Elu Metziot shiur #19, 25b -26a

  • Rav Joshua Amaru


Introduction to the Study of Talmud
By Rav Josh Amaru

Elu Metziot shiur #19,  25b -26a.

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 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. 

There is a new grammar lesson this week - Aramaic future tense.

   This week we begin from the mishna on the bottom of 25b.  Learn the mishna and the gemara until "de-shatikh tefei דשתיך טפי" on the top of 26a.  Lines 1-4 in the schematic analysis. 

    The mishna addresses the topic of objects found in a wall or the ruins of one.  The basic distinction made in the misha is between an ancient wall as opposed to a new wall.  In the former case, the finder may keep what he or she has found, while in the latter case, it depends: if the lost object was found closer to the inside of the wall, we must presume that it was placed there by the owner of the wall (i.e. the owner of the property the wall encloses).  If it was found closer to the outside of the wall, we presume that it was left there by some passerby, and the finder may keep it.  The mishna concludes with a statement to which we will turn shortly:  if the property enclosed by the wall was rented out, then even objects found inside the house (not to mention the wall) belong to the finder.

    Before we discuss the gemara, note the glaring problem with the mishna's ruling about objects found in walls.  Assume for the moment that the mishna's ruling is limited to items that have no simanim, so that is not the issue.  Even so, does the mishna's ruling fit what we have already learnt?  Is something that has been deliberately hidden considered a lost object that can be taken by the finder (after all, people rarely drop things into crevices in walls by accident)?  Rashi addresses this issue - look there in s.v. mi-chetzyo ve-lachutz מחציו ולחוץ.

    Rashi points out that the object placed in the wall is an example of "safek hinuach ספק הינוח"; i.e., an item that was possibly placed there deliberately by the owner.  As we saw earlier (see the gemara on the previous mishna and shiur #17), the rule in such cases is that one does not touch the object.  Since it may have been deliberately hidden there by the owner, one cannot presume yeush.  If so, why is the object permitted when found on the extenal side of a new wall? 

    Rashi gives us the answer, based on the gemara, but let us look at the gemara and see it there.  If you perceived this difficulty upon learning the mishna, then you should congratulate yourself - you are developng a "gemara kop" (Yiddish - a head for gemara).  If not, don't worry, just keep learning. 

    The gemara opens with a quote from an anonymous baraita that is an attempt to address precisely the problem stated above.  Why does the fact that the object was found in an old wall or a pile of stones give the finder the right to take it?  What about the person who placed it there?  The baraita claims that the reason that one may keep an object found under such circumstances is because it presumably belongs to the Amorites.  Who are the Amorites?  They cannot merely be non-Jews, for  although one is not obligated to return a lost object to a non-Jew, it is still forbidden to steal from them.  Rashi (s.v. shel emoriim של אמוריים) explains that the Amorites are the original inhabitants of the Land of Israel (whom we would call "Canaanites").  The object found in the old wall is presumed to have been left there long ago by a group of people who no longer exist.  Only under such circumstances can the finder consider the object to be ownerless and take it. 

    The difficulty with this is that there do not seem to be any grounds for assuming that an object found in an old wall or a pile of rubble must have belonged to the Amorites.  It could just as easily have been hidden there by a Jew, as the gemara points out.

In the text, I have followed Ritva's (Spain, 14th century) explanation that if the object is very rusty, we may presume either that the original owners were mityaesh or that they were Amorites.  Rashi, s.v. de-shatikh tefei דשתיך טפי, explains differently.  According to Rashi, if the object is very rusted, that serves as an indication that it belongs to the Amorites, since a more recent Jew would not have left it so long.  The implication is that the long lost object is permitted only if it can be established to belong to a group that have no property rights, i.e. the conquered Amorites.  If there is a chance that it belongs to a Jew or his descendants, or a non-Jew for that matter, it is not permitted since there can be no presumption of yeush for an object that has been hidden rather than lost. 

    However, this understanding of Rashi's is very difficult to maintain in light of the continuation of the sugya.  * In the next section of the mishna we learn that the finder can keep something found in a new wall so long as there are no indications that it belongs to the owner of the property surrounded by the wall.  Since the object in the new wall was also most likely placed there, and not by Amorites, how is this permitted?  The gemara ignores this question, and the Tosafot, with other Rishonim in their wake, explain that the discussion assumes the ukimta of a rusted object throughout.  Since it has been there long enough to rust, we may assume that even a Jewish owner has given up on it, even though it may have a siman and was hidden there deliberately.  This assumption of yeush does not apply to items placed there by the owner of the property, since owners store things on their own property indefinitely. 

    If we follow the Tosafot's interpretation - and it is hard not to - we must conclude that an indication of long neglect, like rust, is sufficient to establish yeush even for things that have been placed where they are found.  It is not necessary to establish that the object originally belonged to Amorites. 

   The gemara responds to this difficulty by adding a new condition - the object must already by very rusty (or the equivalent), indicating that it was not placed there recently and either dates back to the Amorites or has been abandoned by its owner.  Only then can the finder keep it.  Otherwise, he or she must not touch it, as is the rule with anything that has been deliberately placed rather than lost. 

Learn now on 26a from "be-kotel chadash בכותל חדש" until "ka mashma lan קא משמע לן".  Lines 5-11 in the schematic analysis.

    The gemara now turns to the second case in the mishna, of something found hidden in a new wall.  Rav Ashi ruled that a knife or a purse found in a wall belongs to the finder on the outside so long as the handle or strap faces outside.  Rav Ashi's logic is clear -  the direction of the handle indicates from where the object was placed.  If the handle faces inside, then presumably the object was put there by the owner of the property and there is no reason to assume that he was mityaesh.  If the handle faces outside, then the object was put there by some passerby and we can assume yeush (see * in accompanying note for why this is so). 

    The difficulty with Rav Ashi's ruling lies not in its internal logic, which is impeccable, but in the fact that it seems to contradict the mishna.  The mishna offers a different way to establish who must have placed the object in the wall, based upon the position of the object - on which side of the wall is it found.  According to Rav Ashi, the nearness of the object to a particular side is immaterial in the the face of the evidence of the direction of the handle.  The gemara bridges the gap between Rav Ashi's position and the mishna by making an ukimta of the mishna - the mishna refers to objects like silver ingots or cotton stuffing  that have no handles.  In such simpler cases we fall back on position as a means of deciding the origin of the object. 

    At this point the gemara quotes a baraita that refers to a wall that "was full of them"; i.e., the lost object filled the whole wall from side to side, without being closer to one side or the other.  The rule in such a case is that the owner of the house (or property) divides up the value of the object with the finder.  Rambam points out that the owner's right to the object is not automatic.  If he admits that the he did not put the object there, it belongs to the finder even if it is closer to the inside of the wall. 


*On the face of it, this is a very odd question.  Why is it obvious that when the the object fills the whole width of the wall it must be divided?  Dividing the object between the two claimants is almost never the optimal solution, since it almost always involves giving half to the wrong person.  In halakha, depending on the circumstances, dividing property whose ownership is in question is only one of several options. 

Ritva points out that the circumstances here are analogous to a case where two people are both physically holding a disputed object at the same time.  The rule then is to divide the object.  Accordingly, it is obvious to the gemara that here too the object must be divided.

    The gemara asks:  is that not the obvious solution?*   What other solution is possible when both the owner and the finder claim the object is theirs and its position supports both of their claims equally?  The gemara explains that we always follow the present position of the object.  Even when the the object is found in a wall, or crevice which is sloped, such that it is possible that the object was on one side and has slid to the middle, we still divide it evenly.  

    Learn now from "Im haya maskiro le-acherim אם היה משכירו לאחרים"  until "be-da'atayhu le-migzala בדעתייהו למיגזלה".  Lines 12-20 in the schematic analysis.

    We now turn to the last case mentioned in the mishna.  The owner's right to objects found in the wall facing the inside (or closer to the inside) is not a function of his or her ownership per se but because we assume that only the owner would have hidden something in the wall from that side.  If there have been multiple residents on the property, e.g., the owner rented it out, then the finder may keep the object he or she discovers.  Presumably the object  was left by one of the previous residents, who has since been mityaesh. 

This discussion, of a house that was rented to tenants, is no longer concerned with the issue of an object that has been deliberately hidden, which the finder must not touch.  Since the tenants are no longer in the house, anything they left there is lost to them and the question then becomes whether the origninal owner was mityaesh

    The 'follow the last resident' principle suggested here must therefore take yeush into account.  If such a rule applies, the last resident will not be mityaesh, as he knows that anything found in the house can easily be identified as his.

    The gemara asks:  why does the object belong to the finder?  What about the last resident of the property?  Should we not regard him or her as taking the place of the owner in the previous discussion, so that items found on the property are presumed to belong to him?

    There is a precedent for following the last resident.  In order to understand the precedent, we need some introduction:  There is a commandment called aliya la-regel עליה לרגל, literally 'going up on the festival.'  The commandment entails that all adult male Jews visit the Temple on the the three festivals, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot and bring a sacrifice.  Another commandment relevant to our precedent is that of ma'aser sheni מעשר שני, literally, the second tithe.  This commandment entails that a tenth of all produce grown in the Land of Israel has a special status.  It has a certain level of kedusha, of holiness, and may be eaten only within the walls of Jerusalem.  The Torah does not demand that every farmer bring so much produce to Jerusalem.  Instead, one may redeem the produce onto money, such that the kedusha transfers to the money and the produce becomes chulin, unconsecrated and may be eaten anywhere.  This money can then be brought to Jerusalem where one can buy foodstuffs which will then assume the kedusha that had been borne by the money, which in turn reverts to chulin.  One may even buy animals for sacrifice (with certain exceptions which we will not elaborate upon) with the ma'aser sheni money.

    With all this in mind, we can understand the mishna (Shekalim 7:2) that states three principles about money found in Jerusalem during the time of the Temple: 

 1. Money found in the animal market in Jerusalem is always assumed to be ma'aser sheni money.  See Rashi s.v. ma'aser מעשר

2. Money found in [the rest of] Jerusalem (i.e. not in the animal market) during the regel is ma'aser sheni, during the rest of the year it is chulin; .  See Rashi s.v. u-veyerushalayim ובירושלים

3.  Money found on the Temple Mount, at all times,  is assumed to be chulin; See Rashi s.v. u-vehar habayit ובהר הבית

Rashi explains each one of these rules: 

1.  Since most of the animals were bought with ma'aser money, and one can assume that money found in the market where the animals were sold was lost by someone on his way to buy an animal, one must regard that money as ma'aser money with all of the limitations thereof.

2.  The status of money found elsewhere in Jerusalem depends upon the season.  During the regel, when Jerusalem is overflowing with people who are mostly spending ma'aser money, we assume that any money found is ma'aser.  The reason we can safely ignore the possibility that the money was lost before the regel will be explained shortly.  During the rest of the year, since the majority of the money in Jerusalem was not ma'aser, found money was ruled to be chulin.

3.   Since the overall majority of money in the city, year-round, is chulin, though during the regel the majority is ma'aser, we cannot disregard this overall majority, since there is no way of establishing when this money was lost.  Therefore, on the Temple Mount, all money that is found is ruled to be chulin

All three of these cases are examples of the halakhic principle that in establishing the status of an object, we follow the status of the majority of the set of objects from which it is drawn.  In each case, the relevant set is different.  This is clear in (1) where we can ignore the less focused set of all of Jerusalem, since the money was found on the street of the animal sellers.  There, since the majority of people in that street are carrying - and losing - ma'aser money, we regard any money found there as ma'aser. The distinction between (2) and (3) is more difficult:  Why is the rule on the Temple Mount different?

  R. Shemaia b. Ze'ira explained this distinction in the gemara.  Since the streets of Jerusalem were regularly swept, any lost money will be removed.  Thus any money found in the streets of Jerusalem may be presumed to have been lost recently. For this reason, the year-round majority can be ignored and the status of the money is determined only by recent conditions, that is, whether the majority of the money lost recently was ma'aser or chulin.  Here we find a difference between the regel and the rest of the year and the halakha follows accordingly.  The Temple Mount, however, was not swept regularly, so money found there could have fallen at any time.  Thus the majority is determined by looking at the whole year. 

    How is all this relevant to our sugya, of objects found in a house that has been rented to successive tenants?  The gemara explains that this mishna about ma'aser money sets a precedent:  In the streets of Jerusalem, the majority is set according to the present, i.e. whether or not it is the regel, since the streets were swept every day.  Likewise, the rule concerning the successive tenants of the house should follow the present, i.e. the last tenant.  Since it can be assumed that each tenant, when he or she leaves, clears out all of his or her belongings, the likelihood is that anything found in the house belonged to the most recent tenant.  See Rashi s.v. hakha nami הכא נמי who elaborates this point.  If this is the case, how do we explain the mishna's ruling that if the owner rented the house out, then the finder may keep even items found in the house (and not just in the wall facing reshut ha-rabim)!

    Resh Lakish, in the name of Bar Kapara, explains that the mishna is not referring to a case of successive tenants.  In such a case the rule would indeed be that the last tenant is presumed to be the owner of anything in the house.  Rather, the mishna's case is one where the house was rented to three Jews at once.  Rashi, s.v. le-shelosha yisrael לשלשה ישראל, explains that an object found in the house is permitted under such circumstances because the tenant who has lost something assumes that one of the others has found it but since there are two others, he does not know who to ask.  Under such circumstances, we can assume yeush.

    The gemara then raises a difficulty with this interpretation.  It implies that even where the majority is Jewish, the halakha is in accordance with R. Shimon ben Elazar,  that an object found in a public place is permitted.  Previously we have gone to great lengths to avoid reaching this conclusion!  R. Menashia bar Ya'akov offers an alternative:  the rule in the mishna that one may keep something found in a house that has been rented out is limited to houses that have been rented to non-Jews.  Since there is no obligation to return their lost objects, and they were last in the house, the finder may keep it. 

Note that the gemara quotes R. Menashia bar Ya'akov's position as requiring three non-Jews.  Rashi s.v. shelosha nokhrim שלשה נוכרים, points out that this is merely literary flourish, paralleling the three Jews in Resh Lakish's position.  In fact, so long as he is the last, even if one non-Jew stayed in the house, objects found therein would be permitted.

    R. Nachman, in Raba b. Abuha's name, defends Resh Lakish's position that even when the house was rented to three Jews, lost objects therein are permitted to the finder.  According to Rav Nachman, this does not imply that in general, halakha is like R. Shimon ben Elazar and objects found in public places are always permitted, even if the majority of passersby were Jewish. 

    Rav Nachman claims that the case of a private house with at least three tenants is different from a public place.  In a public place, so long as the majority is Jewish, the owner, if he has a siman, does not give up hope that a fellow Jew will find it and announce it.  In the private house, however, the person who lost something would assume that it was found by one of the other tenants.  He would ask them and if they did not give it back he would be mityaesh, assuming that they intended to steal it.  For this reason, the person who comes across the object after all the tenants have left, even if it has a siman, may keep what he finds.

    In this week's shiur we have shifted the focus of our discussion of the laws of lost objects.  Until now the status of a lost object was largely understood to be a function of whether it had simanim.  In this week's shiur, we have discussed two different situations in which the presence or absence of simanim do not determine the rule for the finder.   In one case we saw that something deliberately hidden may still be permitted if there is some indication that the person who hid it has abandoned it (for instance, if it has rusted).  In another case, we saw that even objects found in a private house may be permitted to the finder, at least according to Rav Nachman, if there is reason to assume that the previous residents have been mityaesh

    You may have noted that we made use of Rashi a great deal in this shiur.  This expansion is due to two factors. First, this particular sugya is fairly oblique with a lot of the argument left to the reader to figure out for himself of herself.  In cases like these, Rashi is a great help.  In addition, my goal in this shiur is to push you, dear reader to greater independence in learning.  Making use of Rashi is the most powerful tool available to understand the gemara. 


Schematic Analysis #19

Schematic analysis from the mishna at the bottom of 25a until "be-da'atayhu le-migzala בדעתייהו למיגזלה" at the bottom of 26a.

Translation of gemara Schematic Analysis Text of gemara 25b-26a.

1.  MISHNAH. If one finds [an article] in a pile of rubble or in an old wall, it belongs to him.  If one finds [something] in a new wall:  in the outer half [of the wall], it belongs to him; in the inner half, it belongs to the owner of the house.  If the house used to be rented to others, even [items found] in the house belong to him.  


1.  מתני'. מצא בגל ובכותל ישן - הרי אלו שלו. מצא בכותל חדש, מחציו ולחוץ - שלו, מחציו ולפנים - של בעל הבית. אם היה משכירו לאחרים - אפילו בתוך הבית הרי אלו שלו.  

2.  GEMARA. A Tana taught: Because he [the finder] can say to him,  They belonged to Amorites.  

Baraita explaining the mishna

2.  גמרא. תנא, מפני שיכול לומר לו: של אמוריים הן.

3. Do then only Amorites hide objects. and not Israelites? Difficulty with above baraita.

3.  אטו אמורים מצנעי, ישראל לא מצנעי?

4.  This holds good only [daf 26a] if it [the find] is exceedingly rusty. ukimta resolving the difficulty with the baraita.

4.  לא צריכא, [דף כו עמ' א] דשתיך טפי.

5. ...in a new wall:  in the outer half [of the wall], it belongs to him; in the inner half, it belongs to the owner of the house. Quote from the mishna.

5.  בכותל חדש מחציו ולחוץ שלו מחציו ולפנים של בעל הבית.

6.  R. Ashi said: A knife follows its handle, and a purse its straps.   Halakhic ruling.

6.  אמר רב אשי: סכינא - בתר קתא, וכיסא בתר שנציה.

7.  Then when our mishna states, "in the outer half [of the wall], it belongs to him; in the inner half, it belongs to the owner of the house:" let us see whether the handle or the straps points outwards or inwards, whether the straps point outwards or inwards? 

Difficulty with the mishna in light of the above ruling.

7.  ואלא מתניתין, דקתני מחציו ולחוץ שלו מחציו ולפנים של בעל הבית ולחזי, אי קתא לגאו אי קתא לבר, אי שנציה לגאו אי שנציה לבר!

8.  The mishna refers to cotton stuffing and ingots.


Ukimta of the mishna that resolves the difficulty.

8.  מתניתין באודרא ונסכא.

9. A Tana taught: If the wall [cavity] was filled therewith, they divide. Halakhic ruling in a baraita.

9.  תנא: אם היה כותל ממולא מהן - חולקין.    

10. But is that not obvious? question regarding baraita.

10.  פשיטא!

11.  It is necessary [to state this]:  when it [the cavity or the wall] slopes to one side: you might have said that it [the article found there] had slid down. [Therefore,] it teaches us [otherwise]. ukimta explaining the need for the baraita.

11. - לא צריכא דמשפע בחד גיסא, מהו דתימא אשתפוכי אישתפוך, קא משמע לן.

12.   If the house used to be rented to others, even [items found] in the house belong to him.   Quote from the mishna.

12.  אם היה משכירו לאחרים אפילו (מצא) בתוך הבית הרי אלו שלו.

13.  Why so: follow the last [tenant]?  Difficulty with the mishna.

13.  ואמאי? ליזיל בתר בתרא!

14.  Did we not learn [in a mishna]: Money found in front of cattle dealers at all times is [accounted as] tithe; on the Temple Mount, it is chulin; in [the rest of] Jerusalem, at any other part of the year, it is chulin; at the Regel, it is tithe.  And R. Shemaia b. Ze'ira explained: What is the reason? Because the streets of Jerusalem were swept daily. Quote from a mishna and attending comment that seems to contradict our mishna.

14.  מי לא תנן: מעות שנמצאו לפני סוחרי בהמה - לעולם מעשר, בהר הבית - חולין. ובירושלים, בשאר ימות השנה - חולין, בשעת הרגל - הכל מעשר, ואמר רבי שמעיה בר זעירא: מאי טעמא - הואיל ושוקי ירושלים עשוין להתכבד בכל יום. 

15.  Thus we say: the earlier [coins lost] have gone, and these [coins] are different ones. So here too, the earlier [deposits] have gone, and these belong to the last [tenant]? Explanation how above quote contradicts our mishna

15.  אלמא אמרינן: קמאי קמאי אזלו, והני אחריני נינהו. הכא נמי, קמא קמא אזל והני דבתרא הוא!

16.  Said Resh Lakish in the name of Bar Kapara: It refers, [to a case] like where he [the owner of the house] had let it as a guesthouse to three people [simultaneously].  Ukimta of our mishna that resolves the contradiction. 

16. אמר ריש לקיש משום בר קפרא: כגון שעשאו פונדק לשלשה ישראל.

17.  Then you must infer that the halachah agrees with R. Shimon b. Elazar even where the majority is Jewish!  Difficulty with the implication of above resolution.

17. שמע מינה הלכה כרבי שמעון בן אלעזר אפילו ברוב ישראל!

18.  Instead, said R. Menashia b. Jacob, it refers, [to a case] like where he had let it as a guesthouse to three non-Jews. Alternative ukimta of our mishna that resolves the contradiction. 

18.  אלא אמר רב מנשיא בר יעקב: כגון שעשאו פונדק לשלשה נכרים.

19.  R. Nachman said in Raba b. Abuha's name: Even if you say [that it refers to a case of] three Jews.  Alternative ukimta of our mishna that resolves the contradiction. 

19.  רב נחמן אמר רבה בר אבוה: אפילו תימא לשלשה ישראל,

20.  What then is the explanation [of the mishna's ruling]? He who lost it is mityaesh:  he says to himself: 'since no other person but these was with me, and I have asked [them] several times to return it to me, but they did return [it] to me. Will they now return it!  If they had intended to return it, they would have returned it to me,  hence the reason of their not returning it to me is that they intend stealing it.' Explanation of the above resolution.

20.  מאי טעמא? ההוא דנפל מיניה מיאש. מימר אמר: מכדי איניש אחרינא לא הוה בהדי אלא הני, אמרי קמייהו כמה זמני ליהדרו לי, ולא הדרו לי, והשתא ליהדרו? אי דעתייהו לאהדורה - אהדרוה ניהלי, והאי דלא אהדרוה לי - בדעתייהו למיגזלה.



Selections from Rashi, daf 25b-26a.


Rashi Text

mi-chetzyo ve-lachutz, in the outer half - He found it in one of the holes in the wall that is next to reshut ha-rabim.  If [it was found] within the outer half of the width of the wall, it belongs to him.  We say that one of the people from reshut ha-rabim put it there and forgot [it].  Even though we said above that [something] that was possibly placed (rather than dropped), one should not take - and this is a case of possible placement -  in the gemara we understand the mishna to be referring to an object that is very rusted, in which there is yeush on the part of the owner.

מחציו ולחוץ - באחד מחורי כותל הסמוכים לרשות הרבים מצאה, מחצי עוביו של כותל ולחוץ - שלו, דאמרינן אחד מבני רשות הרבים נתנו שם ושכח, דאף על גב דאמרן לעיל ספק הינוח לא יטול, והאי הינוח הוא - הא מוקמינן למתניתין בגמרא דשתיך טפי, דאיכא יאוש בעלים.

shel emoriim, of the Amorites - those that our forefathers replaced [when they conquered the land of Israel].

של אמוריים - שהורישו אבותינו היו.

de-shatikh tefei - it is very rusted, since he (the Jew who may have placed it there) would not leave it there so long.

דשתיך טפי - העלו חלודה רבה, דכולי האי לא שביק להו.

ma'aser, tithe - most of the meat eaten in Jerusalem is ma'aser (i.e. bought with ma'aser money and consecrated as ma'aser) since one does not stay in Jerusalem until one finishes all of one's ma'aser.  [Instead,]  one gives the ma'aser money to the poor of the city or to one's friends who are residents of the city.  Most of the ma'aser money is used to buy animals for shelamim (i.e. a peace-offering, which is eaten by the person who brings the sacrifice), as we derive from the coincedence of the word "sham" [that it is permitted to buyt shelamim with ma'aser money] in tractate Menachot (82a).

מעשר - שרוב בשר הנאכל בירושלים מעשר, לפי שאין אדם שוהה בירושלים עד שיאכל כל מעשרותיו, ונותן מעות מעשר לעניי העיר או לאוהביו יושבי העיר, ורוב הוצאות מעשר לוקחין בהן בהמות לשלמים, כדגמר שם שם מעשר משלמים, במסכת מנחות (פב, א).

u-vehar ha-bayit chulin, and on the Temple Mount, they are chulin:  Even during the regel (the festival).  Even though the majority of the money in the city is ma'aser [money], as the olei ha-regel (pilgrims fulfilling the commandment of going to the Temple on the regel) bring their ma'aser money to eat [while in Jerusalem], we do not ignore the majority [of money found on the Temple Mount] of the whole year and follow the majority of the the regel.  Rather, we say, this money fell here before the regel, and it is chulin.

ובהר הבית חולין - ואפילו בשעת הרגל, ואף על פי שרוב מעות שבעיר מעשר, שעולי רגלים מביאין מעות מעשרותיהן לאכלם - לא שבקינן רובא דשתא ואזלינן בתר רגל, אלא אמרינן: מלפני הרגל נפלו כאן, וחולין הן.

u-veyerushalayim, in Jerusalem - in its other marketplaces (besides where they sell animals).

ובירושלים - בשאר שווקים שבה.

hakha nami, here too - A normal tenant, when he leaves, looks in all corners [of the house] and [only then] leaves.  We should say:  the last ones forgot it, for if earlier ones had forgotten it, the last [tenants] would have found it. 

הכא נמי - סתם שוכר בית כשהוא יוצא מחפש כל זויותיו, ונוטל את שלו ויוצא, ונימא: האחרונים שכחוהו, שאילו הראשונים שכחוהו - כבר מצאו האחרונים.

le-shelosha yisrael, to three Jews - at the same time, and all the more so if it was non-Jews.  The person who lost it is mityaesh, since he does not know who to ask for it. 

לשלשה ישראל - בבת אחת, וכל שכן אם היו נכרים, ומי שנפל ממנו מיאש, שלא ידע ממאן נבעי.

shelosha nokhrim, three non-Jews - since [the gemara] used [the number] three with reference to Jews, it used it also with reference to non-Jews.  In fact, even one [non-Jew would suffice] so long as he is the last [tenant].

שלשה נכרים - איידי דנקט שלשה גבי ישראל נקט נמי גבי נכרים, והוא הדין חד ובלבד שיהא אחרון.


Key Gemara Terms

batra:  the last האחרון


le-bar:  towards the outside.



le-go:  towards the inside.


לגאו (לגו)

mahu de-teima... ka mashma lan:  lit.  "what would you say... it teaches us (the opposite).  The gemara uses this expression to explain some seemingly unnecessary statement.  "mahu de-teima" introduces the notion that could otherwise have been entertained.  When this is followed by "ka mashma lan",  we are to understand that the additional statement was added to exclude this possibility. 

מהו דתימא... קא משמע לן

mi-khedi:  such that, since


nihali:  to me




General vocabulary

udra:  cotton, fleece


batra:  the last



gisa: side.



hadar, leihadru:  returned, they will return

החזיר, יחזירו

הדר, ליהדרו

chulin:  not consecrated, i.e. anything that has not been consecrated to the Temple and thus does not have special limitations and laws that apply to it. 


le-bar:  towards the outside.



le-go:  towards the inside.


לגאו (לגו)

leichzi:  let us see


mahu de-teima... ka mashma lan:  lit.  "what would you say... it teaches us (the opposite).  The gemara uses this expression to explain some seemingly unnecessary statement.  "mahu de-teima" introduces the notion that could otherwise have been entertained.  When this is followed by "ka mashma lan",  we are to understand that the additional statement was added to exclude this possibility. 

מהו דתימא... קא משמע לן

mi-khedi:  such that, since


metzan'i: (they) hide, conceal (in the wall). מצניעים

מצנעי (צנע)

nihali:  to me



nascha:  silver ingot


pundak:  hotel, guesthouse.


kata:  knife handle


kamai kamai azlu: the first ones went first.

קמאי קמאי אזלו

Regel:  one of the three festivals, Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukot, in which all male Jews are commanded to visit the Temple and bring sacrifices.


shantzei:  its drawstrings.