Elu Metziot shiur #16, 24b -25a

  • Rav Joshua Amaru


Introduction to the Study of Talmud
By Rav Josh Amaru

Elu Metziot shiur #16,  24b -25a

Today's shiur includes the vocabulary list for the shiur itself. If you wish to consult the full cumulative vocabulary list, it is found at
The grammar lessons appear at the end of the vocabulary lists. 

As usual, the citations to the text of the gemara are linked to the online scan of the daf, for those who do not have an open gemara before them.  The gemara can be found on-line at
http://www.e-daf.com/daf.asp?ID=3073, and

Key words and phrases are marked in blue, and their translation/explanation can be seen by placing the cursor over them.  Other vocabulary words are marked in red and can be found on the vocabulary list at the end of the shiur.  Particularly important vocabulary words will be underlined and either have a link to the vocabulary list or a pop-up window that will appear if you place the cursor on them. 

Summary of last week's shiur:  In the last shiur, the gemara concluded its discussion of the first mishna by examining some real-world cases that apply the laws of the mishna.  We saw that the accepted ruling follows R. Shimon ben Elazar, such that at least in public places where the majority is non-Jewish, one may keep a lost object even when it has simanim.  Along the way we learned about basar she-nitalem min ha-ayin and the dispute about its status.

    This week we begin a new mishna.  You should be familiar with this mishna from our previous discussions, so we will not spend time analyzing it, and instead we will go straight to the gemara's comments.  Open to 24b and learn the mishna on the bottom of the page, continuing to the top of 25a.  Learn the subsequent gemara until "de-leit lei ognin le-tzana דלית לה אוגנין לצנא." (The ":", 9 lines above the wide lines.) Lines 1-8 in the schematic analysis. 

    This mishna is a mirror image of the first one and contains a list of items that have simanim, and therefore must be announced. Not all of the simanim are obvious:  Look in Rashi on the mishna (24b-25a), who points out that a keli or a purse ordinarily has a siman, while the relevant siman on all the other items on the list is explained in the gemara. 

    The gemara addresses the first cases in the list:  one who found fruit in a keli or money in a purse.  Here we find what is called a diyuk דיוק, a  close reading, of the mishna.  From the fact that the mishna refers to the contents as being inside the various containers we can deduce that anything short of that is considered to not have a siman.  In other words, if someone found money or fruit looking like they have spilled out of their respective containers, we do not assume that the siman on the container should apply to the fruit or the money.  They are considered to be lacking a siman and may be kept by the finder, while simultaneously  announcing the container. 

    This reading is supported by a baraita, that makes a distinction between a case where there remains some of the fruit or the money in the container, and where the container is empty.  When the container is empty, the fruit or money are not presumed to come from the container and may be kept by the finder.  However, if some of the contents remain in the container, we may assume that all of fruit or money came from this container, and the contents must be announced along with the container. 

    This baraita, and the corresponding diyuk in the mishna, is contradicted by a different baraita.  In this second baraita we are taught that something (A) found next to an object that has a siman (B) must be announced.  The adjacent object (A) becomes the property of the finder only if the owner of the identifiable object (B) denies that he or she is the owner of the adjacent one (A).  This obviously contradicts the previous baraita that ruled that money found next to a purse (or fruit next to a keli) belongs to the finder, so long as none of the money is still in the purse.

    The gemara offers four resolutions to the contradiction.  The first, in the name of R. Zevid, explains that each baraita refers to a different kind of container and contents.  One refers to things like flax and its cask and the other to a basket and fruit.  The gemara does not explain why this distinction is significant - presumably because the difference was obvious to people familiar with the manner in which flax, as opposed to fruit, was stored. 

Rashi's reading is a little difficult given the fact that the mishna and the baraita both refer to peirot פירות, fruit. According to Rashi, both sources are actually referring to things like flax, while only the other baraita, that does require that one announce fruit found next to a basket, can be understood to refer to regular fruit.  The Tosafot, s.v. ha be-kuba ve-kitna, הא בכובא וכיתנא, interpret the gemara in the opposite way:  The fruit is likely to have left some remnant in the basket while the flax stalks would ordinarily be bound together,  and thus could all fall out at once. 

Let us look in Rashi to clarify this distinction.

    Look at Rashi s.v. be-kuba ve-kitna, בכובא וכיתנא (line 15).  Rashi explains that, given the nature of flax, it is extremely unlikely that all of the flax could have fallen out.  The fact that there is no flax left in the cask counts against the assumption that the flax came from there and therefore we allow the finder to keep the flax and the money, in accordance with the mishna and the first baraita.  The second baraita refers to things like fruit in a basket, where it is likely that all of the fruit will fall out.  Under such circumstances, the finder must announce the fruit as well. 

    The next three resolutions of the contradiction build upon one another.  Rav Papa argues that both baraitot refer to fruit and an adjacent basket.  The rule stated in the second baraita, that one needs to announce the adjacent fruit, is merely a sub-category of the rule in the first baraita.  Recall that the first baraita distinguishes between when there are contents left in the container and when there are not.  The second baraita relates to an instance where some of the fruit is still in the basket and thus we must associate all of the fruit to the basket (and its owner).  The first baraita teaches us that this rule applies only when there is fruit in the basket.  If there is no fruit in the basket, we may assume that did not come from there. Presumably, if it had , we would find some remnant of it there.  

    The next resolution accepts the distinction between when fruit remains in the basket and when it does not, but claims that the two opposing baraitot can teach us a further distinction - whether the mouth of the container faces the fruit or not.  The second baraita that requires the finder to announce the fruit as well as the basket, refers to a case where it looks like the fruit fell from the container as indicated by the position of the container vis-a-vis the fruit.  This is true even when none of the fruit remains in the basket.  The first baraita refers to a case where the position of the basket indicates that the fruit does not belong to it.  In this case, the presence or absence of fruit left in the basket indicates whether we associate the fruit to the basket and its owner.  Thus when the mouth of the basket faces away from the fruit, and there is no fruit in the basket, the fruit, which has no siman, belongs to the finder. 

    Finally the gemara offers up a different distinction.  Even when the mouth of the basket faces the fruit, we can distinguish between baskets that have rims and those that do not.  If there is a rim, then we follow the distinction drawn in the first baraita, between when there is a some fruit in the basket and when there is not.  It is unlikely that all the fruit would have got past the rim and the fact that the basket is empty indicates that the fruit did not come from there.  The second baraita refers to a basket without a rim, such that the fact that remains no fruit in the basket is not indicative, and we must assume that the fruit fell from this basket.

    The following chart illustrates the way the distinctions made above build upon one another:

Container facing the fruit

Container facing away from the fruit
Fruit remaining in the container

Must announce fruit as well.

Must announce fruit as well.

No fruit remaining in the container

Rim on container: fruit belongs to finder

No rim on container: must announce fruit as well.  Fruit belongs to finder.

    Let us continue.  Learn the next few lines on 25a, from "Tziburei peirot צבורי פירות" until "...teni, tziburei peirot:תני צבורי פירות ..."  Lines 9-12 in the schematic analysis.

    The gemara here addresses the categories 'heaps of fruit' and 'heaps of coins' that the mishna determines must be announced. What is the siman associated with these? A heap of something seems to have very few identifying characteristics.  From the fact that the mishna used the plural, 'heaps', the gemara deduces that the the mishna here is teaching us that the number of heaps can act as a siman

    This returns us to the discussion on 23b (top of the page) about number functioning as a siman.  Recall that the gemara there concluded from a baraita that number can serve as a siman.  The gemara here, however, does not want to draw this conclusion from the mishna, perhaps because then we would need to explain why the gemara did not do so in the discussion of number on 23b.  Instead the gemara suggests that we correct the text of the mishna.  One cannot deduce that number is a good siman from the fact that the word tziburei צבורי, heaps, is plural, because it should be read in the singular:  tzibur צבור, heap. 

    If we gloss "heap," then what is the siman associated with a heap of coins or fruit?  The gemara concludes that the mishna must be teaching us that location is a good siman.  This brings us back to the makhloket between Raba and Rava on 22b about whether location can function as a siman.  This conclusion must also be rejected, for if this is the message of the mishna, how can Raba disagree with the mishna and hold that location is not a good siman

    The gemara suggests that we should return to our original gloss, and read ziburei צבורי, heaps, in the plural.  But does not this return us to where we started from, that the mishna implies that number is a good simanRashi, s.v.teni, tziburei peirot תני צבורי פירות , does not think so.  According to Rashi, the fact that the exact text of the gemara remains unclear allows us to resist drawing either conclusion.  We know that either number or location is the siman, but we cannot prove which. We cannot learn conclusively from the mishna about the role of either number or location as a siman.

    Now learn the gemara on 25a from "shelosha matbe'ot...שלשה מטבעות" until "tav'a makhriz טבעא מכריז".  Lines 13-23 in the schematic analysis. 

    R. Yitzchak from Migdal (a town in the Galilee) explains the mishna's ruling that three coins one on top of the other must be announced.

Note the pun:  R. Yitzchak from Migdal insists that the coins should look like a migdal, a tower.  These sort of puns remind us of the original oral nature of the text.

 He says that they must be stacked like a tower for their arrangement to furnish a siman.   R. Yitzchak's ruling is borne out by a baraita that says much the same thing.  The baraita confronts us with a difficulty:  As the baraita says (and as we learned in the first mishna), only scattered coins belong to the finder, implying that if they are stacked such that they overlap at all, their arrangement is a siman and they must be announced.   On the other hand the baraita (and the mishna according to R. Yitzchak) also rules that only when coins are stacked like a tower does their arrangement count as a siman, implying that merely overlapping coins can be kept by the finder.  How are we to relate to this middle case of overlapping, neither  stacked nor scattered?

    The gemara explains that the we should follow the implications of the reisha of the baraita.  When the baraita (or the mishna) uses the word 'scattered ', that means any arrangement of coins that is not stacked like a tower.  This conclusion is of course what we would expect:  after all, the arrangement of the coins is not signifcant in itself.  The question here is whether these coins were placed here by their owner or whether they were dropped.  The gemara's conclusion is that only when they are stacked up neatly should we be concerned that they were placed here.  Otherwise, we may assume that they were dropped and the owner has been mityaesh

Ancient Currency:  In the Roman world, many different coins were in use at one time.  Currency was not standardized "legal tender" in the same sense as today.  Coins were made out of precious metals and their face value theoretically represented the value of their weight in that metal.  Different Roman emperors (and local rulers as well) minted different coins, the value of which fluctuated depending, among other things, upon the extent to which the currency was debased, i.e. the extent to which the coin was made out of the gold or silver it claimed to be.  These coins were also often of different sizes.  Even when coins were originally of the same size, it was not unusual to find coins that had become smaller from wear.   

    We next encounter R. Chanina's comment on the mishna.  According to R. Chanina, only three coins from the mintings of three different kings need to be announced.  What does this mean?  How does it fit into what we learned from R. Yitzchak from Migdal?  If the coins are 'stacked like a tower' then that in itself should be a sufficient siman.  If they are scattered, how does the fact that they come from different mintings help? 

    In order to answer these questions, the gemara offers a revised version of R. Chanina's comment.  What R. Chanina meant was R. Yitzchak from Migdal's rule that the coins must be stacked like a tower for there to be a siman does not always apply.  The arrangement of the coins counts as a siman only when the coins are of different sizes (as if they were issued by different kings) and are stacked like a pyramid, with the widest coin on the bottom and the next widest on top of it and so on.  Only then do we assume that these coins were placed here and not dropped.  If, however, the coins are of the same size, even if they are arranged in a neat stack, it is still possible that they simply fell like that and the arrangement of the coins is not a siman.

Note that  the words "but of one king, one is not obligated to announce  אבל של מלך אחד אינו חייב להכריז"  appear in parentheses in the gemara.  Rounded parentheses ( ) are the printers' convention for a section of text that appears in earlier additions of the gemara but that the printers believe to be corrupt and should be removed.  Square parentheses [ ] are the convention indicating an addition added by the printer, based on another edition.  In general we will follow these interpolations of the Vilna Shas and ignore text cited in rounded parentheses and read the text in square parentheses.  In this case, the removal of the words is significant;  According to the text with these words included, R. Chanina holds that three coins of different sizes, stacked as a pyramid, would still not provide a siman if they were of the same minting.  Since the issue at hand is whether the coins fell or were placed, it is hard to understand why this should be so, and that probably contributed to the editor's decision to remove the words. 

    You should be aware that the text of the gemara as printed is merely one version crystalized out of a multivarious manuscript and printing history.  Most of the differences between the various versions of the gemara are not of great significance, though on occasion a small difference in the text can change the meaning a great deal.  Traditionally, yeshivot have generally not paid much attention to this sort of textual scholarship (with some very notable exceptions) and in modern times it has been taken up mostly by university departments of Talmud. 


    R. Yochanan disagrees with R. Chanina's rule and holds that even coins minted "by one king", i.e. all of the same size, if stacked one on top of the other, must be announced.  As Rashi, s.v. afilu shel melekh echad אפילו של מלך אחד (five lines from the bottom) points out, R. Yochanan's reasons that it is extremely unlikely that someone will drop coins and they will land stacked one on top of the other.  As far as R. Yochanan is concerned, stacked coins, even if not stacked according to their different sizes, are sufficient indication that they were placed by their owner and must be announced. 

   The gemara next addresses the question of the actual announcement.  This passage is difficult and the following interpretation follows that of Rashi, s.v. u-farkhinan ופרכינן, s.v. tav'a טבעא.  Until now we have not really discussed yet the nature of the finder's announcement.  Without going into it a length here, let me point out that in order for the system to work, the finder must partially identify the object such that the owner will know to come to him with a conclusive siman.  If the finder merely says, 'I have found something,' how is the owner to know that he or she has found what he has lost?  Rather, the finder must announce that he or she has found something of a particular sort.  Subsequently anyone who has lost something of that sort will turn to the finder, present his simanim, and if they uniquely identify the lost object, receive his property.

    In the case of lost coins, the gemara asks, what sort of announcement should the finder make?  Given the ubiquitousness of coins, should he or she include the number of found coins in the announcement?  The gemara answers that from the mishna it is apparent that he or she should not.  The mishna rules that only three coins stacked one on the other need to be announced.  If the number of coins is provided by the finder, and hence is not part of the manner in which the owner identifies his property to the finder, then a stack, even of two coins, should also be a siman

Note the small letter aleph (א) in Rashi script next to the word tav'a טבעא.  It is a reference to the Hagahot ha-Bach הגהות הב"ח. The author, R. Yoel Sirkes was born in Poland in 1561, and died there in 1640. A leading halachic authority in the generation after Rema, he is renowned for his commentary on the Tur, the Bayit Chadash, also known by its acronym, Bach ("new house").  Like many other Talmudic scholars, he is referred to by his book's name rather than his own.  Hagahot ha-Bach  usually are textual emendations though they occasionally include commentary.

    In this case, the Bach changes the text tav'a טבעא which is the singular 'coin' to tav'i טבעי i.e.the plural 'coins'.  It is clear from Rashi and other commentaries that they also understood the text to be plural. 

    From the fact that the mishna insists upon a minimum of three coins, we must conclude that the descripton of the stack provided by the owner (i.e. the siman) must include the number.  The owner will know how many coins he placed in the stack and will identify the coins as his by describing the fact that they were stacked and the number of coins.  Therefore the the finder should announce only that he or she has found coins.   If the number is part of the siman, we can understand why two coins need not be announced and can be kept by the finder. Since the finder must announce 'coins' in the plural, it is apparent that there are at least two coins.  Only when a claimant specifies a different number is he providing new information that identifies the lost object as his.   

    In this week's shiur, we began addressing the inverse situation of that which we have encountered so far.  The new mishna lists items that have simanim and must be announced.  Instead of explaining why the finder may keep a certain object, the gemara now endeavors to explain why the items in the mishna's list must be announced.  As one would expect, the terms of the discussion remain the same:  we must establish the presence or absence of simanim as indicators of yeush.  At the end of the shiur we began a discussion of the nature of announcing, a subject that we will return to at a later date. 


Schematic Analysis #16

Schematic analysis of the gemara from the mishna on the bottom of 24b until "tav'a makhriz טבעא מכריז"

Translation of gemara Schematic Analysis Text of gemara 24b

1.  Mishna. These [objects] must be announced:  One finds fruit in a keli, or a keli by itself, money in a purse, or a purse by itself, heaps of fruit, heaps of coins, [25a] three coins one on top of the other, bundles of sheaves in reshut ha-yachid, homemade loaves, fleeces of wool from the craftman's workshop, containers fo wine or containers of oil - [any of] these must be announced.


1. מתני'. ואלו חייב להכריז: מצא פירות בכלי, או כלי כמות שהוא, מעות בכיס, או כיס כמות שהוא, צבורי פירות, צבורי מעות, [כה עמ' א] שלשה מטבעות זה על גב זה, כריכות ברשות היחיד, וככרות של בעל הבית, וגיזי צמר הלקוחין מבית האומן, כדי יין וכדי שמן - הרי אלו חייב להכריז.

2.  Gemara.  The reason [the finder must announce] is that the fruit was found in a keli, or the money in a purse.  [Implying that], a keli, with fruit in front of it, or a purse with money in front of it belong to the finder. Deduction from the first ruling in the mishna. 

2.  גמרא. טעמא - דמצא פירות בכלי, ומעות בכיס. הא כלי ולפניו פירות, כיס ולפניו מעות - הרי אלו שלו.

3.  Our Mishna thus teaches the same as our Rabbis taught [in another place]: If one finds a keli, with fruit in front of it, or a a purse, with money in front of it - these belong to the finder. If [the fruit is] partly in the keli and partly on the ground, or if [the money is] partly in the purse and partly on the ground, [the finder] must announce. Support for the deduction from a baraita.

3.  תנינא להא, דתנו רבנן: מצא כלי ולפניו פירות, כיס ולפניו מעות - הרי אלו שלו.  מקצתן בכלי ומקצתן על גבי קרקע, מקצתן בכיס ומקצתן על גבי קרקע - חייב להכריז.  

4.  But the following contradicts it: If one found an object lacking a siman next to an object possessing a siman, , one is obligated to announce [them].  If the identifier of the siman came and took his own (i.e. the object with the siman),  the other (i.e.. the finder) is entitled to the object without a siman Difficulty raised through the presentatation of a contradictory baraita.

4.  ורמינהו: מצא דבר שאין בו סימן בצד דבר שיש בו סימן - חייב להכריז. בא בעל סימן ונטל את שלו - זכה הלה בדבר שאין בו סימן!

5. Explained R. Zevid: There is no difficulty. This one (the first baraita) [refers] to a cask and flax; and this one (i.e the second baraita), to a basket and fruit.

Resolution of the contradiction through contrasting  ukimtot.        

5.   אמר רב זביד: לא קשיא: הא - בכובא וכיתנא, הא - בצנא ופירי. 

6. R Papa said: Both refer to a basket and fruit, yet there is no difficulty. This one (the second baraita) refers to a case if something was still left therein; this one (the first baraita), if nothing was left therein.  Alternative resolution of the contradiction.

6. רב פפא אמר: הא והא בצנא ופירי, ולא קשיא; הא - דאשתייר בה מידי, הא - דלא אשתייר בה מידי.

7.  Alternatively, I could say:  both [baraitas] refer to a case that nothing is left therein, yet there is no difficulty. In this one (the latter),  its [i.e. the basket's] mouth is turned towards the fruit; in this one (the former), it is not. Alternative resolution of the contradiction.

7.   ואיבעית אימא: הא והא דלא אשתייר בה מידי, ולא קשיא: הא - דמהדרי אפיה לגבי פירי, הא - דלא מהדרי אפיה לגבי פירי.

8.  Another alternative: in both its mouth faces the fruit, yet there is no difficulty.  In this one (the former) the basket has rims; in this one the baskets do not have rims. Alternative resolution of the contradiction.

8.  ואיבעית אימא: הא והא דמהדרי אפיה לגבי פירי, ולא קשיא; הא - דאית לה אוגנין לצנא, הא - דלית לה אוגנין לצנא.

9. Heaps of Fruit; heaps of coins. Derive from here that number is a siman!

quote from mishna and attendant deduction that is difficult.

9.  צבורי פירות וצבורי מעות. שמעת מינה - מנין הוי סימן! -

10. [No.] Gloss: A heap of fruit.

Resolution of the difficulty though correction of the mishna text.

10.  תני: צבור פירות.

11.  Then derive from here that location is a siman! Deduction from corrected text that brings up a new difficulty.

11.  שמעת מינה מקום הוי סימן! -

12. [No.] Gloss: Heaps of fruit. Resolution of difficulty by returning to original text.

12.  תני: צבורי פירות.

13. Three coins one on top of the other.   R. Yitzchak the Migdalean said: provided that they are stacked like a tower.

Quote from mishna and qualification of its ruling.

13. שלשה מטבעות זה על גב זה. אמר רבי יצחק מגדלאה: והוא שעשויין כמגדלין.

14. It has been taught likewise: If one finds scattered coins, they belong to him. If they are arranged like a tower, he is obligated to announce them.  This is [the definition of] 'arranged like a tower' - three coins one on top of  the other.  baraita that supports the qualification.

14.   תניא נמי הכי: מצא מעות מפוזרות - הרי אלו שלו, עשויין כמגדלים - חייב להכריז. ואלו הן עשויין כמגדלים - שלשה מטבעין זה על גב זה.

15.  Is not this in itself difficult? [First] you state,  'one  who finds scattered coins - may keep them' implying, that if they overlap,  onw must announce them. Then consider the seifa: 'If they are arranged like a tower,  he must announce them,  implying that if they [merely] overlap, they are his?  Difficulty stemming from internal contradiction in the implications of the baraita.

15.  הא גופא קשיא, אמרת: מצא מעות מפוזרות - הרי אלו שלו, הא משלחפי - שלחופי - חייב להכריז. אימא סיפא: עשויין כמגדלין חייב להכריז, הא משלחפי שלחופי - הרי אלו שלו!

16. All [coins] not arranged like a tower the Tana calls 'scattered'.

Explanation of the baraita.

16.   תנא, כל שאין עשויין כמגדלין - מפוזרות קרי להו.

17. R. Hanina said: This was taught only regarding [the coins minted by] three [different] kings; but if [the coins are minted by] one king, he need not announce it.

Further qualification of the mishna's ruling.

17. אמר רבי חנינא: לא שנו אלא של שלשה מלכים, אבל של מלך אחד - אינו חייב להכריז.

18.  How so? If they are arranged like a tower, then even [if they are] of one king['s minting], they should be announced].  if they are not arranged like a tower, then even if they are of [the minting of three different] kings [they belong to the finder]! Difficulty with the qualification

18.   היכי דמי? אי דעשויין כמגדלין - אפילו של מלך אחד נמי, ואי דאין עשויין כמגדלין - אפילו של שלשה מלכים נמי לא!

19. Rather if [such a thing] was said, here is how it was said: 'This was taught only of [the coins of] one king, yet similar to those of three.' (but of one king, one is not obligated to announce).  Revised version of above qualification.

19.  אלא, אי אתמר הכי אתמר: לא שנו אלא של מלך אחד כעין שלשה מלכים, (אבל של מלך אחד אינו חייב להכריז).

20.  And what is the case of 'arranged as towers'? When they lie pyramidically, the broadest at the bottom, the medium-sized upon it, and the smallest on top of the middle one; in which case we say, "they were placed thus." If, however, they are of one king, all being of equal size, then even if they are lying upon each other they belong to him [the finder]: we assume that they fell thus together by chance. Elaboration of ruling in (19).

20.   והיכי דמי דעשויין כמגדלים - רויחא תתאה ומציעא עילויה, וזוטא עילויה מציעא, דאמרינן: אנוחי אנחינהו. אבל של מלך אחד, דכולהו כי הדדי נינהו, אף על גב דמנחי אהדדי - הרי אלו שלו, אימר אתרמויי אתרמי, ובהדי הדדי נפול.

21.  R. Yochanan [however] maintained: Even if of the same king, he must announce. Alternative interpretation of mishna.

21.  ורבי יוחנן אמר: אפילו של מלך אחד נמי מכריז.

22. Now, what does he announce - the number?  [If so, then] why particularly three?  [He should announce even two!] 


22.מאי מכריז - מנין, מאי איריא תלתא? אפילו תרין נמי! -

23.  Said Ravina: He announces 'coins'. answer

23.  אמר רבינא: טבעא מכריז. 




Selections from Rashi, daf 24b-25a.


Rashi Text

matza peirot be-keli, [one who] found fruit in a keli - and a regular keli has a siman.

מצא פירות בכלי - וסתם כלי יש בו סימן.

kis, purse - [ordinarily] has a siman for its owner.

כיס - יש בו סימן לבעלים.

tziburei peirot, heaps of fruit - in the gemara is explained their siman, either number or location.

צבורי פירות - בגמרא מפרש סימנייהו, או מנין או מקום.

shelosha matbeot zo al gav zo, three coins one atop of the other - in the gemara is explained their siman.

שלשה מטבעות זו על גב זו - בגמרא מפרש סימנייהו.

be-kuba ve-kitna with flax and a cask - a knocked over cask with flax in front of it.  It is certain that the flax did not fall from the cask since if it had fallen from it, some would remain in it.  The same rule applies to a purse with money in front of it, following the same logic.  Where it says that one is obligated [to announce] - refers to a case of a basket and fruit, where the all the fruit is likely to have fallen out. 

בכובא וכיתנא - גיגית מוטלת ופשתן לפניה, דודאי האי פשתן לאו מכובא נפל, דאי מינה נפל - הוה משתייר בה, והוא הדין לכיס ולפניו מעות מהאי טעמא, והא דקתני חייב - בצנא ופירי, דעבידי דשרקי ונפלי מיניה כולהו.

Teni, tziburei peirot, gloss, heaps of fruit - [the deduction] that number is a a siman has been rejected:  do not deduce like this [that number is a siman] or like that [that location is a siman].

תני צבורי פירות - סימני מנין דהוי מדחי ליה: לא הא תפשוט, ולא הא תפשוט.

afilu shel melekh echad makhriz even of one king, one must annouce - since these coins are [stacked] one on top of the other - that is a siman since it does not happen that they would fall like that.

אפילו של מלך אחד מכריז - הואיל ומטבעות הוו זו על גב זו - יש כאן סימן, דלא אתרמי דנפול הכי.

u-farkhinan mai makhriz, minyan and we ask what does he announce, the number - Such and such [number of] coins have I found and [the owner] comes and presents a siman: you found them piled one on top of the other.

ופרכינן מאי מכריז מנין - כך וכך מטבעות מצאתי, וזה בא ונתן סימן: זו על גב זו מצאתם.

tav'a makhriz, he announces 'coins' - 'I have found coins' therefore two are not a siman since 'coins' means at least two.

טבעא מכריז - מטבעות מצאתי, הלכך תרי לאו סימנא הוא, דמיעוט מטבעות שתים.


Key Gemara Terms

be-hadei:  with


gufa: itself.  The term gufa is used in two ways: 1.  self-reference as here.  2.  As the introduction to a discussion of a topic that was referred to above.


hadadei:  one another, each other


zuta:  small [one]



midi:  something, a thing.



metzia:  middle



ilavei:  on [top of] it



u-raminhu: lit.  we throw against it, used to point out a contradiction between two sources.


tata'a:  bottom



General vocabulary

be-hadei:  with


gufa: itself.  The term gufa is used in two ways: 1.  self-reference as here.  2.  As the introduction to a discussion of a topic that was referred to above.


hadadei:  one another, each other


zuta:  small [one]


kitna: flax, linen.



keli: utensil, vessel.  A keli is any object that is designated for human use, including clothing, pottery, weapons, etc. In the present context it refers to a container that holds fruit. 


midi:  something, a thing.



metzia:  middle



ilavei:  on [top of] it



tzana: basket.



u-raminhu: lit.  we throw against it, used to point out a contradiction between two sources.


meshalachfei shalchufei:  overlapping


משלחפי שלחופי

tata'a:  bottom