אומר לו הרי שלך לפניך והאי כיון דמטא עידן איסורא ודאי מייאש ואי ס"ד יאוש קנה אמאי אומר לו הרי שלך לפניך דמי מעליא בעי שלומי ליה
the robber may nonetheless return the worthless bread to the owner and say to him: That which is yours is before you, and no compensation is required. Rav Yosef states his objection: But in this case, once the time of the prohibition of leavened bread arrives, the owner certainly despairs of recovering his now-worthless bread. And if it enters your mind to say that the owner’s despair causes the robber to acquire the stolen item, why can he say to him: That which is yours is before you? He should be required to pay the owner full-fledged money rather than return the worthless food, as the bread now belongs to the robber.
א"ל כי קאמינא אנא זה מתייאש וזה רוצה לקנות האי זה מתייאש וזה אינו רוצה לקנות
Rava said to him in response: When I say that the thief acquires the stolen item upon the owner’s despair of recovery it is when this owner despairs, and that thief wants to acquire the item. In this case, this one despairs but that one does not wish to acquire the worthless bread.
איתיבי' אביי לרבה (ויקרא א, ג) קרבנו ולא הגזול היכי דמי אילימא לפני יאוש למה לי קרא פשיטא
Abaye raised an objection to Rabba from a baraita. The verse: “If his offering is a burnt-offering of the herd” (Leviticus 1:3), indicates that one’s offering must be “his offering,” but not an animal stolen from another. What are the circumstances of the case referred to by the baraita? If we say it is dealing with a stolen animal that the robber consecrates and sacrificed before the owner’s despair of recovery, why do I need a verse to teach this? It is obvious that this is disqualified, as one cannot even consecrate an animal that does not belong to him.
אלא לאו לאחר יאוש ש"מ יאוש לא קני
Rather, is it not referring to one who seeks to consecrate and sacrifice a stolen animal after the owner’s despair? And yet the baraita teaches that the animal cannot be consecrated by the thief. Conclude from the baraita that the owner’s despair of recovering a stolen item does not cause the thief to acquire it, as if it belonged to him he would be able to consecrate and sacrifice it.
אמר ליה רבא וליטעמיך הא דתניא (ויקרא טו, ה) משכבו ולא הגזול
Rava said to Abaye in refutation of this proof: And according to your reasoning, consider that which is taught in a baraita: It is written with regard to a zav, a man who experiences a gonorrhea-like discharge: “And whoever touches his bedding shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be impure until the evening” (Leviticus 15:5). This indicates that bedding on which a zav lies can become ritually impure and impart impurity only if it is “his bedding,” but not if it is stolen bedding.
ה"ד אילימא דגזל עמרא ועבדיה משכב מי איכא למ"ד שינוי מעשה לא קני אלא מאי אית לך למימר דגזל משכב דחבריה ה"נ דגזל קרבן דחבריה:
What are the circumstances of the case discussed in the baraita? If we say that he robbed another of wool and made it into bedding, is there anyone who says that a physical change that results from an action performed to a stolen item does not cause the thief to acquire it? Rather, what have you to say? The baraita must be speaking of a case in which the zav robbed another of bedding. So too, the previous baraita is dealing with one who robbed another of an offering, already consecrated. The reason this animal does not atone for the thief is that a consecrated animal cannot be stolen and become the thief’s property, as it belongs to the Temple treasury wherever it is located.
איתיביה אביי לרב יוסף עורות של בעל הבית מחשבה מטמאתן
Abaye raised an objection to Rav Yosef from a mishna (Kelim 26:8): With regard to hides belonging to a homeowner, one’s thought renders them susceptible to contracting ritual impurity. Hides and leather are susceptible to contracting impurity only if they are in a finished state. If a private individual uses a piece of hide or leather for a certain purpose, e.g., as a cot or a table top, and decides that this will be its fixed purpose, it is considered a finished product and is susceptible to contracting impurity.
ושל עבדן אין מחשבה מטמאתן
But with regard to hides belonging to a leatherworker, thought does not render them susceptible to ritual impurity. Since this individual sells leather to others, when he uses a piece of leather for a household purpose and decides that this will be its fixed purpose, this is not considered a finished state, as he is likely to change his mind and sell the leather to one who will process it further and put it to a different use.
של גנב מחשבה מטמאתן של גזלן אין מחשבה מטמאתן
The mishna continues: If the hides are those of a thief, who has stolen them from another, the thief’s thought renders them susceptible to ritual impurity. If they are those of a robber his thought does not render them susceptible to ritual impurity, because he is not considered the owner of the hide. The difference is that unlike the case of a thief, who steals items stealthily, the identity of a robber, who takes the item openly, is known to the owner, and the owner harbors hope of finding the robber and getting the item back. Consequently, he does not despair of recovering his property.
רבי שמעון אומר חילוף הדברים של גזלן מחשבה מטמאתן ושל גנב אין מחשבה מטמאתן לפי שלא נתייאשו הבעלים
Rabbi Shimon says that the matters are reversed: In the case of a robber, the robber’s thought renders them susceptible to ritual impurity. If the hides are those of a thief, thought does not render them susceptible to ritual impurity, because the owners have not despaired of recovering them and the thief has not acquired the hide. Rabbi Shimon’s reasoning is that a robber, who seizes items brazenly, is a more difficult criminal to apprehend and bring to justice than a thief.
וש"מ יאוש קנה א"ל הכא במאי עסקינן כגון שקיצען
And although the two tanna’im of the mishna disagree as to which situation involves an owner’s despair of recovery, whether robbery or theft, in any event one can conclude from this mishna that the despair of the owner causes the thief or robber to acquire the item, as otherwise the perpetrator’s thoughts about the hide would have no effect on its status with regard to ritual impurity. Rav Yosef said to Abaye in response: With what are we dealing here in this mishna? It is a case where the thief or robber trimmed the leather by cutting it. Although trimming a piece of leather is not a sufficient change to constitute an act of acquisition by itself, it is effective in conjunction with the owner’s despair.
מתקיף לה רבה בר רב חנן והלא עיצבא שנו כאן ועיצבא אין צריכה קיצוע
Rabba bar Rav Ḥanan objects to this answer: But is it not the case that they taught this mishna here with regard to a leather table top [itzba]? And a leather table top does not require trimming, either due to the fact that its edges are not seen or because it is merely ornamental. Since it does not require trimming, this action should not be considered an act of acquisition at all.
דתנן כל מקום שאין חסרון מלאכה מחשבה מטמאתו יש חסרון מלאכה אין מחשבה מטמאתו חוץ מן העיצבא
As we learned in the previous mishna (Kelim 26:7): Wherever there is no work lacking for an item to be considered finished, one’s thought renders it susceptible to ritual impurity; when there is still some work lacking for the item to be considered finished, thought does not render it susceptible to ritual impurity, except for the case of a leather table top. Although further work is required to smooth out the edges, one’s thought can render it susceptible to impurity because people do not care if this leather table top has uneven edges. It is with regard to this case of a table top that the mishna distinguishes between a homeowner and a leatherworker. Therefore, Rav Yosef’s explanation is rejected.
אלא אמר רבא האי מילתא קשי בה רבה לרב יוסף עשרין ותרתין שנין ולא איפרקה עד דיתיב רב יוסף ברישא ופרקה שינוי השם כשינוי מעשה דמי
The Gemara suggests a different answer. Rather, Rava said that this matter was a difficulty posed by Rabba to Rav Yosef for twenty-two years, and it was not resolved until Rav Yosef sat as the head of the yeshiva and resolved it in the following manner: A change in name of an item, representing a change in status, is similar to a physical change brought about by an action.
שינוי מעשה מאי טעמא התם מעיקרא עצים השתא כלים שינוי השם נמי מעיקרא קרו ליה משכא והשתא אברזין
What is the reason that a physical change through an action causes the thief to acquire the item? It is because there the stolen items were initially just wood, and now they are vessels. The same can be said for a change in name as well: Initially they called it a hide, and now they call it a table top [abrazin].
והרי מריש דאיכא שינוי השם דמעיקרא כשורא והשתא טללא ותנן על המריש הגזול שבנאו בבירה שנוטל דמיו מפני תקנת השבים
The Gemara asks a question with regard to changes in name: But what about the case of a beam, where there is a change in name, as initially, when it was stolen, it was called a beam, and now, after it has been placed in a building, it is called a joist [telala], and yet we learned in a mishna (Gittin 55a): With regard to a stolen beam that a robber had built into a large building, the court ruled that the owner should receive its value in money rather than demand that the robber demolish the house to return the beam itself, because of an ordinance instituted for the penitent, i.e., to encourage robbers to admit their crime and reimburse the owner of the stolen item.
טעמא מפני תקנת השבים
This mishna indicates that the only reason the robber does not have to return the beam itself is because of this ordinance instituted for the penitent.