Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Returning Lost Objects Part 9 1

Last week we discussed situations where one finds lost objects that do not have a simun. We saw that there were circumstances where the finder is not permitted to keep the item for himself, rather if he picks it up he must guard it until Eliyahu HaNavi (The Prophet) comes and reveals its true owner.

One example of this is when a person finds a lost object of which the owner has not become aware of its lost status. In such a case, one who finds it and picks it up cannot keep it for himself and cannot return it to its place, rather he must guard it until Eliyahu comes.

It is important to note that this law applies in particular when the finder picks up the item. His lifting it up constitutes a kind of acquisition which obligates him in looking after the item until Eliyahu comes. The question arises of what is the law if one finds such an item on the ground that clearly has no simun and of which it is likely that the owners are not yet aware of the loss. Must the owner pick it up and thereby place upon himself the responsibility of guarding the item or can he ignore it and leave it on the floor? There is a difference of agreement among the halachic authorities in this issue, however, many hold that one can leave it on the floor and therefore this is an acceptable course of action[2] .

There is one final exception to the law that one can keep an item that has no simun[3] . If such an item was found in a place where Torah scholars are found then the finder must announce the find. Even though there is no simun, we consider that a Torah scholar will not lie about such an item and therefore if he says that he recognizes the item as being his, then we believe him and return it to him. This also applies to a G-d fearing person even if he is not learned in Torah, provided that he is known as one who never lies. However, if the lost item is new then one can keep it because the owner could not have become familiar enough with it to be able to recognize it.


1. Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
2. Heard from Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits Shlita. See Rabbi Bodner's book, page 170 for a detailed account of the opinions in this dispute.
3. Even though it is clear that the owner is aware of the loss and has already given up hope of ever retrieving it.


Text Copyright 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Paradoxical Lot
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Of Threads and Shoelaces
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Lesson of Avraham
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

Outsiders
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Jews On the Move
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Moral of the Story
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The chessed of Avraham
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Lech Lecha
- 5769

> Entering the Land of Canaan
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Lech Lecha
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

An Uplifting Experience
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

ArtScroll

Every Drop Matters
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

The Treaty
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Suicide Moms
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Neither a Thread Nor a Shoelace
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information