לפני יאוש it is referring to a case where it is before the owners have despaired of retrieving their property. Consequently, the heirs have not acquired the stolen property, and it must be returned.
רב אדא בר אהבה מתני להא דרמי בר חמא אהא הניח להן אביהן מעות של רבית אע"פ שיודעין שהן של רבית אין חייבין להחזיר אמר רמי בר חמא זאת אומרת רשות יורש כרשות לוקח דמי Rav Adda bar Ahava teaches that statement of Rami bar Ḥama cited above with regard to this baraita: If their father left them money that he obtained by taking interest, which is prohibited, even if they are aware that the money is from interest, they are not obligated to return the money to the debtor who paid it. Rami bar Ḥama said: That is to say that the domain of an heir is comparable to the domain of a purchaser, and because the money has changed domains, the heirs have acquired it.
רבא אמר לעולם אימא לך רשות יורש לאו כרשות לוקח דמי ושאני הכא דאמר קרא (ויקרא כה, לו) אל תקח מאתו נשך ותרבית אהדר ליה כי היכי דנחי בהדך לדידיה קא מזהר ליה רחמנא לבריה לא מזהר ליה רחמנא Rava said: Actually, I will say to you that the domain of an heir is not comparable to the domain of a purchaser. And the reason they do not have to return the money is because it is different here, as the verse states: “Take no interest of him or increase, but fear your God, that your brother may live with you” (Leviticus 25:36), which teaches that you must return the interest to him so that he may live with you. Since the interest is returned for this reason and not because it is considered stolen goods, it is apparent that the Merciful One is cautioning him, the lender, to return it, but the Merciful One is not cautioning his son to return it.
מאן דמתני לה אברייתא כ"ש אמתניתין מאן דמתני לה אמתניתין אבל אברייתא רמי בר חמא כרבא מתני לה The Gemara points out: The one who teaches Rami bar Ḥama’s statement with regard to the baraita, i.e., Rav Adda bar Ahava, all the more so would apply it to the mishna, since there is no other explanation for why the heirs are exempt from payment. Conversely, according to the one who teaches Rami bar Ḥama’s statement with regard to the mishna, it is limited to that case. But with regard to the baraita, he holds that Rami bar Ḥama teaches it as explained by Rava, that the heirs are not exempt from payment because the domain of an heir is comparable to the domain of a purchaser, but rather because heirs are never required to return interest.
ת"ר הגוזל ומאכיל את בניו פטורין מלשלם הניח לפניהם גדולים חייבין לשלם קטנים פטורין מלשלם ואם אמרו גדולים אין אנו יודעין חשבונות שחשב אבינו עמך פטורין § The Sages taught in a baraita (Tosefta 10:21): With regard to one who robs another of food and feeds it to his children, the children are exempt from paying the owner. In a case where he left the stolen items to them as an inheritance, if the heirs are adults they are obligated to pay, and if they are minors they are exempt from paying. If the adult heirs said: We do not know what calculations our father made with you and whether he paid you for the stolen goods, they are exempt.
משום דאמרי אין אנו יודעין פטורים אמר רבא הכי קאמר גדולים שאמרו יודעים אנו חשבונות שחשב אבינו עמך ולא פש לך גביה ולא מידי פטורין The Gemara expresses surprise: Because they say: We do not know, they are exempt? Since it is clear that they are in possession of stolen property, how can they be exempt due to the uncertain claim that perhaps their father repaid the owner after the theft? Rava said that the heirs are certain about their claim and that the baraita should be formulated differently, and this is what the baraita is saying: In the case of adult heirs who said to the claimant: We know the calculations our father made with you and there is nothing of yours left with him, as he paid his debt to you, they are exempt.
תניא אידך הגוזל ומאכיל בניו פטורין מלשלם הניח לפניהם ואכלום בין גדולים בין קטנים חייבין קטנים מי מיחייבי לא יהא אלא דאזיק אזוקי א"ר פפא הכי קאמר הניח לפניהם ועדיין לא אכלום בין גדולים בין קטנים חייבין It is taught in another baraita: With regard to one who robs another of food and feeds it to his children, the children are exempt from paying. If he left stolen items to them as an inheritance and they consumed them, whether they are adults or minors, they are obligated to pay the owner. The Gemara asks: Are minors obligated to pay? Let it be only like a case where one caused damage, and a minor who causes damage is exempt. Rav Pappa said that the baraita should be formulated differently, and this is what the baraita is saying: If he left the stolen items to them as an inheritance and they did not yet consume them, whether they are adults or minors, they are obligated to return the stolen items, since the items are still extant.
אמר רבא הניח להם אביהם פרה שאולה משתמשין בה כל ימי שאלתה מתה אין חייבין באונסיה כסבורים של אביהם היא וטבחוה ואכלוה משלמין דמי בשר בזול הניח להם אביהם אחריות נכסים חייבין לשלם Rava says: In the case of children whose father died and left them a cow that he had borrowed, they may use it for the entire duration of its loan. Nevertheless, if it died, they are not liable to pay if its death was caused by an unavoidable accident, despite the fact that a borrower is liable for damage caused by an unavoidable accident. This is because liability for accidental damage pertains only to the actual borrower, i.e., the deceased father. If the children thought that it actually belonged to their father and they slaughtered it and ate it, they are liable to pay the owner the value of inexpensive meat. Rava adds: If their father left them guaranteed property, i.e., land, they are liable to pay.
איכא דמתני לה ארישא ואיכא דמתני לה אסיפא The Gemara comments: Some teach this final statement of Rava with regard to the first clause, which states that the heirs are exempt from payment for accidental damage. According to this interpretation, if the father left them land, they are obligated to pay for the cow if it dies due to unavoidable accident. And some teach it with regard to the latter clause, which states that heirs who slaughter and consume a cow must pay the owner the value of inexpensive meat. According to this interpretation, if the father left them land, they must pay for the full value of the cow.
מאן דמתני לה ארישא כל שכן אסיפא ופליגא דרב פפא מאן דמתני לה אסיפא אבל ארישא לא והיינו דרב פפא The one who teaches it with regard to the first clause holds it to be true all the more so with regard to the latter clause, where the heirs actually consumed the meat themselves. And, accordingly, this understanding differs with the forthcoming opinion of Rav Pappa. By contrast, the one who teaches it with regard to the latter clause holds it to be true in that clause exclusively, but with regard to the first clause, it is not true. And this is consistent with the forthcoming opinion of Rav Pappa.
דא"ר פפא היתה פרה גנובה לו וטבחה בשבת חייב שכבר חייב בגניבה קודם שיבא לידי איסור שבת היתה פרה שאולה לו וטבחה בשבת פטור שאיסור שבת ואיסור גניבה באין כאחד As Rav Pappa says: If he had a stolen cow in his possession, and he slaughtered it on Shabbat, he is liable to pay because he was already rendered liable for the theft before he came to transgress the Shabbat prohibition of slaughtering an animal on Shabbat. But if he had a borrowed cow in his possession and he slaughtered it on Shabbat, he is exempt from payment, as the transgression of the Shabbat prohibition of slaughtering an animal on Shabbat and the prohibition against theft occur as one, as the act of slaughter is tantamount to the theft of the animal. This indicates that according to Rav Pappa, a borrower’s liability to pay for accidental damage is initiated only when the damage is inflicted. Accordingly, in the case discussed by Rava, since the damage was not inflicted during the father’s lifetime, the deceased’s property was never liened to the cow’s owner, and consequently the heirs are not obligated to pay for any accidental damage.
ת"ר (ויקרא ה, כג) והשיב את הגזילה אשר גזל מה ת"ל אשר גזל יחזיר כעין שגזל After having cited two baraitot that express different opinions with regard to the obligation of heirs to pay for property stolen by their deceased father, the Gemara cites a third baraita that presents both opinions. The Sages taught with regard to the verse: “Then it shall be, if he has sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore the item that he robbed” (Leviticus 5:23); what is the meaning when the verse states “that he robbed”? It means that the robber must return the same item that he robbed.
מכאן אמרו הגוזל ומאכיל את בניו פטורין מלשלם הניח לפניהם בין גדולים בין קטנים חייבין משום סומכוס אמרו גדולים חייבין קטנים פטורין From here, based on this exposition, the Sages stated: In a case of one who robs another of food and feeds it to his children, the children are exempt from paying the owner. If he left stolen goods to them as an inheritance, whether they are adults or minors, they are obligated to return the stolen goods. They said in the name of Sumakhos: If the heirs are adults they are obligated, but if they are minors they are exempt.
בר חמוה דרבי ירמיה טרק גלי באפיה דרבי ירמיה אתא לקמיה דרבי אבין The Gemara recounts a related incident: The son of Rabbi Yirmeya’s father-in-law, i.e., his wife’s brother, who was a minor, shut the doors of his father’s house before Rabbi Yirmeya in order to prevent Rabbi Yirmeya from establishing legal possession of the house or a chamber that he claimed belonged to him. Rabbi Yirmeya came before Rabbi Avin to file a legal claim against his brother-in-law.
אמר שלו הוא תובע א"ל והא מייתינא סהדי דאחזקי ביה בחיי דאבוה א"ל וכי מקבלין עדים Rabbi Avin said to Rabbi Yirmeya: Your brother-in-law is claiming ownership of that which is his, since he retains the presumptive ownership of his father’s house upon his father’s death. Rabbi Yirmeya said to him: But I can bring witnesses who can testify that I took possession of it during his father’s lifetime. Rabbi Avin said to him: But does the court accept witnesses