Bava Metzia 16 - 22
- When the robber of a field who sold it to another purchases it from its original owner
- Selling a field which one has not yet purchased
- Which lost financial documents are returned to owner
- How someone achieves status of a confirmed liar
- The force of obligations imposed by rabbinical court
- Source for a widow from eirusin collecting ketubah
- Which lost financial documents are not returned to owner
- Why the lost get was returned to the Sage Rabbah bar Chanah
- Is emancipation a benefit for the slave
- Gift made by a dying person
- The confrontation between the Sage Rabbah and Rabbi Amram
- When a lost loan document is returned to borrower or to lender
- Which lost objects belong to finder and which must be returned
- If despair of recovering a lost object takes place after it has been found
A Challenging Comparison
- Bava Metzia 20b
The Sage Rabbah made a halachic decision in regard to returning a get (divorce document) to a messenger who claimed that he lost it, on the basis of an accepted ruling that a lost financial document can be returned in such a case, and that there is no concern that it may have belonged to another party with a similar name.
He was challenged by Rabbi Amram for comparing a case involving something as serious as divorce which is in the category of issur to one which is only of a monetary nature. In both an earlier gemara (18b) and a later one (27b) we do find such a comparison made. If simanim — identifying signs — are sufficient by Torah law for claiming ownership of lost property, then they also suffice for returning a get to one claiming he lost it. This seems to indicate that we need not distinguish between evidence in the serious issue of divorce and in the case of something less serious like a monetary document.
In explaining this approach, Rabbi Zvi Hersh Chayos points out that the basis for differentiating between monetary matters and those of issur is that in the former area the Rabbis have the power to expropriate ownership which is not applicable to cases of issur. But even in regard to marriage and divorce we find that when they find it absolutely necessary the Rabbis have the power to annul a marriage. Although this power is rarely utilized it does provide a basis for the challenging comparison between divorce and money.
What the Sages Say
"It is the nature of a man to constantly check the purse he is carrying (and is therefore immediately aware of losing).
- Rabbi Yitzchak - Bava Metzia 21b