ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Metzia 27
(a) Our Mishnah permits someone who finds loose money among the fruit that
he purchased from his friend or that his friend sent him, to keep it. Resh
Lakish Amar Rebbi Yanai qualifies this - by restricting it to someone who
buys from a merchant. If he were to purchase from a private individual, he
would have to return the money to him.
(b) The Beraisa-expert quoted a Beraisa in front of Rav Nachman - which
corroborates what Resh Lakish Amar Rebbi Yanai just said.
(c) By fruit, the Tana means - threshed corn.
(d) To avoid the Kashya that maybe it was one of the threshers who had lost
the coin, and not the owner, Rav Nachman establishes our Mishnah - when the
corn was threshed by the owners slaves.
(a) Our Mishnah explains that the Torah inserts the word "Simlah" ("ve'Chein
Ta'aseh le'Simlaso" - Ki Seitzei), to necessitate two conditions before the
finder is obligated to return a lost article. One of them is that it must
have an owner, the other, that it must have claimants, which means - that it
has Simanim by means of which the claimant can identify it.
(b) The problem the Tana has with "Simlah" is - that, seeing as the Torah
has already written "u'le'Chol Aveidas Achicha", it is 'superfluous'.
(c) The other three words Rava lists as being 'superfluous' are - "Chamor",
"Shor" and "Seh".
(a) Now that "Simlah" comes to require witnesses or Simanim of the actual
object, the Torah needs to add ...
1. ... "Chamor" - to teach us that the finder is obligated to return a
donkey if the claimant can identify the saddle.
(b) Having obligated the return of the fluff of an ox's tail - it is indeed
obvious that this obligation extends to a sheep's shearings. That is why, at
the end of the day, Rava does not know why the Torah needs to write "Seh".
2. ... "Shor" - ... that the finder must even return the fluff on the ox's
tail (see Tosfos DH 'le'Gizas Z'navo'.
3. ... "Seh" - ... that he must return the wool that he sheared off the
(c) The Rabbanan of Rebbi Yehudah learn from "Chamor" (by 'Bor') - that the
owner of a pit is not liable to pay for vessels that fall into it and break.
(d) Rebbi Yehudah holds that he is, which is why Rava doesn't know why,
according to him, the Torah writes "Chamor" (by Bor)", either.
(a) "Seh" cannot come to include the obligation of returning ...
1. ... a lost animal's dung - because we take for granted that the owner
renders it Hefker (and it would be illogical to obligate the finder to
(b) If not for "Seh", and assuming that "Simlah" comes to teach us witnesses
exclusively - Simanim will not be d'Oraysa at all, but de'Rabbanan (as we
already discussed in the first Perek).
2. ... a lost article via Simanim (and "Simlah" comes to include only that
witnesses - because since our Mishnah quotes "Simlah" in conection with both
Simanim and witnesses, it is clear that if Simanim are d'Oraysa, then the
source will be "Simlah" (and not "Seh").
(c) The Tana Kama of the Beraisa learns from the Pasuk "Asher Tovad" - that
the finder is not obligated to return an Aveidah that is worth less than a
P'rutah (see Tosfos 'P'rat').
(d) Rebbi Yehudah learns this from "u'Metzasah". According to Abaye - their
Machlokes has no ramifications. One learns it from here, and the other, from
(a) The Tana Kama learns "u'Metzasah" like Ravina, who learns from there -
that even if the finder has already picked up the Aveidah, he is not
obligated to return it to a Nochri ("u'Metzasah", 'de'Asi li'Yedeih Mashma'
[as we learned in the first Perek]).
(b) Rebbi Yehudah ;earns from "Asher Tovad Mimenu" like Rebbi Yochanan
quoting Rebbi Shimon who Darshens from here - that if an Aveidah is not
attainable by anybody at the time that it goes lost (e.g. if it is swept
away by a raging torrent), the finder may keep it (as we learned above).
(c) Rebbi Yehudah counters the Rabbanan, who learn this from "Mimenu"
alone - by arguing that "Mimenu" on its own does not imply anything.
(d) And the Rabbanan learn Ravina's Din - from the extra 'Vav' in
(a) According to Rava, the Machlokes between Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabbanan
do have ramifications. Based on "Asher Tovad" and "u'Metzasah" respectively,
he suggests initially - that they argue either when the article was worth a
Perutah when it was lost, but had been devalued by the time it was found, or
(b) We reject both suggestions however, on the grounds - that now that the
Torah writes both "Asher Tovad" and "u'Metzasah", it is clear that the
object must be worth a P'rutah both when it goes lost and when it is found.
(c) Rava finally explains the case over which the Tana'im argue as - when
the article was worth a P'rutah both when it was found and when it was lost,
but in between, it was devalued to less than a P'rutah before rising to its
(d) Their Machlokes is then as follows - according to the Tana Kama, the
finder is obligated to return it, whereas Rebbi Yehudah requires the Aveidah
to be worth a P'rutah right up to the time that the Aveidah is found.
(a) We ask whether Simanim are d'Oraysa or de'Rabbanan. If they were
de'Rabbanan - we would not return a lost Get with Simanim, (because the
Rabbanan's Takanah did not extend to Isur).
(b) The reason for this is - because 'Hefker Beis-Din Hefker' (the
underlying principle giving the Chachamim to initiate such a Takanah) is
confined to Mamon.
(c) We cannot prove that Simanim are d'Oraysa from ...
1. ... our Mishnah, which learns Simanim and Tov'in from "Simlah" - because
perhaps it is only Tov'in that we learn from "Simlah", and the Mishnah only
mentions Simanim by the way.
2. ... Rava, who learns from "Chamor" that one returns a donkey via the
Simanim of the saddle - because perhaps what he really said was 'Eidei Ukaf'
(and not 'Simnei Ukaf').
(a) Rava will shortly learn from "ve'Hayah Imcha Ad D'rosh Achicha Oso" -
that the finder is not permitted to part with the Aveidah until the claimant
proves that he is the rightful owner.
(b) There is no proof from ...
1. ... Rava that Simanim are d'Oraysa" - because the owner can prove his
ownership by means of witnesses.
(c) In spite of the fact that the Tana's reason for not accepting Simanim
regarding the dead man's clothes is for fear that they were borrowed, we
return a donkey via identification of the saddle - because people do not
borrow saddles, in case the borrowed saddle (to which the donkey is
unaccustomed) will result in a sore back.
2. ... from the Mishnah in Bechoros, which specifically precludes Simanim as
a means of identifying the body or the clothes of a dead man to permit his
wife to re-marry - because the Tana might be referring to weak Simanim, such
as 'tall' or 'short'.
(d) Alternatively, to explain why we do not accept testimony on the dead
man's clothes, we establish the Mishnah - by weak Simanim such as 'white' or
'red' (in the same way as we explained the Simanim on the dead man's body).
(a) The Beraisa rules that if a Sheli'ach loses a Get and subsequently finds
it tied to his purse, or among his household effects - it is valid, even if
a long time elapses until he finds it.
(b) This, in spite of the Mishnah in Gitin, which validates a Get that the
Sheli'ach lost and then found (and which we discussed earlier), but only he
found it soon afterwards - because the Tana is speaking when he lost it on
the street, and we are afraid that perhaps in the interim, someone else from
a different town also dropped a Get there; whereas in our case, where he
lost it in the house, what difference will the time lapse make?
(c) We resolve the Get tied to his purse with what we just learned that we
are worried about vessels being borrowed - by pointing out that, on
principle, a person does not lend out a purse, a wallet or a ring.
(d) They will not lend out ...
1. ... a purse or a wallet - because it is considered a bad omen (as if he
was selling his Mazel).
2. ... a signet-ring - because it provides the borrower with the opportunity
to forge his signature.
(a) The Tana Kama of the Beraisa invalidates testimony that relies solely on
the wart of a dead man (to allow his wife to get married). Elazar ben
Mahava'i validates it. Initially, we establish the Machlokes whether Simanim
are d'Oraysa (Elazar ben Mahava'i) or de'Rabbanan (the Rabbanan).
(b) Rava refutes this explanation in a number of ways. Perhaps, he says,
they both hold Simanim are d'Oraysa, and they argue about a wart on a
ben-Gil - (someone born under the same Mazel). The Tana Kama holds that *it
is common* for people born under the same Mazel to have similar-looking
warts (in which case, a wart cannot be considered a Siman, because the
corpse might be that of a ben-Gil of the woman's husband); whereas Elazar
ben Mahava'i holds *it is not*.
(c) And perhaps they also both hold that a wart is not common on a ben-Gil -
and they argue over whether a wart tends to change after death (the
Rabbanan) or not (Elazar ben Mahava'i).
(d) Finally, he suggests, they both agree that a wart does not tend to
change after death, and that Simanim are de'Rabbanan. And the basis of their
Machlokes will then be - whether a wart is a clear Siman (Elazar ben
Mahava'i [which everyone agrees is d'Oraysa]) or not (the Rabbanan).
(a) If Simanim is de'Rabanan, Rava suggests, the reason that the finder
returns an Aveidah by means of Simanim, is because he would be only too
pleased to be able to use Simanim to retrieve his article. Rav Safra
objects to this however, on the grounds - that it is all very well for the
finder to be pleased, at the expense of the owner.
(b) So we amend Rava's reason to read that it is (not the finder, but) the
loser who is pleased. Knowing that he has no witnesses, he will agree
wholeheartedly with the Takanas Chazal to return his article with Simanim
(coupled with the fact that a stranger would be most unlikely to be able to
identify his article).
(c) If that is the reason for returning a lost article with Simanim, we
ask - how can we justify Raban Shimon ben Gamliel, who said in the Mishnah
earlier in the Perek, 'Echad ha'Loveh mi'Sheloshah, Yachzir la'Loveh'.
Surely there, the borrower would not agree to the return of the Sh'tar, in
case one of the creditors obtains by identifying it.
(d) And we answer - that we return the Sh'tar there for a different reason;
because how would all the Sh'taros have been collected into one bundle,
unless they had been paid (as we explained earlier). This is a 'S'vara' (and
'S'vara' is d'Oraysa).
(a) We have the same problem with the Mishnah there 'Matza Tachrich shel
Sh'taros O Agudah shel Sh'taros, Harei Zeh Yachzir'. Here too, there is no
reason for the borrower to be please with the Sh'tar's return - leading Rava
to conclude that Simanim must be d'Oraysa.
(b) And he proves it from the Pasuk "ve'Hayah Imcha ad D'rosh Achicha Osos".
The problem with the Pasuk as it stands is - why would anyone think that one
should (or could) return an article before the owner comes to claim it.
(c) Rava therefore interprets the Pasuk to mean - that it is the finder who
seeks (examines) the claimant, declining to return the article until he
proves that it is his by means of Simanim.