web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Lost Cap

Business-Halacha-logo

Hymie was visiting Israel and enjoying an afternoon with his grandchildren in the park. After pushing them on the swings and watching them slither down the slides, he went to sit down on a bench in the corner of the park.

He noticed a cap sitting there next to him. “Is this your cap?” he asked a person standing nearby.

“No,” the person replied. “It was here when I came.”

After resting for a few minutes, Hymie asked some other people in the park if they knew whose the cap was, but nobody knew. He turned to his wife and asked, “Should I take the cap home and try to return it?”

“How will you return it?” she asked.

“I’ll put up a sign in the nearby shul with my phone number,” said Hymie. “That’s a way of publicizing.”

“Who says that the person who lost the cap davens in that shul?” she said. “Maybe it was a visitor who just came to the park.”

“I could also put up a sign on the bulletin board in the park,” suggested Hymie.

“That’s a good idea,” said his wife. “But the signs on the bulletin board tend to get covered or torn down quickly. Anyway, the person who lost the cap may not even bother to look at the bulletin board. He might simply come back to check the bench, and assume that someone walked off with his cap. Maybe it’s best to leave it here and hope that owner will come back in the next day or two.”

“But what about the mitzvah of hashavas aveidah?” protested Hymie. “I’m not allowed to ignore a lost item, as it says, ‘Lo tuchal lehis’alem – do not ignore.’”

“I know that, but we’ve already amassed a whole collection of lost caps, kippas, and shirts,” she said. “We’ve put up signs, but almost no one has ever called to claim the item, other than a couple of valuable items. I almost feel that by taking the cap you’re doing the owner a disservice. It’s not likely that someone else will take it; if you leave it, maybe he’ll come back and find it.”

“I know what you mean,” replied Hymie, “but I don’t think the laws of hashavas aveidah allow that. I wouldn’t do such a thing without consulting Rabbi Dayan.”

Hymie called Rabbi Dayan. “I’m standing in a ginah (public park) and see a cap sitting on the bench,” he said. “Should I take it home and try to return it, or just leave it?”

“The purpose of hashavas aveidah is to ensure that the item returns to its owner,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Therefore, if the item appears to have been placed there intentionally you should not touch it, but leave it where it is. The owner will likely come back to look for it there.” (C.M. 260:9)

“What if I’m not sure whether the item was placed there intentionally?” asked Hymie.

“If you’re unsure, the Rama [260:10] differentiates among three cases,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “It also depends on whether the item has a siman (identifying feature) or not.

“First case, where the item was left in a secure place, you should not touch it. However, it you already took it home: If there is a siman – you must publicize the item. If there is no siman – you should hold it until Eliyahu HaNavi comes and clarifies whose it is.

“Conversely, if the place is not at all secure, the item should not be left there. If there is a siman – you should take it home and publicize what you found. If there is no siman – you may keep the item.

“The third case is where the place is partially secure, such as your case. If there is a siman – the Shulchan Aruch, following the Rambam, rules you should not touch the item, but the Rama and almost all other authorities rule you should take it home and publicize. If there is no siman – you should leave the item there.” (Shach 260:24)

“So if the cap has a siman I should take it home and publicize, but if there is no siman I should l leave it,” summarized Hymie.

“So it would seem, but nowadays people rarely search signs for non-valuable items; it is unlikely you will succeed in returning the item,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Therefore, Rav Y.S. Elyashiv, zt”l, ruled that if the item is not valuable and might have be placed there – it is preferable to leave it, even if there is a siman; perhaps the owner will return. Thus, you should leave the cap where it is. However, if the item is a valuable hat that the owner would search for and had a siman – you should take it home and publicize.” (Hashavas Aveidah K’halacha 1:9)

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 “Lost Cap”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Arab butchers in the Har Nof massacre left Canadian-Israeli Howie Rothman in a coma. Above: Rothman and two of his children.
Canadian-Israeli in Coma from Har Nof Massacre
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Business-Halacha-logo

“That’s what I thought, so I returned the money to Aharon,” said Reuven. “But this morning, Shimon, who owes me $70, told me he left $70 for me under the table last week! Now I don’t know whether the $70 was connected to the note, and was Aharon’s for the purchase of sefarim, or was repayment to me from Shimon, unrelated to the note.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Ross picked up the bris kit. While driving home, he was stopped by armed thugs. They forced him out of the car and drove off with the bris kit inside.

“ ‘We’re almost out of stamps,’ I said. ‘I’ll be happy to run over to the post office and pick up a supply.’ ”

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

Some seforim on a nearby bookcase toppled over and knocked the esrog out of Lev’s hand. It fell to the ground and a piece broke off.

Mr. Fisher contacted Rabbi Dayan. “Am I allowed to use money of ma’aser kesafim to pay the shul for an aliyah that I bought?” he asked.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/lost-cap/2013/05/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: