אֵלּוּ מְצִיאוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ, וְאֵלּוּ חַיָּב לְהַכְרִיז. אֵלּוּ מְצִיאוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ, מָצָא פֵרוֹת מְפֻזָּרִין, מָעוֹת מְפֻזָּרוֹת, כְּרִיכוֹת בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, וְעִגּוּלֵי דְבֵלָה, כִּכָּרוֹת שֶׁל נַחְתּוֹם, מַחֲרוֹזוֹת שֶׁל דָּגִים, וַחֲתִיכוֹת שֶׁל בָּשָׂר, וְגִזֵּי צֶמֶר הַבָּאוֹת מִמְּדִינָתָן, וַאֲנִיצֵי פִשְׁתָּן, וּלְשׁוֹנוֹת שֶׁל אַרְגָּמָן, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, כָּל שֶׁיֶּשׁ בּוֹ שִׁנּוּי, חַיָּב לְהַכְרִיז. כֵּיצַד. מָצָא עִגּוּל וּבְתוֹכוֹ חֶרֶס, כִּכָּר וּבְתוֹכוֹ מָעוֹת. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר, כָּל כְּלֵי אֶנְפּוֹרְיָא אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְהַכְרִיז:
In a case where one discovers lost items, which found items belong to him, and for which items is one obligated to proclaim his find so that the owner of the lost items can come and reclaim them? These found items belong to him: If one found scattered produce, scattered coins, bundles of grain in a public area, round cakes of pressed figs, baker’s loaves, strings of fish, cuts of meat, unprocessed wool fleeces that are taken from their state of origin directly after shearing, bound flax stalks, or bound strips of combed purple wool, these belong to him, as they have no distinguishing marks that would enable their owners to claim them. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehuda says: If one finds any lost item in which there is an alteration, he is obligated to proclaim his find. How so? If he found a round cake of pressed figs with an earthenware shard inside it or a loaf of bread with coins inside it, he is obligated to proclaim his find, as perhaps the owner of the item inserted them as a distinguishing mark by means of which he could reclaim his property in case it became lost. Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: If one finds any anpurya vessels, since their shape is uniform and they are indistinguishable, he is not obligated to proclaim his find.
וְאֵלוּ חַיָּב לְהַכְרִיז, מָצָא פֵרוֹת בִּכְלִי אוֹ כְלִי כְּמוֹת שֶׁהוּא, מָעוֹת בְּכִיס אוֹ כִיס כְּמוֹת שֶׁהוּא, צִבּוּרֵי פֵרוֹת, צִבּוּרֵי מָעוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה מַטְבְּעוֹת זֶה עַל גַּב זֶה, כְּרִיכוֹת בִּרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד, וְכִכָּרוֹת שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת, וְגִזֵּי צֶמֶר הַלְּקוּחוֹת מִבֵּית הָאֻמָּן, כַּדֵּי יַיִן וְכַדֵּי שֶׁמֶן, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חַיָּב לְהַכְרִיז:
And for these found items, one is obligated to proclaim his find: If one found produce inside a vessel, or a vessel by itself; coins inside a pouch, or a pouch by itself; piles of produce; piles of coins, three coins stacked one atop another; bundles of grain in a secluded area; loaves of a homeowner, as each shapes his loaves in his own unique manner; wool fleeces that are taken from the house of a craftsman, as each craftsman processes the wool in his own unique manner; jugs of wine; or jugs of oil. If one finds any of these, he is obligated to proclaim his find.
מָצָא אַחַר הַגַּפָּה אוֹ אַחַר הַגָּדֵר גּוֹזָלוֹת מְקֻשָּׁרִין, אוֹ בִשְׁבִילִין שֶׁבַּשָּׂדוֹת, הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִגַּע בָּהֶן. מָצָא כְלִי בָּאַשְׁפָּה, אִם מְכֻסֶּה, לֹא יִגַּע בּוֹ, אִם מְגֻלֶּה, נוֹטֵל וּמַכְרִיז. מָצָא בְגַל אוֹ בְכֹתֶל יָשָׁן, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ. מָצָא בְכֹתֶל חָדָשׁ, מֵחֶצְיוֹ וְלַחוּץ, שֶׁלּוֹ, מֵחֶצְיוֹ וְלִפְנִים, שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבָּיִת. אִם הָיָה מַשְׂכִּירוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים, אֲפִלּוּ בְתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ:
If one found, behind a wooden fence or behind a stone fence, bound fledglings, or if he found them in the paths that run through fields, he may not touch them, as they were certainly placed there intentionally. In a case where one found a vessel in a garbage dump, if it is concealed, he may not touch it, as a person certainly concealed it there. If it is exposed, the finder takes the item and proclaims his find. If one found lost items in a heap of stone rubble or in an old wall, these belong to him. If one found lost items in a new wall from its midpoint and outward, they belong to him. If he found the items from its midpoint and inward, they belong to the homeowner. 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. Since the owner of the lost items cannot be identified based on location, he will certainly despair of recovering his lost items.
מָצָא בַחֲנוּת, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ. בֵּין הַתֵּבָה וְלַחֶנְוָנִי, שֶׁל חֶנְוָנִי. לִפְנֵי שֻׁלְחָנִי, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ. בֵּין הַכִּסֵּא וְלַשֻּׁלְחָנִי, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לַשֻּׁלְחָנִי. הַלּוֹקֵחַ פֵּרוֹת מֵחֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ שֶׁשָּׁלַח לוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ פֵּרוֹת, וּמָצָא בָהֶן מָעוֹת, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ. אִם הָיוּ צְרוּרִין, נוֹטֵל וּמַכְרִיז:
If one found items without a distinguishing mark in a store, those items belong to him, as, since the store is frequented by the multitudes, the owner despairs of its recovery. If the items were found between the storekeeper’s counter and the storekeeper, the items belong to the storekeeper; since his customers do not typically have access to that area, presumably the items are his. If one found coins before a money changer, those coins belong to him. If the coins were found between the money changer’s chair and the money changer, those coins belong to the money changer, because his clients do not typically have access to that area. In the case of one who purchases produce from another or in a case where another sent him produce as a gift, and he found coins intermingled with the produce, those coins belong to him. If the coins were bundled, this serves as a distinguishing mark and the finder takes the coins and proclaims his find.
אַף הַשִּׂמְלָה הָיְתָה בִכְלָל כָּל אֵלֶּה. לָמָּה יָצָאת. לְהָקִּישׁ אֵלֶיהָ, לוֹמַר לְךָ, מַה שִּׂמְלָה מְיֻחֶדֶת שֶׁיֶּשׁ בָּהּ סִימָנִים וְיֶשׁ לָהּ תּוֹבְעִים, אַף כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁיֶּשׁ בּוֹ סִימָנִים וְיֶשׁ לוֹ תוֹבְעִים, חַיָּב לְהַכְרִיז:
This mishna is an excerpt from a halakhic midrash concerning lost items, based on the verse: “You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep wandering, and disregard them; you shall return them to your brother…And so shall you do with his donkey; and so shall you do with his garment; and so shall you do with every lost item of your brother, which shall be lost from him, and you have found it; you may not disregard it” (Deuteronomy 22:1, 3). The garment was also included in the generalization that one must return all of these items. And why did it emerge from the generalization that is should be specified? To draw an analogy to it and to say to you: What is notable about a garment? It is notable in that there are distinguishing marks concerning it and it has claimants asserting ownership, and its finder is obligated to proclaim his find. So too with regard to any item concerning which there are distinguishing marks and it has claimants asserting ownership, its finder is obligated to proclaim his find.
וְעַד מָתַי חַיָּב לְהַכְרִיז. עַד כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ בוֹ שְׁכֵנָיו, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, שָׁלשׁ רְגָלִים, וְאַחַר הָרֶגֶל הָאַחֲרוֹן שִׁבְעָה יָמִים, כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּלֵךְ לְבֵיתוֹ שְׁלשָׁה וְיַחֲזֹר שְׁלשָׁה וְיַכְרִיז יוֹם אֶחָד:
And until when is one who finds a lost item obligated to proclaim his find? He is obligated to do so until the moment that the neighbors will know of its existence; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehuda says: He is obligated to proclaim his find for three pilgrimage Festivals and for seven days after the last of the three pilgrimage Festivals, so that its owner will have time to go to his home, a trip lasting up to three days, and ascertain that he in fact lost the item, and he will return to Jerusalem, a trip lasting up to three days, and proclaim his loss for one day.
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:
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.
מָצָא סְפָרִים, קוֹרֵא בָהֶן אַחַת לִשְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִקְרוֹת, גּוֹלְלָן. אֲבָל לֹא יִלְמֹד בָּהֶן בַּתְּחִלָּה, וְלֹא יִקְרָא אַחֵר עִמּוֹ. מָצָא כְסוּת, מְנַעֲרָהּ אַחַת לִשְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וְשׁוֹטְחָהּ לְצָרְכָּהּ, אֲבָל לֹא לִכְבוֹדוֹ. כְּלֵי כֶסֶף וּכְלֵי נְחֹשֶׁת, מִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהֶן לְצָרְכָּן, אֲבָל לֹא לְשָׁחֳקָן. כְּלֵי זָהָב וּכְלֵי זְכוּכִית, לֹא יִגַּע בָּהֶן עַד שֶׁיָּבֹא אֵלִיָּהוּ. מָצָא שַׂק אוֹ קֻפָּה, וְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכּוֹ לִטֹּל, הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִטֹּל:
If one found scrolls, he reads them once in thirty days in order to ventilate them and prevent mold. And if he does not know how to read, he rolls and unrolls them in order to ventilate them. But he shall not study passages in them for the first time, as he would leave the scroll exposed to the air for a lengthy period, thereby causing damage. And another person shall not read the scroll with him, as each might pull it closer to improve his vantage point, which could cause the scroll to tear. If one found a garment, he shakes it once in thirty days, and he spreads it out for its sake, to ventilate it, but he may not use it as a decoration for his own prestige. If one found silver vessels or copper vessels, he may use them for their own sake to prevent tarnish and rust, but he may not use them to the extent that he will erode them. If he finds gold vessels or glass vessels, which are not ruined by neglect, he may not touch them until Elijah will come and identify the owner. If a person found a sack or a basket or any other item that it is not his typical manner to take and carry because it is beneath his dignity, he shall not take it, as one need not demean himself in order to return a lost item.
אֵיזוֹ הִיא אֲבֵדָה, מָצָא חֲמוֹר אוֹ פָרָה רוֹעִין בַּדֶּרֶךְ, אֵין זוֹ אֲבֵדָה. חֲמוֹר וְכֵלָיו הֲפוּכִין, פָּרָה רָצָה בֵּין הַכְּרָמִים, הֲרֵי זוֹ אֲבֵדָה. הֶחֱזִירָהּ וּבָרְחָה, הֶחֱזִירָהּ וּבָרְחָה, אֲפִילוּ אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשָּׁה פְעָמִים, חַיָּב לְהַחֲזִירָהּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב) הָשֵׁב תְּשִׁיבֵם. הָיָה בָטֵל מִסֶּלַע, לֹא יֹאמַר לוֹ תֶּן לִי סֶלַע, אֶלָּא נוֹתֵן לוֹ שְׂכָרוֹ כְּפוֹעֵל בָּטֵל. אִם יֵשׁ שָׁם בֵּית דִּין, מַתְנֶה בִּפְנֵי בֵית דִּין. אִם אֵין שָׁם בֵּית דִּין, בִּפְנֵי מִי יַתְנֶה, שֶׁלּוֹ קוֹדֵם:
Which is the item that is considered lost property? If one found a donkey or a cow grazing on the path, that is not lost property, as presumably the owners are nearby and are aware of the animals’ whereabouts. If one found a donkey with its accoutrements overturned, or a cow that ran through the vineyards, that is lost property. In a case where one returned the lost animal and it fled, and he again returned it and it fled, even if this scenario repeats itself four or five times, he is obligated to return it each time, as it is stated: “You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep wandering and disregard them; you shall return them to your brother” (Deuteronomy 22:1). If in the course of tending to and returning the lost item, the finder was idle from labor that would have earned him a sela, he shall not say to the owner of the item: Give me a sela to compensate me for my lost income. Rather, the owner gives him his wage as if he were a laborer, a payment that is considerably smaller. If there are three men there who can convene as a court, he may stipulate before the court that he will undertake to return the item provided that he receives full compensation for lost income. If there is no court there before whom can he stipulate his condition, his financial interests take precedence and he need not return the lost item.
מְצָאָהּ בָּרֶפֶת, אֵינוֹ חַיָּב בָּהּ. בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, חַיָּב בָּהּ. וְאִם הָיְתָה בֵית הַקְּבָרוֹת, לֹא יִטַּמָּא לָהּ. אִם אָמַר לוֹ אָבִיו, הִטַּמֵּא, אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ, אַל תַּחֲזִיר, לֹא יִשְׁמַע לוֹ. פָּרַק וְטָעַן, פָּרַק וְטָעַן, אֲפִלּוּ אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשָּׁה פְעָמִים, חַיָּב, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג) עָזֹב תַּעֲזֹב. הָלַךְ וְיָשַׁב לוֹ וְאָמַר, הוֹאִיל וְעָלֶיךָ מִצְוָה, אִם רְצוֹנְךָ לִפְרֹק פְּרֹק, פָּטוּר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, עִמּוֹ. אִם הָיָה זָקֵן אוֹ חוֹלֶה, חַיָּב. מִצְוָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה לִפְרֹק, אֲבָל לֹא לִטְעֹן. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, אַף לִטְעֹן. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר, אִם הָיָה עָלָיו יָתֵר עַל מַשָּׂאוֹ, אֵין זָקוּק לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, תַּחַת מַשָּׂאוֹ, מַשְּׂאוֹי שֶׁיָּכוֹל לַעֲמֹד בּוֹ:
If one found an animal in a stable belonging to its owner, he is not obligated to return it to its owner. If he found it in a public area, he is obligated to return it. And if the animal was lost in a graveyard and a priest found it, he may not become impure to return it. If his father said to him: Become impure; or in a case where one was obligated to return the animal and his father said to him: Do not return it, he may not listen to his father, as one may not violate Torah law to honor his father. If one unloaded a burden from an animal collapsing under its weight and then later loaded it onto the animal, and later unloaded and loaded it again, even if this scenario repeats itself four or five times, he is obligated to continue unloading and loading, as it is stated: “If you see the donkey of him that hates you collapsed under its burden, you shall forgo passing him by; you shall release it [azov ta’azov] with him” (Exodus 23:5). It is derived from the verse that one is obligated to perform the action as needed, even several times. If the owner went, and sat, and said to a passerby: Since there is a mitzva incumbent upon you to unload the burden, if it is your wish to unload the burden, unload it, in such a case the passerby is exempt, as it is stated: “You shall release it with him,” with the owner of the animal. If the failure of the owner to participate in unloading the burden was due to the fact he was old or infirm, the passerby is obligated to unload the burden alone. There is a mitzva by Torah law to unload a burden, but there is no mitzva to load it. Rabbi Shimon says: There is even a mitzva to load the burden. Rabbi Yosei HaGelili says: If there was a burden upon the animal greater than its typical burden, one need not attend to it, as it is stated: “Under its burden,” i.e., the obligation is with regard to a burden that the animal can bear.
אֲבֵדָתוֹ וַאֲבֵדַת אָבִיו, אֲבֵדָתוֹ קוֹדֶמֶת. אֲבֵדָתוֹ וַאֲבֵדַת רַבּוֹ, שֶׁלּוֹ קוֹדֶמֶת. אֲבֵדַת אָבִיו וַאֲבֵדַת רַבּוֹ, שֶׁל רַבּוֹ קוֹדֶמֶת, שֶׁאָבִיו הֱבִיאוֹ לָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וְרַבּוֹ שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ חָכְמָה מְבִיאוֹ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְאִם אָבִיו חָכָם, שֶׁל אָבִיו קוֹדֶמֶת. הָיָה אָבִיו וְרַבּוֹ נוֹשְׂאִין מַשְּׂאוֹי, מֵנִיחַ אֶת שֶׁל רַבּוֹ. וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵנִיחַ אֶת שֶׁל אָבִיו. הָיָה אָבִיו וְרַבּוֹ בְּבֵית הַשֶּׁבִי, פּוֹדֶה אֶת רַבּוֹ, וְאַחַר כָּךְ פּוֹדֶה אֶת אָבִיו. וְאִם הָיָה אָבִיו חָכָם, פּוֹדֶה אֶת אָבִיו, וְאַחַר כָּךְ פּוֹדֶה אֶת רַבּוֹ:
If one finds his lost item and his father’s lost item, tending to his own lost item takes precedence. Similarly, if one finds his lost item and his teacher’s lost item, tending to his own lost item takes precedence. If one finds his father’s lost item and his teacher’s lost item, tending to his teacher’s lost item takes precedence, as his father brought him into this world, and his teacher, who taught him the wisdom of Torah, brings him to life in the World-to-Come. And if his father is a Torah scholar, then his father’s lost item takes precedence. If his father and his teacher were each carrying a burden and he wants to assist them in putting down their burdens, he first places his teacher’s burden down and thereafter places his father’s burden down. If his father and his teacher were in captivity, he first redeems his teacher and thereafter redeems his father. And if his father is a Torah scholar, he first redeems his father and thereafter redeems his teacher.