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Mishnayos Bava Metzia Perek 2 Mishnah 7

בבא מציעא פרק ב׳ משנה ז׳


If a claimant accurately stated what type of item the lost item that was found by another is, but did not state, i.e., describe, its distinguishing marks, the finder shall not give it to him. And in the case of a swindler, even though he stated its distinguishing marks, the finder shall not give the lost item to him, as it is stated: “And if your brother be not near you, and you know him not, then you shall bring it into your house, and it shall be with you until your brother claims [derosh] it [oto], and you shall return it to him” (Deuteronomy 22:2). Would it enter your mind that the finder would give it to him before he claims it? How can the finder return it if he does not know the identity of the owner? Rather, the verb derosh is not referring to the claim of the owner; it is referring to the scrutiny performed by the finder. You shall not return the lost item until you scrutinize [shetidrosh] your brother to determine whether he, the claimant, is a swindler or whether he is not a swindler. If one finds any living being that works and generates enough revenue to cover the costs of the food that it eats, it shall work and eat while in the finder’s possession. And any living being that does not work but it does eat shall be sold, as it is stated: “Then you shall bring it into your house, and it shall be with you until your brother claims it, and you shall return it to him” (Deuteronomy 22:2), indicating that the finder must see how best to return it to him. Since the owner must repay the finder for his expenditures, if feeding the animal costs more than its value, the finder’s keep-ing the animal in his possession will prevent the owner from recovering it. What shall be done with the money received from the sale of the animal? Rabbi Tarfon says: The finder may use it; therefore, if the money is lost, he is liable to pay restitution for it. Rabbi Akiva says: He may not use the money; therefore, if it is lost, he is not liable to pay restitution for it.

אָמַר אֶת הָאֲבֵדָה וְלֹא אָמַר סִימָנֶיהָ, לֹא יִתֶּן לוֹ. וְהָרַמַּאי, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמַר סִימָנֶיהָ, לֹא יִתֶּן לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב) עַד דְּרשׁ אָחִיךָ אֹתוֹ, עַד שֶׁתִּדְרשׁ אֶת אָחִיךָ אִם רַמַּאי הוּא אִם אֵינוֹ רַמָּאי. כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה וְאוֹכֵל, יַעֲשֶׂה וְיֹאכַל. וְדָבָר שֶׁאֵין עוֹשֶׂה וְאוֹכֵל, יִמָּכֵר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם) וַהֲשֵׁבֹתוֹ לוֹ, רְאֵה הֵיאַךְ תְּשִׁיבֶנּוּ לוֹ. מַה יְּהֵא בַדָּמִים. רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן אוֹמֵר, יִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהֶן, לְפִיכָךְ אִם אָבְדוּ חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, לֹא יִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהֶן, לְפִיכָךְ אִם אָבְדוּ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן:


Anything which does work and eats. If the lost item is something that you can feed with the produce of its work, for example an ox or a donkey.

One may use it [to do work] and feed it. Don't sell the found item, since all people are pleased with their animal which recognizes them already, and has trained it to their liking. [However] you are not obligated to take care of it forever, rather a chicken and a large animal you take care for 12 months. Calves and baby horses for pasture, meaning that they aren't grown to fatten them up, and similarly kids and sheep, you take care of them for 3 months. Calves for fattening you take care of for 30 days. Geese and roosters, small ones you take care of for 30 days and big ones (which eat a lot) you take care of for 3 days. After this time you take them for yourself and assess their value, or you sell them to others and hide the money.

Therefore if they [the money] were lost he is responsible. Since the Rabbis permitted him to use them [the money], even though he didn't use them, he is considered as if he used them, and he is responsible. The halacha is like Rabbi Tarfon regarding the value of a lost item which was sold. However, money itself that was lost, for example he found money in a purse or three coins that were on top of another, he is not to use them at all.

כל דבר שעושה ואוכל. אם האבדה דבר שיכולים להאכילו את שכר מעשיו, כגון שור וחמור:

יעשה ויאכל. ולא ימכור אותו המוצא, שכל אדם נוח לו בבהמתו שהכירה בו כבר ולימדה לרצונו. ואינו חייב להטפל בה לעולם, אלא תרנגולת ובהמה גסה מטפל בה י״ב חדש. עגלים וסייחים של רעיה, כלומר שאין מגדלים אותם לפטם וכן גדיים וטלאים, מטפל בהם שלשה חדשים. ועגלים של פיטום מטפל בהם שלשים יום. אווזין ותרנגולים זכרים, הקטנים מטפל בהן שלשים יום והגדולים שאוכלים הרבה מטפל בהן שלשה ימים מכאן ואילך לוקח אותם הוא לעצמו בשומא כפי שוויין, או מוכרן לאחרים ומניח הדמים אצלו:

לפיכך אם אבדו חייב באחריותן. כיון דשרו ליה רבנן לאשתמושי בהו, אע״ג דלא אשתמש בהו כמאן דאשתמש דמי, וחייב באחריותן. והלכה כר׳ טרפון בדמי אבדה שמכר. אבל מעות עצמן של אבדה, כגון שמצא מעות בכיס או שלשה מטבעות זו על גבי זו, לא ישתמש בהם כלל: