Elu Metziot shiur #17, 25a -25b

  • Rav Joshua Amaru


Introduction to the Study of Talmud
By Rav Josh Amaru

Elu Metziot shiur #17,  25a -25b.

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 

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 shiur:  We dealt with the new mishna appearing on 24b.  First,  the gemara discussed things lacking simanim found next to containers with simanim.  If there are sufficient grounds for assuming that the siman-less money or fruit were inside the pouch or a basket that has a siman, then these too must be announced.   If not, we view the lost money or fruit as separate from the containers.  Next, we dealt with the case in the mishna of stacked coins, that must be announced if their arrangement provides a siman.  We saw that the Amoraim disagree as to whether three coins of the same size stacked one on top of the other should be understood as a siman, or could be regarded as something that happened by chance. 

   Learn on 25a from "Ba'ei R. Yirmia בעי רבי ירמיה" until the next mishna.  Lines 1-6 in the schematic analysis.

    R. Yirmia asks about other arrangements of coins, besides the stacked coins mentioned in the mishna.  What if they are arranged in a circle, or in a row, or triangularly, or like a ladder?  (Look in Rashi (25a, second to last line) s.v. ke-sulam for the meaning of "like a ladder".)  The gemara derives the answer to at least the "like a ladder" question from Rav Nachman's statement that any group of coins that can be lifted as one are not considered scattered and must be announced.

    R. Ashi asks about coins arranged in a pyramid, in the manner of a "Kulis" shrine.  This question is answered through a baraita that states that coins arranged in the manner of a "Kulis" shrine must be announced.  The baraita explains that in the Kulis shrine they would arrange stones in pyramids, with two on the bottom and one on top of them. 

    Our gemara concludes its discussion of lost coins by quoting a baraita that teaches that physical markings can never be a good siman on a coin.  The fact that someone can identify a particular coin by its markings, by who minted it, or even by having one's name written on it, is irrelevant.  The coin may have indeed belonged to the person claiming to be the owner, but it is just as possible that he or she spent it and the coin was lost by a subsequent owner.  A claim about lost coins is credible only if the siman presented somehow identifies the claimant and the last owner of the coin.

    Now learn the mishna on 25bLine 7 in the schematic analysis.  How many cases are described in the mishna?  What is the din, the ruling, in each case?  What does this mishna add to what we learned in the previous two mishnayot? 

    Our mishna deals with three cases, or really two, where the latter has two scenarios.  In the first we learn about fledgling birds that have been tied together (presumably they are sold that way).  For some reason, the mishna rules that one should not touch these birds.  In the second case we are told about a keli found in a dump.  Here the mishna distinguishes between whether the keli was covered, i.e. buried, there, or lying on top.  If the keli is covered, the ruling is the same as with the birds - one mustn't touch it, and if it is uncovered, the mishna rules that one must announce it and seek its owner. 

    We encounter here a new possibility that lies between the two we have seen so far.  Until now, the lost object could either be taken by the finder and kept, or it must be taken up in order to be announced and returned.  Until now the finder was not directed to preserve the status quo by leaving the object in place, but that is precisely the mishna's ruling here.  Look in Rashi (25b line 6), s.v. mekhuse lo yig'a bo מכוסה לא יגע בו who explains that leaving the covered keli in the dump does not involve a transgression of the commandment not to ignore a lost object, since this object is protected and will not be at risk even if the finder leaves it.  What is special about these cases that gives rise to the mishna's ruling that the finder may not take, but need not return these lost objects? 

    The gemara addresses this question directly. Learn on in the gemara until "ve-im natal, lo yachzir ואם נטל לא יחזיר".  Lines 8-14 in the schematic analysis.

     The gemara explains the birds must be left in place because they presumably are not lost at all, but rather left there by their owner.  Since they are not lost, there is no permissibility of taking them for oneself. On the other hand, if the finder picks them up, he will not be able to return them to the owner since they have no siman.  Hence, the best course of action is to leave them where they are.

      At this point the gemara questions the assumption that bound together fledglings have no siman -  is not the manner in which they are tied a siman?  Rav bar Zavda explains that the mishna refers to a situation where the manner in whichAbba they are tied is not a good siman since everyone ties birds in the same way. 

    What about their location?  Why is that not a good siman?  Rav Ukva Bar Chama explains that the birds, though bound, can still hop.  This may explain why the location is not a siman, but raises a different question. Why can't the finder keep them?  After all, if their location is not fixed, then even the owner will not know where to find them and he will be mityaesh!

    The gemara explains that the bound fledglings are a borderline case:  There is a reasonable possibility that they were left to be picked up later while it is also possible that these are lost birds that were left elsewhere and have hopped here.  This is called a case of safek hinuach ספק הינוח,

There is a dispute among the Rishonim as to what the law is in a case of safek hinuach that was mistakenly picked up by the finder.  The Rambam holds that since it has no simanim, the finder may keep it.  The Ra'avad (and others) hold that one may not keep it for one's own since it is doubtful that the owner was mityaesh.  Rather, one must hold it indefinitely, much like a lost object with no simanim that the owner is not yet aware that he lost (i.e. yeush she-lo mi-da'at).
of doubt as to whether the object was placed here or is lost.  The mishna describes such a case and the rule is that one does not touch such an object (for fear that that will prevent the owner who left it there from finding it when he or she comes back).  If however one did pick it up, one cannot return it back to the place where it was found.

    Learn now from "matza keli ba-ashpa מצא כלי באשפה"  until the next mishna.  Lines 15-22 in the schematic analysis.

    The mishna ruled that a keli found in a a dump must be announced if it is exposed, and should be left alone if it was covered up.  The gemara points out that this ruling is contradicted by a baraita that says that one must announce a keli found hidden in a dump, since the dump is likely to be cleaned up and the keli removed and therefore lost.     

    Rav Zevid explains that  the mishna is referring to casks and cups, which should be left in place, while the baraita refers to knives and forks that should be announced as lost objects.  Rashi,  s.v. kovi ve-kasi כובי וכסי and s.v. sakini ve-hemnik סכיני והמניק explains that casks and cups are large and could not have got to the dump by mistake but must have been hidden there by the owner.  Therefore one should leave them in place.   Knives and forks, though, can get thrown out by mistake with the house trash and therefore must be treated as lost objects and announced.

    Rav Papa offers a different resolution of the contradiction between the mishna and the baraita.  Instead of distinguishing between different kinds of objects, he claims that each source refers to a different kind of dump.  The mishna, which requires the finder to leave things as they are, refers to a dump that is permanent and thus not likely to be removed.  The baraita, that requires that something found hidden in a dump be taken by the finder and announced, refers to a temporary dump, that is liable to be removed, causing the loss of the hidden object.

    Rav Papa's explanation is difficult in that it does not account well  for the baraita's ruling that the lost object must be announced and returned.  If the objects were placed in a temporary dump, which the owner knows can be carted away at any time, it is hard to view that as anything other than deliberate abandonment.  Abandoned property does not need to be returned - the finder can keep it.

    In response, the gemara refines Rav Papa's position.  Both the mishna and the baraita refer to an object hidden in a permanent dump.  The difference between them is that the dump in the baraita has suddenly become a candidate for removal.  Under such circumstances, one must take anything hidden in the dump and announce it in order to get it back to its original owner.  One cannot leave it there or it will be destroyed or lost when the dump is removed.  The mishna, that requires the finder to leave the covered object there, refers to a regular dump, that is not about to be moved.

    The language of the baraita supports Rav Papa's understanding.  The baraita itself explains that one must announce a keli found in a dump "because it is normal for a dump to be cleared away.'  So long as the dump is not about to be cleared away, the baraita does not apply.  How does Rav Zevid, who understood the baraita do be referring to small utensils like knives and forks, explain this line of the baraita?  What does the likelihood that a dump will be cleared have to do with the fact that we assume that small utensils at a dump, even when covered,  are lost?  The gemara explains, according to Rav Zevid, that words "to be cleared away" in the phrase in the baraita "because it is it is normal for a dump to be cleared away," do not refer to the dump but to the utensils.  "It is normal for small utensils to be cleared away to the dump" is how Rav Zevid reads the end of the baraita. 

    In this week's shiur, we have learned about cases in which the halakha is that the finder should not touch a lost object.  This is because there is at least a possibility that the object is not lost at all but was hidden by the owner, who did not expect someone else to find it. 



Schematic Analysis #17

Schematic analysis of the gemara from ba'ei R. Yirmia on the bottom of 25a until the mishna on the bottom of 25b.

Translation of gemara Schematic Analysis Text of gemara 25a-25b

1.  R. Yirmia inquired: What if they [the coins] were arranged in a circle,  in a row, triangularly, or ladderwise? 

series of ba'ayot

1.  בעי רבי ירמיה: כשיר מהו, כשורה מהו, כחצובה מהו, כסולם מהו?

2.  Solve at least one [problem]. For R. Nachman said in Raba bar Abuha's name: Wherever a sliver [of wood] can be inserted whereby they [the coins] may be lifted simultaneously, one must announce.

resolution of one of the ba'ayot

2.  פשוט מהא חדא, דאמר רב נחמן אמר רבה בר אבוה: כל שאילו מכניס לה קיסם ביניהן ונוטלם בבת אחת - חייב להכריז.

3.  R. Ashi inquired: [25b] What if they are arranged as the stones of a Merculis way-mark? ba'aya

3.  בעי רב אשי: [כה עמ' ב] כאבני בית קוליס מהו?

4.  Ta shema: For it has been taught: one who finds scattered coins, they belong to him; [but if they are] arranged as the stones of a Merculis way-mark, he must announce them. And thus are the stones of a Merculis way-mark arranged: one at each side, and a third on top of both. baraita that resolves the ba'aya

4.  תא שמע, דתניא: מצא מעות מפוזרות - הרי אלו שלו, כאבני בית קוליס - חייב להכריז. ואלו הן אבני בית קוליס: אחת מכאן ואחת מכאן ואחת על גביהן.

5.  Our Rabbis taught: one who finds a sela' in the marketplace, and his fellow claims:  'It is mine; it is new, a Nero coin or of such and such an emperor'  he [the claimant] has said nothing [of significance].  Related baraita

5.  תנו רבנן: המוצא סלע בשוק, ומצאו חבירו ואמר שלי היא, חדשה היא, נירונית היא, של מלך פלוני היא - לא אמר כלום.

6.  Moreover, even if his name is written upon it, he still has said nothing, because there is no such thing as a siman in respect to a coin, for one can say, maybe it was spent, and someone else lost it. Extension and elaboration of the ruling in the baraita.

6.  ולא עוד, אלא אפילו שמו כתוב עליה - לא אמר כלום, לפי שאין סימן למטבע, דאמר דלמא אפוקי אפקא, ומאיניש אחרינא נפל.

7.  MISHNA. One who finds chicks tied together behind a fence or a wall, or in the field paths, must not touch them.  One who finds a keli in a dump, if it is covered up - he should not touch it.  If it is uncovered, he must take it and announce it.  


7.  מתני'. מצא אחר הגפה או אחר הגדר גוזלות מקושרים, או בשבילין שבשדות - הרי זה לא יגע בהן. מצא כלי באשפה, אם מכוסה - לא יגע בו, אם מגולה - נוטל ומכריז.


8.  GEMARA. What is the reason? Because we say, A person hid them here, and if he [the finder] takes them, their owner has no means of identifying them. Therefore he must leave them until their owner comes and takes them. Explanation of the first ruling in the mishna.

8.  גמ'. מאי טעמא? דאמרינן: הני אינש אצנעינהו, ואי שקיל להו - לית להו למרייהו סימנא בגווייהו, הלכך לשבקינהו עד דאתי מרייהו ושקיל להו.

9.  But why? let the knot be a siman! difficulty with the mishna's ruling.

9.  ואמאי? ליהוי קשר סימנא! 

10.  Said R. Aba b. Zavda in Rav's name: They were tied by their wings, since everyone ties them in this way.   resolution of difficulty through ukimta.

10.  אמר רבי אבא בר זבדא אמר רב: במקושרין בכנפיהן, דכולי עלמא הכי מקטרי להו. -

11.  Then let the location be a siman! additional difficulty

11.  ולהוי מקום סימן! -

12.   Said R. 'Ukva b. Chama: It refers to such that can hop. resolution through ukimta.

12.  אמר רב עוקבא בר חמא: במדדין. 

13.  But if they hop, they may have come from elsewhere, and should be permitted! difficulty that arises from ukimta.

13.  אי במדדין - מעלמא אתו, ומותרין! -

14.  It is possible that they came from elsewhere, and it is possible that a person hid them there: hence it is a case of doubt as to whether they were placed, and R. Aba b. Zavda said in Rav's name: Whenever it is doubtful if an article was left [in a certain spot], one must not take it in the first instance; but if one took, one need not return it. resolution and statment of a new legal principle.

14.  איכא למימר מעלמא אתו, ואיכא למימר אינש אצנעינהו, והוה ליה ספק הינוח, ואמר רבי אבא בר זבדא אמר רב: כל ספק הינוח - לכתחילה לא יטול, ואם נטל - לא יחזיר.

15.  One who finds a keli in a dump, if it is covered up - he should not touch it.  If it is uncovered, he must take it and announce it.  

quote from the mishna.

15.  מצא כלי באשפה, מכוסה לא יגע בו מגולה - נוטל ומכריז.

16. The following contradicts it: If one finds a keli hidden in a dungheap, he must take and announce it, because it is normal for a dump to be cleared away! contradictory baraita.

16.  ורמינהו: מצא כלי טמון באשפה - נוטל ומכריז, שכן דרך אשפה לפנות! -

17.  Said R. Zevid: There is no difficulty. The one refers to casks and cups; the other to knives and forks: in the case of casks and cups, he must not touch them;  in the case of knives and forks, he must take and announce them.  resolution of mishna and baraita through different ukimtot

17.  אמר רב זביד: לא קשיא: הא - בכובי וכסי, הא - בסכיני והמניק. בכובי וכסי - לא יגע, בסכיני והמניק - נוטל ומכריז.

18.  R. Papa said: Both refer to casks and cups, yet there is no difficulty. The one refers to a dump that is regularly cleared away; the other, to one that is not cleared away regularly. alternate resolution

18.  רב פפא אמר: הא והא בכובי וכסי, ולא קשיא; כאן - באשפה העשויה לפנות, כאן - באשפה שאינה עשויה לפנות. -

19.  'A dump which is regularly cleared away'!  But then it is a deliberate loss!? difficulty with above resolution

19.  אשפה העשויה לפנות אבידה מדעת היא! -

20.  [Say,] rather, it refers to a dump which is not regularly cleared away, but he [its owner] decided to clear it out. refinement of the ukimta to avoid difficulty

20.  אלא, באשפה שאינה עשויה לפנות, ונמלך עליה לפנותה.

21. For R. Papa, it is well; that is why [the baraita] states:  "'because it is it is normal for a dump to be cleared away."  But according to R. Zevid, what is meant by, 'because it is normal for a dumpto be cleared away'? reference to the text of the mishna that is difficult according to the first resolution of the contradiction (17) but not the second(18-20).

21.  בשלמא לרב פפא - היינו דקתני שכן דרך אשפה לפנות, אלא לרב זביד מאי שכן דרך אשפה לפנות? -

22.  [This:] Because it is the nature of a dump that small articles are removed to it. Explanation of the mishna according to (17).

22.  שכן דרך אשפה לפנות לה כלים קטנים.



Selections from Rashi, daf 25a-25b.


Rashi Text

ke-sulam, like a ladder -  most of the middle one on top of the bottom one, most of the top one on top of the middle, like stairs (or steps) that are called (in Old French) "ashkolinush".

כסולם - רוב אמצעי על התחתון, ורוב העליון על האמצעי, כמו מעלות שקורין אשקולינו"ש.

peshot mei-ha, derive from this - that is , [derive] from R. Nachman ['s statement] one answer.

פשוט מהא - דרב נחמן חדא.

kol she-ilu makhnis kh', wherever one can insert etc., - and if they are [arranged] like a ladder they can be taken up as one.

כל שאילו מכניס כו' - וכי הוו כסולם - ניטלים בבת אחת.

mekuseh, lo yiga bo, [if] covered, one should not touch it - Since this is not a lost object that one is commanded not to ignore - since it is protected.

מכוסה לא יגע בו - דאין זו אבידה שיהא מוזהר עליה בלא תוכל להתעלם - דמשתמר הוא.

kovi ve-kasi, casks, and cups - [these] are deliberately hidden, and one should not touch them.

כובי וכסי - טמונים מדעת הואי, ולא יגע בהן.

sakinei ve-hemnik, knives and forks - [these] are small utensils.  [we may presume] that they are lost objects that were [mistakenly] thrown out with the trash from the house.  Later [the gemara] asks about the meaning of "for a dump is liable to be removed."

סכיני והמניק - שהן כלים קטנים - אבדה הן, שהשליכם שם עם האשפה שהוציאם מן הבית, ולקמן פריך: מאי שכן דרך אשפה לפנות?


Key Gemara Terms

dilma: perhaps, maybe



hilkakh: therefore, hence



General vocabulary

avnei beit kulis:  lit.  stones of the house of Kulis. "Kulis" is short for Merculis, which is a version of Mercury.  The Roman god Mercury was the god of the crossroads.  Statues honouring him were erected at crossroads and a small pile of stones was placed at the side of the road. Each traveller could make an addition to the pile.  To do so was, of course, forbidden idol worship.

אבני בית קוליס

afuki:  spent, took out הוציא


atzan'ainhu: hid, concealed it.

הצניע אותו

 אצנעינהו (צנע)

dilma: perhaps, maybe



hilkakh: therefore, hence


maraihu:  their owner, their master


keisam:  sliver of wood


shavak (shavkinhu):  left, leave, abandon (them)

עזב, עזב אותם

שבק (שבקינהו)