Sep 022016

Abaye brings halachot of 5 different tannaim and claims that all of them agree that changing an item doesn’t change ownership over it.  Rava disagrees and explains why each case is unique and can’t teach a general principle.  Rabbi Yochanan holds that one has to return the stolen item as is and not the value of it as discussed previously.  The gemara questions his opinion from another source but then explains that when Rabbi Yochanan made his statement, it was a case where the change was reversible.  But if it was an irreversible change, he would only be required to pay the value at the time of the theft.  Robbers and usurers who want to return from their bad ways should return the items they stole/collected but the ones they stole/collected from should not accept it from them in order to encourage them to repent.  The gemara brings various sources that seem to contradict this halacha and reconciles them.

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