web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



A Questionable Siman

Business-Halacha-logo

The yeshiva high school was hosting a father-son learning night. Yaakov and his father arrived early, so they stopped off at Yaakov’s dormitory room. Just outside the room, Yaakov noticed a quarter lying on the floor.

“Can I take the quarter?” Yaakov asked his father.

“There is no requirement of hashavas aveidah on loose coins,” said his father. “Loose coins probably fell inadvertently along the way and the owner has no way of identifying them. He’ll presumably notice the loss shortly afterward and abandon hope of reclaiming them.” (C.M. 262:11)

Yaakov then showed his father his shiur room, where they saw another quarter. “Seems like someone has a hole in his pocket,” Yaakov joked.

In the corner of the room they saw another three quarters in a triangular arrangement. “What about this?” Yaakov asked his father. “Do you think these also dropped out inadvertently?”

“What else could it be?” asked his father.

“Maybe some of the fellows were playing a game and forget the coins there,” Yaakov said. “What are the odds that they landed inadvertently in such a triangular formation?”

“I don’t know,” said his father. “Aren’t you learning Bava Metzia this year?”

“We’re still learning the first perek (chapter),” said Yaakov. “The laws of hashavas aveidah are in the second perek.”

“I’m not sure of the halacha in this case,” said his father. “One of the rebbeim should know, though.”

“Rabbi Dayan might be in the beis medrash when the learning begins,” said Yaakov. “He also has a son in the yeshiva. We can ask him.”

“Good idea,” said his father.

Yaakov and his father went to the beis medrash. Rabbi Dayan arrived shortly afterward with his son.

Yaakov and his father walked over. “We’re sorry to interrupt, but can we ask a quick halacha question?” Yaakov said.

“Go ahead,” said Rabbi Dayan.

“I found three coins in a triangular formation in one of the rooms,” said Yaakov. “Can I keep them or must I publicize them?”

“This arrangement of coins may be considered a siman, so you may not take them for yourself,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Rather, you should publicize them.”

“What do you mean, may be considered?” asked Yaakov.

“The Gemara [B.M. 25a] questions whether coins arranged in such a fashion serve as a siman – indicating intentional arrangement – or not,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “The question is whether they could have fallen unintentionally in this way. This question remains unresolved in the Gemara.”

“What happens, then?” asked Yaakov.

“The Rosh [B.M. 2:8] writes that because this issue remains unresolved we must be stringent, since hashavas aveidah entails a potential prohibition. Therefore, the finder must publicize the coins. Later in the same piece he writes that whenever there is doubt whether something was placed intentionally or not (safek hinuach), if the area is not secure, the item should be taken and publicized if there is a siman.”

“The Rosh [2:1] rules similarly in an earlier case, where a person left a certain small quantity of grain on his threshing floor. The question is whether he intends to return and collect it or he abandoned it for the taking. The Gemara concludes, teiko [unresolved]. Since the issue is unresolved, we apply safek d’oraysa l’chumra, and the finder must publicize the grain.”

“The Rambam [Hil. Aveidah 16:2], however, does not require publicizing the coins,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “He simply writes that, on account of doubt, one should not take the coins. This is his position (15:1) whenever one is unsure whether an item was left intentionally; even if it has a siman you should not take it. In the case of the threshing floor, he also writes that one should not take the grain, but if he did – he does not have to publicize it.”

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Questionable Siman

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Bibi: ‘Death From Above, Death From Below’ Will Not Continue
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-072514

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

126_masei_web

Parshat Masei: Rabbi Fohrman addresses the age-old question, are we our brother’s keeper?

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

“I’ll make you a deal,” he said. “If you pay monthly – it’s $4,500; if you pay six months up front – I’ll give it to you for $4,200.”

Business-Halacha-logo

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

“It is sometimes possible through hataras nedarim, nullification of vows,” replied Rabbi Dayan, “but it’s not simple for charity pledges.

Mr. Haber called Rabbi Dayan. “We sold various household items, including my bicycle, the refrigerator and some professional tools with the expectation of being relocated,” he said. “It turns out we’re staying. Can I annul those sales?”

“You cannot restrain Ari from building a fence on his property,” answered Rabbi Dayan.

“I would understand if I became sick and could not finish,” said Mr. Braun. “But here it was my choice to stop the work and go take care of my mother.”

“David is also entitled, since he is also learning,” Moshe replied. “He’ll be back in a few minutes. Anyway, I’m on a diet and didn’t take one for myself, so I don’t see any problem taking for him.”

Shlomo called Rabbi Dayan. “I lent someone money, and he now denies the loan,” he began. “If the opportunity presents itself, am I allowed to grab money from him?”

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/a-questionable-siman/2014/02/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: