Bava Metzia 26aבבא מציעא כ״ו א
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26aכ״ו א

דשתיך טפי:

where the item is extremely rusted, indicating that it had been left there for a long time.

בכותל חדש מחציו ולחוץ שלו מחציו ולפנים של בעל הבית:

§ The mishna teaches: If one found lost items in a new wall from its midpoint and outward, they belong to him. But if he found the items from its midpoint and inward, they belong to the homeowner.

אמר רב אשי סכינא בתר קתא וכיסא בתר שנציה

Rav Ashi said: The determination of ownership with regard to a knife found in a wall follows the handle, and the determination of ownership with regard to a money pouch follows the laces at the opening of the pouch. If the handle or laces face inward, they belong to the homeowner. If the handle or laces face outward, they belong to the finder.

ואלא מתני' דקתני מחציו ולחוץ שלו מחציו ולפנים של בעל הבית ולחזי אי קתא לגאו אי קתא לבר אי שנציה לגאו אי שנציה לבר מתני' באודרא ונסכא

The Gemara asks: But if so, what is the applicability of the ruling of the mishna, which teaches: If one found lost items in a new wall from its midpoint and outward, they belong to him, and from its midpoint and inward, they belong to the homeowner? But instead, to determine ownership, let us see if its handle faces inward or if its handle faces outward, or if its straps face inward or if its straps face outward. The Gemara answers: The mishna is referring to a case where one found rags or metal strips.

תנא אם היה כותל ממולא מהן חולקין פשיטא לא צריכא דמשפע בחד גיסא מהו דתימא אשתפוכי אישתפוך קמ"ל:

It is taught: If the hollow in the wall was filled with lost items, e.g., coins, the homeowner and the finder divide them. The Gemara asks: Isn’t that obvious? The Gemara answers: No, it is necessary to teach this only in a case where the hollow in the wall is inclined toward one side of the wall. Lest you say that all the items were initially on the elevated side, and due to the incline they slipped and filled the entire space, the tanna teaches us that the homeowner and the finder divide them.

אם היה משכירו לאחרים אפילו (מצא) בתוך הבית הרי אלו שלו: ואמאי ליזיל בתר בתרא

§ The mishna teaches: If the homeowner would rent the house to others on a regular basis and there was a steady turnover of residents, even if one found lost items inside the house, these belong to him. The Gemara asks: And why do they belong to the finder? Let us follow the last renter and determine that he is the owner of the items.

מי לא תנן מעות שנמצאו לפני סוחרי בהמה לעולם מעשר בהר הבית חולין

Didn’t we learn in a mishna (Shekalim 7:2): With regard to money that was found before animal merchants in Jerusalem, it is always assumed to be money of the second tithe, as most of the animals purchased in Jerusalem were bought with second-tithe money. This halakha applies both during a Festival and throughout the year, as people would typically purchase animals for meat with their second-tithe money. If the money was found on the Temple Mount it is considered non-sacred money. This halakha applies even during a Festival, when people would come to Jerusalem with second-tithe money in hand, as it can be assumed that one who entered the Temple Mount had already spent that money and only non-sacred money is left in his possession.

ובירושלים בשאר ימות השנה חולין בשעת הרגל הכל מעשר

The mishna continues: And if the coins were found elsewhere in Jerusalem, the following distinction applies: If it was found during the rest of the days of the year, it is considered non-sacred money. But if the money was found during the Festival, when many people would come to Jerusalem with their second-tithe money, all money is presumed to be second-tithe money.

ואמר ר' שמעיה בר זעירא מאי טעמא הואיל ושוקי ירושלים עשוין להתכבד בכל יום אלמא אמרינן קמאי קמאי אזלו והני אחריני נינהו הכא נמי קמא קמא אזל והני דבתרא הוא

And Rav Shemaya bar Ze’eira says in explanation of the mishna: What is the reason that during the rest of the year the money is considered non-sacred, even on the day after the Festival? Since the markets of Jerusalem tend to be cleaned every day, any money left there would already have been found by the street cleaners. Consequently, any money found there must have been left there recently. Apparently, we say that each of the first coins is gone, and these coins are other ones, i.e., they were left there after the conclusion of the Festival. Here too, with regard to lost items found in a rented house, why not say that the items belonging to each of the first renters are gone and these items belong to the last renter?

אמר ריש לקיש משום בר קפרא כגון שעשאו פונדק לשלשה ישראל

Reish Lakish said in the name of bar Kappara: The mishna that states that the item belongs to the finder is referring to a case where the homeowner rendered his house an inn [pundak] for three Jews. Since it is unclear to which of them the item belonged, the owner despairs of its recovery.

שמע מינה הלכה כר"ש בן אלעזר אפי' ברוב ישראל

The Gemara previously (see 24a) raised a dilemma with regard to the halakha stated by Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar that a lost item found in a location frequented by the multitudes belongs to the finder. Is the halakha in accordance with his ruling? Moreover, is his ruling specifically with regard to a location with a gentile majority, or is it even applicable in a location with a Jewish majority? Based on the opinion of bar Kappara, the Gemara suggests: Conclude from it that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar even in a location with a Jewish majority.

אלא אמר רב מנשיא בר יעקב כגון שעשאו פונדק לשלשה עובדי כוכבים

The Gemara rejects this conclusion, and presents an alternative explanation of the latter clause of the mishna. Rather, Rav Menashya bar Ya’akov said: The mishna is referring to a case where he rendered his house an inn for three gentiles. According to that explanation, perhaps Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar issued his ruling specifically in a location with a gentile majority.

רב נחמן אמר רבה בר אבוה אפי' תימא לשלשה ישראל מאי טעמא ההוא דנפל מיניה מיאש מימר אמר מכדי איניש אחרינא לא הוה בהדי אלא הני אמרי קמייהו כמה זמני ליהדרו לי ולא הדרו לי והשתא ליהדרו אי דעתייהו לאהדורה אהדרוה ניהלי והאי דלא אהדרוה לי בדעתייהו למיגזלה

Rav Naḥman said that Rabba bar Avuh said: Even if you say that the owner rendered his house an inn for three Jews, one cannot conclude that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar issued his ruling even in an area with a Jewish majority. What is the reason that the item belongs to the finder? It is because the person from whom the item fell despairs of its recovery. The one who lost the item says: Now, no other person was with me here, only these residents of the inn. I said in their presence several times to return the item to me, and they did not return it to me; and is it likely that now they are going to return it? If their intention was to return the item, they would have already returned it to me, and the fact that they did not yet return it to me indicates that it is their intention to rob me of the item.

ואזדא רב נחמן לטעמיה דאמר רב נחמן ראה סלע

And Rav Naḥman follows his standard line of reasoning, as Rav Naḥman says: If one saw a sela coin