Oct 202016

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.

Study Guide Bava Metzia 24

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