Rav Huna holds that the one who claims the item was lost of stolen, must swear that the item is no longer in his possession. The gemara raises a contradiction from a braita and 4 answers are given (one is rejected). A case is brought where one claimed jewels were lost and they took a palace of his instead (when he refused to pay). When he then produced the “lost” item which had gone up in value, Rav Nachman said to give him his palace back and return the jewels to the owner. Rava tried to agrue with this psak based on our mishna saying that he should have acquired rights to the appreciation by having paid for them. But then he himself realizes why the cases are different. In connection with this, the gemara raises the issue regarding a loan – if it gets repaid by foreclosing on land and when the borrower gets the money to pay, can he gets his land back? Is there a time limit? The gemara holds that one can get back his land and there is no time limit. However the gemara explains in what cases this law applies and in which circumstances it would not apply. The last issue on this topic is at what point of a foreclosure does the creditor get rights to proceeds of the land? One who rents an animal and then lends it to someone else and it dies in a typical manner (for which a borrower is responsible and a renter is not) – there is a debate about to whom the borrower pays – to the renter (in the event that he swears that it died in a typical manner) or to the original owner. The gemara questions exactly by what mechanism does he acquire rights to the animal?
A shomer who can be exempt from payment and decides to pay anyway, acquires rights to the double payment (or the 4 or 5 payment for an animal that the robber slaughtered and sold) in the event that the robber is caught down the road. The gemara discusses how this mechanism works if it mean that the owner is giving him rights to something that is not yet in existence. The gemara also discusses whether it is enough if he just says he will pay or if he actually needs to pay in order to exempt himself. Various scenarios are brought to question whether or not in those scenarios the owner would give rights to the double payment to the shomer (for example is the shomer died and it was to his sons – maybe he only gave rights to the shomer himself). All the questions raised are left unanswered. A halacha is brought that one must swear before
If one loses money from his work by taking a lost item, how do we determine what compensation he receives from the owner? According to the mishna, if he wants to get his full salary, he needs stipulate that in front of three men. A story is brought about a different case where there was a debate about whether it needed to be done before 3 men like the case in our mishna or two is sufficient. If one finds an animal in a cowshed, it is not considered a lost item but in a public thoroughfare, it is. More details of this are discussed in the gemara. If one’s parent tells you to do something against what the Torah prescribes, one cannot listen to one’s parent. The differences between loading and unloading are discussed. Within the context of that conversation, Rava claims that the mitzva of tzaar baalei chayim is prescribed by the Torah. Various proofs and contradictory sources are brought.
If you find an animal wandering, how do you determine if an animal is lost or if it is just wandering and the owner is aware that is has wandered? Various drashot are brought regarding places in the Torah where a double language is used and what can be derived from there.
According to the mishna one can stretch out a cloth for its own sake (if it needs airing out) but not for the finder’s use. What if he does it for both at the same time? The gemara brings various sources to try to answer the question but each is rejected. Various types of utensils are listed and it is explain what must be done with them to care for them and what is not allowed? There are certain cases where one is exempt from returning a lost item and these are discussed. A case is brought in which a rabbi acted beyond the letter of the law. The gemara then derives it from a verse and stresses the importance of going beyond the letter of the law.
What is a person’s level of responsibility toward the lost item once it is in his possession? He needs to feed an animal, air out parchment, etc. But if the animal is not producing enough to pay for its food, the owner should sell the animal. Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva debate whether this money can be used or needs to be set aside – this then affects their level of responsibility for the money if something were to happen to it. What level of responsibility they are arguing about is a subject of debate in the gemara? Are they arguing about if the item gets lost or do they all agree that he is responsible for that and they argue over a case of ones, accidental damage (like a borrower because if he can use this money, it is viewed as a loan and one who takes out a loan assumes responsibility for accidental damage). Details regarding taking care of lost items are discussed – what is one’s obligation and what is not allowed? How often?
In a store or at a money changer, the location of where the item is found will determine if it clearly belongs to the owner or if it can be taken by the finder. Various drashot are made from the items mentioned in the verses relating to lost items that need to be returned. A question is raised about whether being able to retrieve a lost item by providing identifying mark is a Torah law or rabbinic. various sources are brought to attempt to answer the question.
The mishna lists various items that one needs to announce if he finds them. The gemara proceeds to explain some of the cases and in what way they need to be found, .i.e fruits in a basket but not next to the basket, money in a particular formation. Some contradictory sources are brought and explanations are given. The next mishna describes cases where an item without identifiable signs is left in a semi protected area and it is unclear if it was left there on purpose and the owner is planning to return for it or if it is left by accident. In that case, one is unable to pick it up as the owner will have no way to retrieve his item since it has no signs.
Certain exceptions are brought – one relating to a talmid chacham who is not known to be dishonest. He can get a lost item back by merely identifying it by sight. Another exception is that even though in a situation where the owner definitely despaired, if he realizes you found it, while there is no need to return it to him by the letter of the law, there are those who returned the items anyway – lifnim meshurat hadin – because it was the right thing to do. Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says that if something is lost in a public place, we can assume the owner despaired. The gemara questions whether this is only in a place where the majority of the people are non Jews or even in a place where the majority of Jews. And if he meant also Jews, do the rabbis disagree with him about both or only in a case where the majority are Jews. And do we hold like Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar and if so, in both cases or only in the case where the majority are non Jews. The gemara tries to answer these questions by bringing various tannaitic sources and cases from the amoraim but are unable to find conclusive answers.
Different tannaitic sources including our mishna and the next mishna are brought by the amoraim to try to establish general principles regarding what can be considered an identifying siman by which a lost item needs to be returned to its owner. The amoraim also debate various categories such as location, number of items, if it can be trampled, etc.