knows good Simanim.
(e) Question (Rav Safra - Mishnah - R. Shimon ben Gamliel):
If Reuven borrowed from three people, we return the
documents to him; if Shimon lent to three people, we
return them to him.
1. The borrower does not want the lender to receive the
documents through a Siman!
(f) Answer (Rava): That is based on logic, not on Simanim!
1. When they are from the same borrower - surely he
dropped them, had they fallen from the lenders,
there is no reason why they would be together;
2. When they are from the same lender - surely he
dropped them, had they fallen from the borrowers,
there is no reason why they would be together.