ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Metzia 26
BAVA METZIA 26 (3 Teves) - dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Rebbetzin Sarah Gustman
(wife of Hagaon Rav Yisroel Zev Gustman and daughter of Hagaon Rav Meir
Bassin of Vilna) on the day of her Yahrzeit, by two Talmidim Muvhakim of Rav
Gustman, Hagaon Rav Hillel Ruvel and Hagaon Rav Yisrael Azriel Zalisky - and
in honor of the marriage of Rav Zalisky's son, Yitzchak Zvi, to his wife
Rachel Dinah (Lasher) on 2 Teves 5762. May they be Boneh a Bayis Ne'eman
(a) Rav Ashi rules that if someone who 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 placed), rather than after which half
of the wall they are found.
(b) 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 filled 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.
(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. Nor do we 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.
(b) 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, could
have been lost a long time before, so we go after the majority of money that
was brought there, which was Chulin.
(c) Money that was found in Yerushalayim during the year was Chulin -
because most of the money that circulated in Yerushalayim at that time was
(d) 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 that dirty.
(e) We learn from the case of the streets of Yerushalayim - that we do not
go after the majority, but after the last one.
(a) What makes our Mishnah comparable to the Mishnah in Shekalim 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 Mishnahs, Resh Lakish in the name of bar Kapara
establishes our Mishnah when the owner previously rented it out to three
Jews. 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 Jews), 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 Jews, Rav Menashya bar Ya'akov
re-establishes the Mishnah - when the owner previously rented it out to
(d) Rav Menashya establishes it by '*three* Nochrim' (not because it really
make any difference how many Nochrim rented the house before him, but) -
because Resh Lakish (whose opinion he is coming to counter) established it
by *three* Jews.
(a) Rav Nachman Amar Rabah bar Avuhah agrees with Resh Lakish, on the
grounds that, even if we establish our Mishnah by three Jews, 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 is a
threesome, the owner is Meya'esh, as we shall 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
retrieving it; whereas the Rabbanan 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.
(a) When Rav Nachman quoting Rabah bar Avuhah, establishes our Mishnah when
the owner rented his house to three Jews, he is merly 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, he
figures that he will retrieve his Sela by taking him to Beis-Din and forcing
him to swear a Shevu'as Hesses.
(b) Rava argues 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
P'rutos - in case they are partners. Consequently, had he found a Sela of
theirs (or even three P'rutos), 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 admit to their
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.
(c) Rava would concede however, that he would not be obligated to return
less than three P'rutos of theirs, even if he knew that they were partners -
because then each one would own less than a P'rutah, and one is not
obligated to return less than a P'rutah.
(d) Some say that even if there were only two P'rutos, Rava would obligate
the finder to return them - in case they are partners and one of them had
forwent his portion to his friend.
(a) The three sins that Rava ascribes to a person who picks up a coin that
he finds before Yi'ush are - "Lo Sigzol", "Hashev Teshivem" and "Lo Suchal
(b) Neither does he rectify the latter sin by returning it after Yi'ush
(though he does rectify the other two sins (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 decided to 'steal' it - he transgresses only the La'av of
(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
2. ... waits until after Yi'ush before picking it up with the intention of
keeping it - he transgresses only the La'av of "Lo Suchal Le'his'alem".
(a) Rava states that if Reuven finds the Sela that Shimon lost in the sand -
he is permitted to keep it (though it is unclear what the Chidush is - see
(b) An this ruling applies - even if he sees Shimon fetch a sieve and start
sifting the sand.
(c) The reason that Shimon sifted the sand is in the hope that he at least
finds something that someone else lost (see Shitah Mekubetzes).
(a) The Tana of 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').
(b) The job of a banker in the times of the Mishnah - was to examine and to
2. ... between the drawer and the store-keeper 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.
(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
should have been found on the other side of the table (between the banker's
chair and the table).
(a) The Tana of our Mishnah makes 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 Siman [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 the finder may keep money that he finds on the
(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 in the Seifa
'al-Gabei ha'Shulchan, shel Shulchani' (and all the more so, 'Bein ha'Kisei
le'Shulchani') or 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.