אמרו הלכה כרבי שמעון בן אלעזר וליה לא סבירא ליה
Some said that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar, but Shmuel himself does not hold accordingly.
א"ר חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן דבר תורה גזילה הנשתנית חוזרת בעיניה שנאמר (ויקרא ה, כג) והשיב את הגזלה אשר גזל מכל מקום ואם תאמר משנתנו משום תקנת השבים
The Gemara continues the discussion of acquisition of a stolen item due to a change it underwent. Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: By Torah law, a stolen item that has changed is returned as is, as it is stated: “And he shall restore that which he took by robbery” (Leviticus 5:23). This indicates that he shall return it in any case, even if it has been changed. And if you say: In our mishna it is stated that if the stolen item is changed the robber gives monetary compensation rather than returning the item, that policy was instituted by the Sages due to the ordinance instituted for the penitent.
ומי אמר ר' יוחנן הכי והאמר רבי יוחנן הלכה כסתם משנה ותנן לא הספיק ליתנו לו עד שצבעו פטור
The Gemara asks: But did Rabbi Yoḥanan actually say that? But doesn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan say: The halakha is in accordance with an unattributed mishna, and we learned in a mishna with regard to first of the sheared wool (Ḥullin 135a): If the owner of the sheep did not manage to give the sheared wool to the priest before he dyed it, he is exempt from giving it to the priest. This indicates that dyeing the wool is a significant change.
אמר להו ההוא מדרבנן ורבי יעקב שמיה לדידי מפרשא לי מיניה דרבי יוחנן כגון שגזל עצים משופין ועשאן כלים דהוה ליה שינוי החוזר לברייתו:
One of the Rabbis, whose name was Rabbi Ya’akov, said to them: It was explained to me directly by Rabbi Yoḥanan that he was referring to a case where he robbed another of sanded wood and fashioned it into vessels, which is a change in which the item can revert to its original state. Consequently, the robber does not acquire the item by Torah law, but rather due to the ordinance instituted for the penitent.
תנו רבנן הגזלנין ומלוי ברבית שהחזירו אין מקבלין מהן והמקבל מהן אין רוח חכמים נוחה הימנו
§ Having mentioned the ordinance instituted for the penitent, the Gemara discusses other details of this ordinance. The Sages taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Shevi’it 8:11): With regard to robbers or usurers that returned either the stolen item or the interest to the one from whom they took it, one should not accept it from them. And with regard to one who does accept it from them, the Sages are displeased with him, since by doing so he discourages those who wish to repent.
אמר רבי יוחנן בימי רבי נשנית משנה זו דתניא מעשה באדם אחד שבקש לעשות תשובה א"ל אשתו ריקה אם אתה עושה תשובה אפילו אבנט אינו שלך ונמנע ולא עשה תשובה באותה שעה אמרו הגזלנין ומלוי רביות שהחזירו אין מקבלין מהם והמקבל מהם אין רוח חכמים נוחה הימנו
Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This mishna, i.e., the statement of the Tosefta, was taught in the days of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, as it is taught in a baraita: There was an incident with regard to one man who desired to repent after having been a thief for many years. His wife said to him: Empty one [reika], if you repent you will have to return all the stolen items to their rightful owners, and even the belt that you are wearing is not yours, and he refrained and did not repent. At that time, the Sages said: With regard to robbers or usurers that returned either the stolen item or the interest to the one from whom they took it, one should not accept it from them. And concerning one who does accept it from them, the Sages are displeased with him.
מיתיבי הניח להם אביהם מעות של רבית אע"פ שהן יודעין שהן רבית אין חייבין להחזיר אינהו הוא דלא הא אביהם חייב להחזיר
The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: With regard to children whose deceased father left them money paid as interest, although they know that it is interest, they are not obligated to return it. The Gemara infers: They, the children, are the ones that are not obligated to return it, but their father would have been obligated to return it, and his victims may accept his money.
בדין הוא דאביהם נמי אינו חייב להחזיר והא דקתני בדידהו משום דקא בעי למתני סיפא הניח להם אביהם פרה וטלית וכל דבר המסויים חייבין להחזיר מפני כבוד אביהם תנא רישא נמי בדידהו
The Gemara responds: By right, the baraita should have taught that their father also would not have been obligated to return it. And the fact that the baraita teaches this halakha with regard to the children is because of the fact that the baraita wants to teach a halakha in the latter clause: If their deceased father left them a cow, or a garment, or any other specific item he had stolen or taken as interest, they are obligated to return it due to the honor of their father, so that the item not serve as a reminder to all that their father transgressed. Since this halakha needs to be stated specifically with regard to the children, the first clause of the baraita is also taught with regard to them.
ומפני כבוד אביהם חייבין להחזיר אקרי כאן (שמות כב, כז) ונשיא בעמך לא תאור בעושה מעשה עמך
The Gemara asks: But is it true that due to the honor of their father they are obligated to return the item or money? I will read here the verse: “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people” (Exodus 22:27), from which the Sages inferred that the prohibition against cursing a ruler is in effect only with regard to a ruler that acts as a member of your people, i.e., in accordance with Torah law. One who curses a wicked ruler does not violate this prohibition. Similarly, if one’s father is wicked, the mitzva to honor him should not apply. Why would his children have to return items that he stole due to his honor?
כדאמר רב פנחס בשעשה תשובה הכא נמי בשעשה תשובה אי עשה תשובה מאי בעי גביה איבעי ליה לאהדורי שלא הספיק להחזיר עד שמת
The Gemara responds: It is like that which Rav Pineḥas said concerning a different case: This is a case where he repented. Here too, it is a case where the father repented, and since he is no longer wicked, his children are obligated to honor him. The Gemara asks: If he repented, what was the stolen item or interest doing with him? He should have returned it while he was still alive. The Gemara responds: It is a case where he did not manage to return it before he died. Consequently, the children must return the items in order to uphold their father’s honor.
תא שמע הגזלנים ומלוי ברבית אע"פ שגבו מחזירין
The Gemara raises another contradiction: Come and hear the statement of another baraita: With regard to robbers and usurers, although they collected the stolen item or interest, they return it.
גזלנין מאי שגבו איכא אי גזול גזול ואי לא גזול לא גזול אלא אימא הגזלנין ומאי ניהו מלוי רביות אע"פ שגבו מחזירין אמרי מחזירין ואין מקבלין מהם
The Gemara first clarifies the meaning of the baraita: In the case of robbers, what collection is there, i.e., why did the baraita use the term: Collected, in this context? If they robbed, they robbed and did not collect anything; and if they did not rob, they did not rob and cannot be called robbers at all. Rather, emend the text of the baraita to say: With regard to robbers, and who are they, i.e., what is meant by the term: Robbers? It is referring to usurers. The Gemara resumes its citation of the baraita: Although they collected the interest, they must return it. This is contrary to the ruling of the Tosefta that if robbers and usurers return what they have taken, it is not accepted. The Gemara explains: Say that this baraita means that they return it, but one does not accept it from them.
אלא למה מחזירין לצאת ידי שמים
The Gemara asks: But why do they return it if it will not be accepted? The Gemara responds: In order to fulfill their obligation to Heaven. In order to fully repent, they must at least offer to return to the debtors the interest they took unlawfully.
ת"ש הרועים והגבאין והמוכסין תשובתן קשה ומחזירין למכירין
The Gemara raises a contradiction from another source. Come and hear the statement of another baraita: With regard to shepherds who allow their animals to graze in other people’s fields, thereby stealing from the owners; or tax collectors who are hired to collect taxes on behalf of the government and collect excessive sums; or tax collectors who purchase the right to collect taxes themselves and collect unlawfully, their repentance is difficult, since they steal from the public. It is difficult for them to find every one of their victims in order to pay them restitution, and they must return what they have stolen to whomever they recognize as victims of their theft. This baraita indicates that thieves do return what they have stolen.
אמרי מחזירין ואין מקבלין מהם ואלא למה מחזירין לצאת ידי שמים אי הכי אמאי תשובתן קשה
The Gemara answers: Say that they return it, but one does not accept it from them. The Gemara asks: But why do they return it if it will not be accepted? The Gemara responds: In order to fulfill their obligation to Heaven. The Gemara asks: If so, if they are not actually obligated to return what they have stolen, why is their repentance difficult?
ועוד אימא סיפא ושאין מכירין יעשה בהן צרכי ציבור ואמר רב חסדא בורות שיחין ומערות אלא לא קשיא כאן קודם תקנה כאן לאחר תקנה
And furthermore, say the latter clause of the baraita: And as for the money belonging to those that they do not recognize as their victims, they should use that money for community needs. And Rav Ḥisda says: This means providing pits, ditches, and caves, which benefit the general public. This indicates that a thief actually does pay back what he has stolen. Rather, this contradiction must be resolved differently. It is not difficult: Here, where the baraita states that he must actually return what he has stolen, it is referring to a time before the ordinance for the penitent was instituted. There, where the baraita states that one does not accept the repayment from a robber, it is referring to a time after the ordinance was instituted.
והשתא דאמר רב נחמן בשאין גזילה קיימת אפילו תימא אידי ואידי לאחר תקנה ולא קשיא
The Gemara adds: And now that Rav Naḥman says that when the Sages say that he does not return what he has stolen, they refer only to a case where the stolen item does not exist in its initial form, and you can even say that this and that, both baraitot, are referring to a time after the ordinance was instituted, and it is not difficult.