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Mishnayos Bava Metzia Perek 1 Mishnah 1

בבא מציעא פרק א׳ משנה א׳


The early commentaries ask why this chapter, which discusses details of the halakhot of found items, precedes the second chapter, which discusses the fundamental halakhot of found items.
Tosafot explain that as tractate Bava Metzia follows tractate Bava Kamma, the halakhot of found items are elucidated in this chapter as a continuation of the topics discussed in the last chapter of Bava Kamma, which discussed the division of items between litigants by means of an oath, which is also the ruling in the mishna here (see Shita Mekubbetzet). The Rosh explains that because there is a suspicion of theft in this case, these matters are juxtaposed with the halakhot of theft, which are described at length in Bava Kamma.

If two people came to court holding a garment, and this one, the first litigant, says: I found it, and that one, the second litigant, says: I found it; this one says: All of it is mine, and that one says: All of it is mine; how does the court adjudicate this case? This one takes an oath that he does not have ownership of less than half of it, and that one takes an oath that he does not have ownership of less than half of it, and they divide it. If this one says: All of it is mine, and that one says: Half of it is mine, since they both agree that half of the cloak belongs to one of them, the conflict between them is only about the other half. Therefore, the one who says: All of it is mine, takes an oath that he does not have ownership of less than three parts, i.e., three-fourths, of it, and the one who says: Half of it is mine, takes an oath that he does not have ownership of less than one-quarter of it. This one takes three parts, and that one takes one-quarter.

שְׁנַיִם אוֹחֲזִין בְּטַלִּית, זֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי מְצָאתִיהָ וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי מְצָאתִיהָ, זֶה אוֹמֵר כֻּלָּהּ שֶׁלִּי וְזֶה אוֹמֵר כֻּלָּהּ שֶׁלִּי, זֶה יִשָּׁבַע שֶׁאֵין לוֹ בָהּ פָּחוֹת מֵחֶצְיָהּ, וְזֶה יִשָּׁבַע שֶׁאֵין לוֹ בָהּ פָּחוֹת מֵחֶצְיָהּ, וְיַחֲלֹקוּ. זֶה אוֹמֵר כֻּלָּהּ שֶׁלִּי וְזֶה אוֹמֵר חֶצְיָהּ שֶׁלִּי, הָאוֹמֵר כֻּלָּהּ שֶׁלִּי, יִשָּׁבַע שֶׁאֵין לוֹ בָהּ פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁלשָׁה חֲלָקִים, וְהָאוֹמֵר חֶצְיָהּ שֶׁלִּי, יִשָּׁבַע שֶׁאֵין לוֹ בָהּ פָּחוֹת מֵרְבִיעַ. זֶה נוֹטֵל שְׁלשָׁה חֲלָקִים, וְזֶה נוֹטֵל רְבִיעַ:


שנים אוחזין בטלית – In the Gemara (Bava Metzia 7a), it maintains our Mishnah [deals with the case] such as one of them grabs hold of threads that are at the border of the garment from this side, and another grabs hold of threads that at the border of the of the garment from that side, but if they were cleaving to the garment itself, this one takes up until the place where hand reaches and that one takes up the place where his hand reaches, and the rest they would divide equally. , and through an oath.

זה אומר כולה שלי – I purchased it and/or it was sold to me by the seller and not to you. And when the seller sold [it] to one of them and took the money from both of them, one of them with his knowledge and the other one against his will, and he (i.e., the seller) does not know which one was with his knowledge and which one was against his will. For if he had known, and he would have said: “to this one, I sold [it].” There would be here one witness. And the one opposite him would be liable for an oath from the Torah, to contradict the witness. But now that he does not know, both are sworn to this oath that is mentioned in our Mishnah. And by law, they would divide [the garment] without an oath, but the Sages enacted that neither of them at all can take it without an oath, in order that everyone wouldn’t go and seize the garment of his fellow and say, “it is mine.” And it was necessary for the Tanna [of our Mishnah] to teach us that when this one says, “I found it, “that is through [an act of] finding it, and the other who says, “it is all mine,” that is through a commercial transaction. For had the Tanna [of our Mishnah] [only taught] a found object, I might think that it is through a found object [only] that the Rabbis imposed an oath, because they have taught a leniency to grab hold [of the corner of the object] inappropriately, so that my fellow would not have nothing missing in it, I will go and grab hold of it and divide it in public, but [regarding] a commercial transaction, if he had no need for it, he would not go after it to purchase it, and the person who comes to divide it with him and give him half of its monetary value, which is inappropriate, causing him loss and that is not to say that he is teaching that it is permitted to do so. I would say that the Rabbis did not impose upon him an oath. But if [the Mishnah] only taught about commercial transactions, I would say that is only upon commercial transactions that the Rabbis imposed upon him an oath because they are teaching a leniency and he [would] say, my fellow gives me money and I give money, now it is necessary for me, I will take it, and my fellow will have to trouble himself to go and purchase another one. But, regarding a found object, where you don’t have to say this, I would say, no, hence, it is necessary [for the Mishnah to teach both about found objects and commercial transactions].

ישבע שאין לו בה פחות מחציה – but he would not be sworn to an oath [saying] “it is all his,” as he would claim from the outset. For all of it would not be given to him. But if from when he claimed that half of it was his that it should be given to him, he would weaken his position from his first statement – when he said that it was all his. Therefore, he takes an oath that he does not have any less than half, which implies by this – that all of it is mine, as he had said initially; but according to your words, where you do not believe me regarding all of it, [I am taking] an oath that I have [a stake] in it and I have no less than one-half.

שנים אוחזין בטלית. בגמרא מוקי למתניתין כגון שאחד מהם תופס בחוטין שבשפת הבגד מצד זה, והאחד תופס בחוטין שבשפת הבגד מצד זה. אבל אם הם אדוקים בבגד עצמו, זה נוטל עד מקום שידו מגעת וזה נוטל עד מקום שידו מגעת, והשאר חולקים בשוה, ובשבועה:

זה אומר כולה שלי. אני קניתיה ולי מכרה המוכר ולא לך. והמוכר מכר לאחד מהם ולקח המעות משניהם, מאחד מדעתו ומאחד בעל כרחו, ואינו יודע מהי מדעתו ומהי בעל כרחיה. דאילו ידע והיה אומר לזה מכרתי, היה כאן עד אחד, והיה שכנגדו חייב שבועה דאורייתא להכחיש העד. עכשיו שאינו יודע, שניהם נשבעים שבועה זו האמורה במתניתין. ובדין הוא שיהיו חולקים בלא שבועה, אלא שתקנו חכמים שלא יטול שום אחד מהם אלא בשבועה, כדי שלא יהא כל אחד הולך ותוקף בטליתו של חבירו ואומר שלי היא. ואיצטריך תנא לאשמועינן בזה אומר אני מצאתיה דהיינו במציאה, ובזה אומר כולה שלי דהיינו מקח וממכר. אי תנא מציאה, הוה אמינא מציאה הוא דרמו רבנן שבועה עליה משום דמורה התירא לאחוז בה שלא כדין, דאמר חבראי לאו מידי חסר בה איזיל ואתפוס ואפלוג בהדיה, אבל מקח וממכר דאי לא הוה צריך לה לא הוה מהדר אבתרה למזבנה, וזה שבא לחלוק עמו וליתן חצי דמיה שלא כדין מחסרו וליכא למימר דמורי התירא, אימא לא רמו רבנן שבועה עליה. ואי אשמועינן במקח וממכר, הוה אמינא מקח וממכר הוא דרמו רבנן שבועה עליה משום דמורי התירא ואמר חבראי דמי קא יהיב ואנא דמי קא יהיבנא, השתא דצריכה לדידי אשקליה אנא, וחבראי לטרח וליזיל ולזבין אחריתי, אבל מציאה דליכא למימר הכי, אימא לא. צריכא:

ישבע שאין לו בה פחות מחציה. ואינו נשבע שכולה שלו כדקא טעין מעיקרא, דהא לא יהבי ליה כולה. ואי משתבע שחציה שלו כדקא יהבי ליה, הוה מרע ליה לדבוריה קמא דאמר כולה שלי. הלכך ישבע שאין לו בה פחות מחציה, דמשמע הכי, כולה שלי כדקא אמינא מעיקרא, ולדבריכם שאין אתם מאמינים לי בכולה, שבועה שיש לי בה ואין לי בה פחות מחציה: