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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
[apparently] only if he [the finder] did use it. But if not, [all would agree] that if it is lost he is free [from responsibility]. Shall we say that this refutes R. Joseph? For it has been stated. A bailee of lost property: Rabbah ruled, he ranks as an unpaid bailee; R. Joseph maintained. as a paid bailee!1 — R. Joseph can answer you. As for theft and loss, all agree that he is responsible. They differ only in respect to [unavoidable] accidents, for which a borrower [alone is responsible]. R. Tarfon holds: The Rabbis permitted him [the finder] to use it, therefore he is a borrower in respect thereto. Whilst R. Akiba holds that the Rabbis did not permit him to use it, therefore he is not a borrower in respect thereto. If so, why does R. Akiba say 'THEREFORE'? For if you agree that they differ concerning theft and loss, it is well; hence it is taught. R. AKIBA MAINTAINED, HE MUST NOT USE IT; THEREFORE IF IT IS LOST HE BEARS NO RESPONSIBILITY. For I might think he is a paid bailee, in accordance with R. Joseph's view, and responsible for theft and loss; hence we are informed, 'THEREFORE' [etc.] i.e., since you say that he may not use it, he is not a paid bailee, nor is he responsible for theft and loss. But if you say that all agree that he is responsible for theft and loss, whilst they differ only in respect of [unpreventable] accidents, for which a borrower [alone is responsible], what is the meaning of R. Akiba's 'THEREFORE'? Surely he [the Tanna] should have stated thus: R. AKIBA MAINTAINED, HE MUST NOT USE IT [and no more]; then I would have known myself that since he may not use it, he is not a borrower, hence not responsible. What then is the need of R. Akiba's 'THEREFORE'?2 — On account of R. Tarfon's 'THEREFORE'.3 And what is the purpose of R. Tarfon's 'THEREFORE'? — He means this: Since the Rabbis permitted him to use it, it is as though he had done so,4 and he is [therefore] held responsible for it. But it is taught, [IF] IT IS LOST!5
Baba Mezi'a 29b
— It is in accordance with Rabbah; for Rabbah said [elsewhere]: They were stolen by armed robbers: whilst 'lost' means that his ship foundered at sea.1
Rab. Judah said in Samuel's name: The halachah is as R. Tarfon. Rehabah had in his charge an orphan's money. He went before R. Joseph and enquired. 'May I use it?' He replied, 'Thus did Rab Judah say in Samuel's name, The halachah is as R. Tarfon. Thereupon Abaye protested, But was it not stated thereon: R. Helbo said in R. Huna's name: This refers only to the purchase price of a lost article, since he took trouble therein,2 but not to money which was itself lost property:3 and these4 are likewise as lost money? — Go then,' said he to him;5 'they do not permit me to give you a favourable ruling.'
MISHNAH. IF ONE FINDS SCROLLS, HE MUST READ THEM EVERY THIRTY DAYS;6 IF HE CANNOT READ, HE MUST ROLL THEM.7 BUT HE MUST NOT STUDY [A SUBJECT] THEREIN FOR THE FIRST TIME.8 NOR MAY ANOTHER PERSON READ WITH HIM.9 IF ONE FINDS A CLOTH, HE MUST GIVE IT A SHAKING EVERY THIRTY DAYS, AND SPREAD IT OUT FOR ITS OWN BENEFIT [TO BE AIRED], BUT NOT FOR HIS HONOUR.10 SILVER AND COPPER VESSELS MAY BE USED FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT, BUT NOT [SO MUCH AS] TO WEAR THEM OUT. GOLD AND GLASSWARE MAY NOT BE TOUCHED UNTIL ELIJAH COMES.11 IF ONE FINDS A SACK OR A BASKET, OR ANY OBJECT WHICH IT IS UNDIGNIFIED FOR HIM TO TAKE,12 HE NEED NOT TAKE IT.
GEMARA. Samuel said: If one finds phylacteries in a sack, he must immediately turn them into money [i.e., sell them] and lay the money by. Rabina objected: IF ONE FIND SCROLLS, HE MUST READ THEM EVERY THIRTY DAYS; IF HE CANNOT READ, HE MUST ROLL THEM. Thus, he may only roll, but not sell them and lay the money by! — Said Abaye: phylacteries are obtainable at Bar Habu;13 whereas scrolls are rare.14
Our Rabbis taught: If one borrows a Scroll of the Torah from his neighbour, he may not lend it to another. He may open and read it, providing, however, that he does not study [a subject] therein for the first time; nor may another person read it together with him. Likewise, if one deposits a Scroll of the Torah with his neighbour, he [the latter] must roll it once every twelve months, and may open and read it; but if he opens it in his own interest, it is forbidden. Symmachus said: In the case of a new one, every thirty days; in the case of an old one, every twelve months. R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: In both cases, every twelve months.
The Master said: 'If one borrows a Scroll of the Torah from his neighbour, he may not lend it to another.' Why particularly a Scroll of the Torah: surely the same applies to any article? For R. Simeon b. Lakish said: Here Rabbi has taught that a borrower may not lend [the article he borrowed], nor may a hirer re-hire [to another person]!15 — It is necessary to state it in reference to a Scroll of the Torah. I might have said, One is pleased that a precept be fulfilled by means of his property: therefore we are informed [otherwise].16
'He may open and read it.' But that is obvious! Why else then did he borrow it from him? — He desires to state the second clause: providing, however, that he does not study [a subject] therein for the first time.'
'Likewise, if one deposits a Scroll of the Torah with his neighbour, he [the latter] must roll it once every twelve months, and may open and read it.' What business has he with it?17 Moreover, 'if he opens it in his own interests, It is forbidden; 'but have you not said, 'He may open and read it'! — It means this: If when rolling it he opens and reads it, that is permitted; but if he opens it in his own interests, it is forbidden.
'Symmachus said: In the case of a new one, every thirty days; in the case of an old one, every twelve months. R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: In both cases, every twelve months.' But R. Eliezer b. Jacob is identical with the first Tanna! — But say thus: R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: In both cases, every thirty days.
BUT HE MUST NOT STUDY [A SUBJECT] THEREIN FOR THE FIRST TIME, NOR MAY ANOTHER PERSON READ WITH HIM. But the following contradicts it. He may not read a section therein and revise it, nor read a section therein and translate it.18 He may also not have more than three columns open [simultaneously], nor may three read out of the same volume. Hence two may read! — Said Abaye: There is no difficulty: here the reference is to one subject; there, to two.19
IF ONE FINDS A CLOTH, HE MUST GIVE IT A SHAKING EVERY THIRTY DAYS: Are we to say that a shaking benefits it? But R. Johanan said, He who has a skilled weaver in his house20 has to shake his garment every day!21 — I will tell you: [shaking] every day is injurious, once in thirty days is beneficial thereto. Alternatively, there is no difficulty: this [our Mishnah] refers to [shaking] by one person; the other [R. Johanan's dictum], by two persons.22 Another alternative: this [the Mishnah] refers to [a shaking, i.e., beating] by hand; the other, with a stick.23 Or again, one refers to wool, the other to flax.24
R. Johanan said: A cupful of witchcraft, but not a cupful of tepid water.25 Yet that applies only to a metal utensil, but there is no objection to an earthenware one. And even of a metal utensil, this holds good only if it [the water] is unboiled; but if it is boiled, it does not matter. Moreover, that is only if he throws no spice wood therein; but if he does, there is no objection.
R. Johanan said: If one is left a fortune26 by his parents, and wishes to lose it, let him wear linen garments, use glassware, and engage workers and not be with them. 'Let him wear linen garments' — this refers to Roman linen;27 'use glassware' — Viz., white glass;28 'and engage workers and not be with them' — refer this
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