ARCHIVES: HILCHOS HASHOVAS AVEIDA

(Halachos Pertaining to Lost/Found Objects

BELOW ARE THE HALACHOS FROM THE DAILY EMAILS THAT WERE SENT OUT TO THE “HALACHA FOR TODAY” DAILY EMAIL LIST

Halachos for Monday, October 12, 2020

 

We shall, B'Ezras Hashem, now begin studying the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah, returning lost objects to their rightful owners. We will endeavor to provide as many practical examples as we move along, as these halachos are pertinent to everyday life, yet are often not properly understood by many people.

 

1) The Posuk (Vayikra 19:13) states "...V'Lo Tigzol, and you shall not steal".

 

Another Posuk (Devarim 22:1) states "...Lo Tir'eh Es Shor Achicha Oi Es Say'oi Nidachim V'Hisalamta MaiHem; Hashev Teshivem L'Achicha, do not see your friend's ox or sheep that are lost and turn a blind eye from them; return shall you return them to your friend."

 

A few Pesukim later it says (Devarim 22:3) "...Lo Tuchal L'Hisalem, you may not turn a blind eye"

 

2) The three aforementioned Pesukim encompass the positive and negative commandments that can apply to returning, or not returning, lost objects to their rightful owners, as we shall soon see in more detail.

 

Halachos for Tuesday, October 13, 2020

 

1) One who sees a lost object that belongs to another Jew, which has a Siman (identifiable sign), and turns a blind eye (i.e. acts as if he/she didn't notice it, and walks away from it without picking it up) has transgressed the "Lo Ta'aseh", the negative commandment of "...Lo Tir'eh Es Shor Achicha Oi Es Say'oi Nidachim V'Hisalamta MaiHem...do not see your friend's ox or sheep that are lost and turn a blind eye from them...(Devarim 22:1 and 3) " (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:1)

 

Additionally, he/she has lost out on the "Mitzvas Asei", the positive commandment of Hashev Teshivem L'Achicha, return shall you return them to your friend." (Devarim 22:1. See Sefer Hachinuch Mitzvah 538 that this is a reiteration of the Mitzvas Asei found in Shmos 23:4)

 

Some Poskim rule that the aforementioned positive commandment has not been forfeited unless the item was actually picked up and then put down and not returned. (Opinion of the Meiras Einayim (Sm"a) on the Shulchan Aruch above. However, most Poskim do not rule this way. See Rambam Hilchos Geneiva V'Aveida Perek11:1, Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 259:1 and Taz on the Shulchan Aruch mentioned above.)

 

2) If one picked up the lost object with the intent to keep it for themselves without any thought of returning it to its rightful owner, they have transgressed the additional negative commandment of "...V'Lo Tigzol, and you shall not steal" (Vayikra 19:13)( Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

 

Halachos for Wednesday, October 14, 2020

 

1) If after picking up a lost object with the intent of keeping it, one has remorse and indeed returns it to its rightful owner, before the owner gave up hope of ever getting it back (halachically referred to as 'Yi'ush'), he has retroactively negated all the negative commandments he has transgressed and fulfilled the positive commandments he has forfeited (as we enumerated yesterday), and in addition has also fulfilled the positive commandment (Vayikra 5:23) of "V'Heishiv Es HaGezeilah, and you shall return the stolen item" (See Sm"a Siman 259:2)

 

This remorse, and the subsequent thoughts to return of the object, should happen immediately as for every moment that one holds on to something stolen with intent not to return it, he is obligated to perform the positive commandment of "V'Heishiv Es HaGezeilah, and not doing so is an additional "Bitul Asei, forfeiture of a positive commandment". (See Sh'ar Hatziyun Siman 606:2)

 

2) Even after the owner of the object gives up hope of ever getting his item back, i.e. he has Yi'ush, it is still obligatory to return the item to him.

 

According to some Poskim even in this case the negative commandment of "Lo Tigzol" is negated and the positive commandments of "V'Heishiv Es HaGezeilah" as well as "Hashev Teshivem" are fulfilled. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:1 and Sm"a S"K 2. See Shach 259:1 where he quotes a whole list of Rishonim who maintain that once there was Yi'ush it will not negate the transgressions, and if the item is returned it is considered a "gift".)

 

All agree, however, that once there was Yi'ush the negative commandment of "Lo Tuchal L'Hisalem, do not turn a blind eye" is not negated. (Shulchan Aruch and Sm"a ibid.)

 

Halachos for Thursday, October 15, 2020

 

1) If one picks up a lost object with the intention to return it to its owner, but before getting around to "announce" it, the owner gave up on ever getting it back (Yi'ush), and he then decides to keep it for himself rather than return it, he has only forgone the positive commandment of "Hashev Teshivem" but has not transgressed any of the negative commandments. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:1)

 

2) If one sees the lost object but does not pick it up until after the owner gives up on ever getting it back, and then after Yi'ush picks up the object for himself, the only transgression in effect is "Lo Tuchal L'Hisalem, do not turn a blind eye" for originally not picking it up right away. (ibid.)

 

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, October 16, 2020

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If one sees a lost object that has Simanim, identifiable markings, and wrongly ignores it and does not pick it up, although he transgresses the negative and positive commandments (as we have enumerated previously) he is still not obligated to compensate the owner for their value in the event that they get lost again before being returned. (See Mishna Berura Siman 443 S"K 12 and Sha'ar HaTziyun Os 16)

 

2) If one sees a lost object that does not have any Simanim, identifiable markings, according to most Poskim there is no obligation to pick it up to try and find its owner. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zichronam L'vracha, quoted in Sefer Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 25 footnote 14)

 

However, if it is found in an area that is frequented by Talmidei Chachamim, Torah scholars, it is proper to pick it up as Talmidei Chachamim are known to recognize their items (halachically referred to as 'Tevi'as Ayin', a concept we will discuss more at length B'Ezras Hashem in the future) even though they lack Simanim.

 

Similarly, if the item found is of a variety that is common for people to search for, hang up signs about etc., and the owner will be able to prove it was his (via witnesses or other methods) it is also proper to pick up, even though it lacks Simanim. (ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal, ibid. footnote 15)

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) The obligation to pick up and return a lost object is in place even if the owner does not bother to look for it, hang up signs about it, or if it's an item of little value that people generally do not bother searching for when it gets lost, as not looking for it is not necessarily an indication of Yi'ush. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal quoted in Sefer Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 25)

 

However, if the value of the lost item is less than a "Perutah" there is no obligation to pick it up to return it. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 262:1. A Perutah is an amount of money that is able to purchase something. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, in the 1970s or 80s, ruled that in the USA a nickel is a Perutah as it is almost impossible to purchase anything for a penny; nowadays it's probably a little bit more than a nickel.)

 

2) Even if the owner of the lost item has insurance on his item, and thus will be compensated for his loss, all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah still apply. (See Shu"t MaHarsham Vol. 4 Siman 7)

 

Halachos for Sunday, October 18, 2020

 

1) One who finds an object in a "safe place" such as in a flower pot, a crevice in a wall, a telephone booth, electricity panel, or any other place where it was seemingly placed there intentionally, even if it is questionable if it was placed there intentionally, it is prohibited to touch the item.

 

This applies even if the item in question has a clear Siman, identifiable sign. (See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman 260:9 and 10)

 

2) If one did not follow the aforementioned Halacha and indeed took the object from its place, if he just picked it up but did not walk away from the immediate area [or even if he walked away and appointed someone to stay there and inform him that the owner did not come to retrieve his item during the time that it was gone] he should put it back where he found it and be on his way. (Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman 260: 10 and Taz there, also quoted in Aruch HaShulchan Choshen Mishpat Siman 260:20).

 

If he already took it home, he should not go back there and put it back in the place where he found it. Rather, if it's an item with a Siman, he should announce and let it be known that he found the item, if it does not have a Siman, he must hold on to the item until Eliyahu Hanavi arrives to identify the owner. (Rama ibid. See also Sm"a S"K 48. We will discuss the concept of "Holding the item and waiting for Eliyahu Hanavi" B'Ezras Hashem in the near future)

 

Halachos for Monday, October 19, 2020

 

1) One who finds an object in a place that is only a semi "safe place" (Hashamur K'Tzas), such as behind the fence of a row of homes, in the corner of a playground, regardless if it looks like it was placed there intentionally or not, and even if it has a Siman, it would depend on what kind of item it is.

 

For example, if it is an item of little value, such as a Yarmulka (Kipah), a sock, a piece of a board game or similar item which generally will not be claimed by the owner even if the find is announced, then there is no obligation to pick it up and try and find the owner. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal, quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'Hhalacha page 27. He explained that the Torah wants the lost object to find its way to its owner, thus in this case there is a bigger chance that the owner will come back to that spot to find his item rather than respond to any announcements about its being found, as due to its insignificant value as soon as he doesn't see it where he left it he will promptly forget about it and not pay any more attention to it anymore.).

 

If, however, the item is valuable, and has a Siman, it should be picked up and efforts made to locate the owner. (Rama Siman 260:10 and Sm"a S"K 47)

 

If it does not have a Siman, despite its value there is no obligation to pick it up and expend efforts to locate its owner. (As is the Halacha for every lost item)

 

2) If one picked it up despite not being obligated to do so, he may not change his mind and put it back; if it has a Siman he must now try and locate the owner. (Rama ibid.)

 

If it has no Siman, some Poskim rule that he may keep the item while others rule that he must now hold on to it until Eliyahu Hanavi arrives. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 260:9 and Rama and Sm"a ibid.)

 

Halachos for Tuesday, October 20, 2020

 

1) If one finds two lost objects, one belonging to him and another belonging to someone else, and he can only retrieve one of them at this time (e.g. it was a heavy item) , Al Pi Din he is not obligated to retrieve the other person's item first. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 264:1. See Sm"a S"K 1)

 

Even if the other person offers to pay for the value of the finder's item if he returns his item instead of retrieving his own, he is still not obligated to do so as he may say "I'd rather have my actual item than its value". (See Sm"a ibid and S"K 18)

 

2) Although the Halacha is that one's item comes before another person's item, as we mentioned above, it is still proper to act "L'Fenim Mishuras Hadin, beyond the letter of the law" and indeed worry about the other person's item before worrying about one's own item, unless he is surely going to incur a significant loss by returning the other person's item first. (Shulchan Aruch ibid.).

 

Moreover, if one consistently acts in such a way (i.e. worries about himself and his possessions more than about others and their possessions) he is considered to have removed the "yoke of Gemilus Chasadim, performing kindness" from himself and will lead to him ultimately needing to come onto others for sustenance. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. See also Sm"a S"K 3 where he explains that it is Midah K'Neged Midah, measure for measure: A person who is always worried about losing his money and possessions, so much so that he abandons doing Mitzvos and Chesed in his quest to not lose his money, will ultimately indeed lose the money and possessions via heavenly retribution. As Rav Chaim of Volozin famously stated (Printed by his son in the introduction to Nefesh Hachaim) "The purpose of us being on this earth, is not for ourselves, but to do kindness with others!")

 

Halachos for Wednesday, October 21, 2020

 

1) If one finds two lost objects, one belonging to his father and another belonging to his Rebbi (Torah teacher), and he can only retrieve one of them at this time, if his father is as learned in Torah as his Rebbi, his father's item takes precedence. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 264:2)

 

2) However, if a) his Rebbi is his "Rebbi Muvhak", the one who taught him most of his Torah knowledge, and b) he is also greater in scholarly stature than his father, and c) the Rebbi taught him Torah without being monetarily compensated by the father or someone else, the Rebbi's item takes precedence. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. and Shach S"K 1 and Sm"a S"K 5)

 

Practically, nowadays when most people learn most of their Torah from various Rebbeim, and also from the multitudes of Seforim that are available nowadays, the concept of a "Rebbi Muvhak" hardly exists, and almost always the father's lost item will take precedence over a Rebbi's item.

 

Halachos for Thursday, October 22, 2020

 

1) The obligation to return a lost item to its rightful owner applies only to a lost object belonging to a Jew.

 

If it is known that the item belongs to an Aino-Yehudi it is forbidden to return it, and if he does return it he has transgressed a sin. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 266:1, based on Talmud Bava Kama 113b. See also Sm"a S"K 2. See also Be'er Hagolah on the Shulchan Aruch ibid. Os 2 where he writes that based on the Rambam's interpretation of the sin, it would only apply to Aino-Yehudim who do not believe in Hashem as the Creator of the world. See also Bais Yosef beginning of Siman 266)

 

2) In the event that not returning it to the Aino-yehudi would result in a Chilul Hashem, for instance if it was found in an area that has a majority of Jews and thus the Aino-Yehudi who lost it there will think that a Jew stole it, then it must indeed be returned to the Aino-Yehudi. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. and Sm"a S"K 3. See also ben Ish Chai; year 1 Parashas Ki Savo Siman 8 that in this case it would then be a biblical obligation to return it.)

 

Likewise, if one returns the item to the Aino-Yehudi with the intention to cause a Kiddush Hashem, i.e. to cause the Aino-Yehudi to praise the integrity and honesty of Jewish people, it is then indeed praiseworthy to return the item. (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, October 23, 2020

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) A lost object that is found in an area that is inhabited mostly by Aino-Yehudim, even if it has an identifiable Siman, may be picked up and kept by the finder.

 

2) The reason for this is that we assume it was lost by an Aino-Yehudi and thus needn't be returned. Additionally, even if it were a Jewish person's object, being that it was lost amongst Aino-Yehudim we assume the owner had Yi'ush (he gave up on ever getting it back). (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:3, Taz there and Sm"a S"K 9. See Also Ben Ish Chai; year 1 Parashas Ki Savo Siman 4)

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) The exception to the above rule is when the item that is found is a Sefer or any other Tashmishei Mitzvah or Tashmishei Kedusha (e.g. Tefillin or even other Judaica items), as even when they are found in a predominantly non-Yehudi area, they must be picked up and returned to their rightful owners.(Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:3)

 

2) The reason for this is that with such items we know the owner is most likely Jewish, and furthermore being that it's such an item, which is of little interest to Aino-Yehudim, the owner does not have Yi'ush and assumes that Aino-Yehudim will ignore it and a Jew will eventually find it and return it. (Rama ibid. and Sm"a S"K 8. See also Rama Siman 236:8)

 

Halachos for Sunday, October 25, 2020

 

1) When determining if the area where a lost object was found has a majority of Jews or Aino-Yehudim, it is defined by the majority that passes through the area and not by the majority of the residents in the area. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:3)

 

Thus, for example, a lost object which was found in the Rova HaYehudi, the Jewish quarter located in the southeastern part of the Old City of Yerushalayim, may be kept by the finder, as although the residents of the Rova Hayehudi are mostly Jewish, the majority of people who pass through there each day aren't yehudim. (This ruling with the example was given by Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal, quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K'Halacha page 35 footnote 9)

 

A lost object found in a building whose inhabitants are mostly Jewish, even if the building is situated on a street that has a Aino-Yehudi majority, is subject to all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah, as most of the people who pass through that building are Jewish. (Ruling of HaRav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K'Halacha page 35 footnote 10).

 

2) Even though there is no obligation to announce the finding of a lost object found in an area that is mostly Aino=Yehudim and no obligation to return it, if a Jew approaches the finder and provides an adequate Siman it is proper to go beyond the letter of the law (Lifnim Mishuras Hadin) and return it to him. (SeeShulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:5 and Sm"a S"K 12)

 

If the finder is a poor person and the lost item belongs to a wealthy person, there is no obligation to go beyond the letter of the law. (Rama ibid.)

 

However, if the finder is wealthy (or even of average means, according to some Poskim) and the owner of the lost object is poor, we compel the finder to go beyond the letter of the law and return it. (See Shach Choshen Mishpat Siman 259 S"K 3. See Pischei Teshuva Choshen Mishpat Siman 12:6 that according to most Poskim this "compelling" is only done verbally and not forcibly.)

 

Halachos for Monday, October 26, 2020

 

1) A Jew who eats non-Kosher [or does other sins] as an act of rebellion against Hashem (Mumar L'Hachis), does not believe in Hashem or desecrates the Shabbos publicly is akin to an Aino-Yehudi and we are not obligated to return his lost items. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 266:2)

 

However, one who eats non-Kosher [or transgresses other grave sins] due to craving and being unable to control his desires (Mumar L'Te'avon), although he is a Rasha, he is still considered a Jew and we must return his lost items to him. (ibid.)

 

2) One who finds a lost object in an area where most of the passersby are non-observant Jews, if the object is not valuable there is no obligation to pick it up and search for the owner, even if the object has a Siman.

 

If the object is valuable, according to some Poskim all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveida apply, while some Poskim are lenient and do not necessitate picking it up and trying to find the owner. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal and YBLC"T HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita. Their reasoning being that the owner most likely had Yi'ush being that most non-observant Jews are not scrupulous to return lost items. However, Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal ruled that if the lost item was money indeed they aren't scrupulous to return it, but if it's another valuable item many indeed do drop it off at a local police station, and thus we can't assume that the owner had Yi'ush immediately, unless in an area where most of the people are rebellious sinners (Mumarim L'Hachis) as then we can assume they won't hand over to the police either. Quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 36 footnote 17)

Halachos for Tuesday, October 27, 2020

                                                                             

1) If the person who finds the lost object is a respectable elderly person, a Talmid Chacham (Torah scholar) [or another person of stature, be it familial or societal], for whom picking up and carrying the lost object is beneath his/her dignity, it is permitted for them to turn their eyes away from it and not pick it up. (Mishna Bava Metzia 29b, Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 263:1 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Metziah U'Pikadon 36)

 

2) Since this can be an arbitrary classification which people can wrongly rely on to not return lost objects, Chazal instituted the following guidelines to follow before determining if one's stature absolves him from picking up a lost object:

 

How would he act if it were his own item? If indeed he would not pick up and carry the item, even if it was his own due to it truly being below his dignity and an act that would cause him, or the Torah he represents, embarrassment, then he is absolved from picking up a similar item that belongs to someone else. (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

 

However, in a case where a person would indeed not pick up his own item, but the dignity he is protecting is not authentic (rather due to his Ga'avah, haughtiness, where he imagines himself to be more dignified than he actually is, but other people would not see it as below his dignity to pick up an item, carry it and return it) it does not absolve him from the obligation to return someone else's lost item. (Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Metziah U'Pikadon 36)

 

Halachos for Wednesday, October 28, 2020

 

1) If a Talmid Chacham, respectable elderly person or another respectable person who isn't obligated to pick up, carry and return a lost item, wants to go beyond the letter of the law and return it anyhow, according to some Poskim he may do so, as although it is indeed beneath his dignity it isn't an affront to the honor of the Torah as he is doing so L'Sheim Shamayim in order to fulfill the command of Hashem. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 263:3 based on opinion of the Rambam Hilchos Gezeila V'Aveida perek 11 halacha 17. See also Bais Yosef on the Tur end of Siman 263)

 

2) However, some Poskim prohibit a Talmid Chacham from returning an object if doing so is beneath his dignity, as although a Talmid Chacham may be Mochel, forgo, on his own honor, he may not forgo on Bizayon HaTorah, disgrace of the Torah. (Rama ibid. based on the opinion of the Rosh Bava Metzia Perek 2 Siman 21 and also quoted in Tur Choshen Mishpat beginning of Siman 272. See also Prisha Siman 272 Os 9. This does not apply to a respectable elderly person or another respectable person, as all agree that they may return the item if they so desire, as by them there isn't an issue of Bizayon HaTorah. See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 263:4)

 

According to the opinions that forbid him from returning the item, if he still wants to go beyond the letter of the law, if he knows who the owner of the lost object is, he can pay the owner its value in lieu of returning the actual item. (Rama ibid.)

 

Halachos for Thursday, October 29, 2020

 

1) A Kohen who spots a lost object in a cemetery may not enter in order to retrieve it, unless it is more than four Amos away from any grave and also in a spot where there are no trees or any other overhang between the graves and where he will walk. (Hashovas Aveida K'halacha page 38 footnote 32 based on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 371:5)

 

2) One who willingly throws away his item into a public domain as well as one who is notified about an item belonging to him being in a non-secure place yet he doesn't make any attempts to retrieve it, has renounced his ownership of the item and it is deemed Hefker and anyone can pick it up and keep it. (Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman 261:4. Although the Mechaber argues, most Poskim rule like the Rama in regard to this Halacha. See Shach S"K 3, Shu"t HaBach Siman 97 and Bach on the Tur Choshen Mishpat beginning of Siman 273 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Metziah U'Pikadon 16)

 

However, if one leaves his item in a manner that is minimally secure, even though it can be more secure, such as leaving a baby stroller in the shared entranceway of a building or leaving a bicycle in front of one's home or leaving building supplies in front of a home being constructed and similar cases, it is not deemed Hefker and may not be taken.

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, October 30, 2020 Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) One who finds a lost object that has a Siman, is obligated to publicize that he found it so that the owner can learn of this information and reclaim his item. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 262:3)

 

The Poskim discuss various acceptable ways of achieving this "making public" of the finding of the object; all are methods commonly noticed by many people. (See Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat Vol. 2 Siman 45)

 

2) Some of these methods include:

 

* Hanging a notice in a Shul in the area where the item was found. (ShulchanAruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:3. It isn't necessary to hang it in every Shul in the area. See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 9:8. If it is evident that the item that was lost belongs to a female, the sign should also be placed in the Ezras Nashim. Also, if the item was found in a public place such as a wedding hall, shopping mall or on the beach there is no need to place notices in nearby Shuls, as that is probably pointless. See Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 46footnote 8)

 

* Hanging a notice in the place where the lost object was found, as that is akin to notifying the owner's neighbors that his item was located. (Ruling of HaRav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, based on Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:3,quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 45 footnote 5)

 

* Placing an advertisement in a local publication. However, even though this is an acceptable method, one is not obligated to pay money to place such an ad, unless it is a valuable item and we can assume that the owner will be willing to reimburse the finder for the cost of the advertisement. (See Shu"t Chasam Sofer Choshen Mishpat Siman 122 , Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat Vol. 2 Siman 45and Shu"t Teshuvos V'Hanhagos V'Hanhagos Vol. 3 Siman 464. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Metzia U'Pikadon 33)

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) When posting a notice about the lost item it should include general information as to what kind of object was found (e.g. jewelry, clothing etc.) (Shulchan AruchChoshen Mishpat Siman 267:4)

There is no need to worry about fraudsters taking advantage of this information, as the real owner will have to identify actual Simanim before being able to claim the item. (ibid.)

Of course, too much identifiable information should not be written in the notice, as this can lead to unscrupulous people taking advantage of this information.

 

2) The notice should remain in place for a decent amount of time, enough that we can reasonably assume that everyone in the area had a chance to see it. (See Shu"t Teshuvos V'Hanhagos V'Hanhagos Vol. 3 Siman 464 where he says "a week" is adequate time. HaRav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal ruled that the longer it can remain there, the better.)

 

After this amount of time has passed, if the notice falls off or is removed, there is no obligation to replace it.

 

Halachos for Sunday November 1, 2020

 

1) It is permissible to give a lost item to the police department's 'lost & found' bureau, provided that it is known that they watch over the lost items properly and that they return items to people only after ascertaining, via Simanim, that the item is truly theirs. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 46 footnote 11)

 

If it isn't clear that the 'lost & found' bureau follows the proper procedures, the lost item may not be given to them. However, the details of the object can be told to them and they in turn can direct anyone that comes to claim the item directly to the person who found it. (ibid.)

 

2) If one finds an item on a public bus or in a taxi cab, he may hand over the item to the 'lost & found' department of the bus or cab company, even if they don't properly watch over the lost items and even if they don't properly ascertain, via Simanim, that the person claiming the item is truly the owner.

 

The reason for this is that, unlike the aforementioned Halacha regarding a police station, all passengers riding public transportation do so with the understanding that if they lose something it will most likely end up in the 'lost & found' of that company.

 

Additionally, anyone who loses something in a public transportation vehicle, where one is expected to keep an extra eye on his items to prevent their being lost or stolen, is deemed to have not properly watched his item, and as such we are not obligated to care for an item in a more secure way than the owner himself cared for it. (Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 47 footnote 16)

 

However, the item may not just be placed near the bus driver with the hope that the owner will come back to look there; it has to be placed in the actual 'lost & found'. (ibid. based on Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:1 that it must be placed in a secure place)

 

 

Halachos for Monday, November 2, 2020

 

1) After the owner of a lost object is identified he should be notified and asked to come and retrieve his item; there is no obligation for the finder to go to the owner to return the item to him. (Ruling of the Chazon Ish Zatzal, HaRav Moshe Feinstein and Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zichronam L'Vracha, quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 47 footnote 18)

 

2) Furthermore, the finder can give the owner a specific and reasonable time frame in which to retrieve his item.

 

In the event that this period of time passes without the owner coming to retrieve his item, the finder may place the item outside of his home or otherwise cease to guard it as it now has a status of Hefker. (Ruling of HaRav Nissim Karelitz Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 48 footnote 19)

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, November 3, 2020

 

1) One who finds a lost item must care for it and protect it, in the accepted and customary manner of protection and care for each specific item, until its rightful owner is found. (Simply placing it amongst his personal items is not necessarily an adequate protection. See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Metzia U'Pikadon 29)

 

The finder is responsible to take the necessary steps to ensure that the item does not get ruined due to not being used, being used improperly or due to other outside elements. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:17)

 

Thus, for example, one who finds woolen garments should shake them out once every thirty days, one who finds [aged] books should air them out periodically, one who finds utensils should use them in a minimal way to ensure they don't get ruined from non-use, etc. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267 from S'if 17 and on for many more examples; every item should follow what is customary for that item in the society in which it is found.)

 

2) Unless using the item is beneficial to its protection, it is prohibited to make use of the found item. This is the case even if the finder is certain that the owner would not care if his item is used, and even if he is certain that the owner would be happy when he finds out that his item was used. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Metzia U'Pikadon 4)

 

If the finder was not negligent in watching the item and it nevertheless got lost or stolen, he is not obligated to reimburse the owner for its value. (Ruling of Shach Siman 267:14 and Sm"a Siman 267:17 based on Rama Siman 267:16 that the finder is akin to a Shomer Chinam, and not like the ruling of the Mechaber who deems him a Shomer Sachar. Sephardim most likely will indeed rule like the Mechaber in this matter and thus be obligated to reimburse the owner in the event that it got lost or stolen.)

 

Halachos for Wednesday, November 4, 2020

 

1) As we learnt, before giving back a lost item, the owner has to provide a Siman, an identifiable sign, to prove the item is indeed his.

 

There are three basic types of "Simanim" described in the Poskim: A strong Siman, a medium Siman and a weak Siman. (See Sm"a Siman 267 Os 7)

 

2) A strong Siman is a marking that exists only on this particular item, such as a hole in a certain place, a particular stain on a garment, a name written on the item or another similar Siman. (See Aruch HaShulchan Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:5)

 

Upon giving a strong Siman, there is a biblical obligation to return the item to the owner, according to many Poskim even if this particular owner is a known swindler or an otherwise unscrupulous person. (Ruling of the Rama Siman 267:6 and Shach Os 3 and 4, Biur HaGra Os 16 and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 267:6. The Mechaber, however, rules that a swindler will require witnesses in order to retrieve his item, even with a strong Siman. The Taz rules like the Mechaber.)

 

A medium Siman is knowing how many of a particular item were in the bundle, knowing the size of the item, its exact weight, the exact location where it was found (only if the item seems to have been placed there intentionally) , knowing the color of the bow or other wrapper in which the item was found, and similar Simanim. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 262:3)

 

Although biblically there is no obligation to return an item based on a medium Siman, the Rabbis (Chazal) instituted that such a Siman is acceptable, unless the claimant is a swindler. Thus a Talmid Chacham is believed if he presents such a Siman. Likewise any person who brings character witnesses that he isn't a swindler is believed with such a Siman. (See Shita Mekubetzes to Bava Metzia 27b and Sm"a Siman 267 Os 10. The contemporary Poskim are lenient and do not require witnesses and rule that doing research and determining the good character of the claimant is sufficient. See Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 54 footnote 8)

 

A weak Siman is knowing the color of the item; even if the item was multi-colored, giving a Siman that isn't unique to this item and can be found on other similar items, such as the manufacturers size of a garment or the size or thickness of a ring, or similar characteristics of the item which are shared with others like it.

 

There is no obligation to return an item based on a weak Siman. (See Sm"a Siman 267 Os 7and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 267:6)

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, November 5, 2020

 

1) If, upon announcing the finding of a lost item, two individuals come forward and both give the same or similar correct Simanim, the finder does not give it to one or the other.

 

Rather, one of them must relinquish his claim to the other, or they can make a compromise amongst themselves. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:8 and Shach Os 5)

 

If one of them brings witnesses to support his claim the item can be returned to him based on their testimony. (Rama ibid.)

 

2) If the two individuals gave different Simanim, the item should be returned to the one whose Simanim were of the stronger variety (as we discussed previously), as determined by a Dayan, a Halachic judge. (See Shach Siman 267 Os 10 and 12)

 

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, November 6, 2020

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If two individuals come forward claiming the lost item is theirs, and they both bring witnesses testifying to this effect, the item remains with the finder until Eliyahu Hanavi arrives to reveal the identity of the true owner. (Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman267:8 and Sm"a Os 11)

 

2) If they both bring witnesses and one of the individuals also gives the correct Simanim, according to the Rama (ibid.) he still does not get the item, as once there are witnesses involved the Simanim are worthless. (See' Shach Os 6 where he isn't convinced that this is the correct ruling)

 

If one brings witnesses and the other gives Simanim, even strong Simanim, the item goes to the one who brought the witnesses, even if all they testify is that the item belongs to the individual, but do not know that he lost it.(Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman267:9 and Shach Os 7 and 8)

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

1) If upon returning the lost item to the owner, the owner claims that part of the item is missing (e.g. a wallet with $50 in it is returned and the owner claims there was $100 in it or if the owner claims that the item being returned was firmly attached to another item and thus the finder must be returning only half of what he found) the finder is believed that what he is returning is exactly what he found and he does not need to swear or otherwise prove it. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:27)

 

2) If the owner claims that he saw the finder pick up two items attached to one another and now he only returned one of them, some Poskim require the finder to swear that he is returning all that he found, while other Poskim maintain that even in this case the onus is not on the finder to prove that he returned all that he found. (See Sm"a Siman 267 Os 42 and Pischei Teshuva Os 4)

 

Halachos for Sunday November 8, 2020

 

1 1) We briefly mentioned the concept of "Yehei Munach Ad SheYavo Eliyahu" where a lost item with a Siman whose owner cannot be located should be held on to until Eliyahu Hanavi arrives to identify the owner. (See Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman 260: 10)

 

We will now discuss in more detail when and under which circumstances this concept is applied and when the items must be held and not used and when they may be held but also used.

 

2) One who finds an item that is easily bought and after due diligence has not located the owner, may appraise its value, write down the dollar value of the appraisal in a notebook, as well as any Simanim that the item has, and is then permitted to use the item. (See Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat Vol. 2 Siman 45:4 regarding if the appraisal needs to be done in front of three people or not)

 

Some examples of this include books or Seforim that are commonly available, a regular pair of Tefilin (i.e. not a specialty pair from a certain scribe etc.) , a Tallis or any item which the owner seemingly would not care to specifically have that item and would be perfectly happy with its equal replacement. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:21, Shu"t Chasam Sofer Chosehen Mishpat Siman 122 [and Siman 143 regarding Seforim] and Aruch Hashulchan Siman 267:14.)

 

This would also apply to food that will spoil if not consumed.

 

The notebook with this information should be kept in a safe place.

 

Alternatively, the information may be written on the inside cover of a volume of Talmud or another Sefer which will thus keep the information secure. (Since this is being done for a Mitzvah it is permitted and not considered disrespectful use of a Sefer, as per ruling of HaRav Moshe Sternbuch Shlita )

 

The item may also be sold, and the money from its sale used in the interim, and when the owner is found the monetary value of his item can be returned to him.

 

Halachos for Monday, November 9, 2020

 

1) An item which, seemingly, the owner would specifically want this one back and not its replacement or its value, must be held on to until the arrival of Eliyahu Hanavi at which time the owner will be identified. This includes items with sentimental or personal value, such as rare or antique books or Seforim, exceptionally beautiful Tefillin or any other similar items. (See Sm"a Siman 267:30 and Shu"t Minchas Elazar Vol. 4 Siman9)

 

2) These items must be looked after, protected and guarded until the time the owner is identified.

 

The finder becomes a "Shomer Chinam" and thus will not be responsible for the item in the event that it gets stolen or lost through no negligence on his part. (See Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:16)

Halachos for Tuesday, November 10, 2020

 

1) If one finds money which is identifiable (e.g. a certain amount found bundled together with a red rubber band, or if it was found in a distinct place), and cannot locate the owner, M'Ikar Hadin it may not be used and must be held on to until the arrival of Eliyahu Hanavi. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 267:25)

 

However, the Poskim rule that as long as one has that amount of money on hand and will be able to return the full amount to the owner as soon as he is found, he may then use the found money and there is no need to hold on to those specific bills or coins. (The reasoning is that nowadays money is usually placed in a bank, and when a person comes to retrieve his money he indeed expects the full amount to be available right away, but he does not expect the exact bills and coins he deposited to be returned to him, only their value.Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K'Halacha page 73 footnote 18)

 

2) If the money got stolen or lost, if it was not used at all by the finder, then he is not liable to reimburse the owner for its value, as he is only a Shomer Chinam. (Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 267:25)

 

However, if the finder did use the money he will indeed be liable to reimburse the owner for the full amount in the event that it got lost or stolen. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal based on Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

 

Halachos for Wednesday, November 11, 2020

 

1) If one finds a lost object that does not have a Siman, in a Shul, Yeshiva or Bais Medrash, it belongs to the finder and does not become the property of the Shul. (Ruling of the Mogen Avraham quoted in Mishna Berura Siman 154:59). The aforementioned Halacha applies to an object found in the courtyard of the Shul, Yeshiva or Bais Medrash as well. (bid.)

 

2) Seforim that are found in a Bais Medrash or Shul are assumed to have been placed there by the owner, and are generally not subject to the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah.

 

However, if the finder knows that this particular Sefer has been sitting around untouched for a long time already, he can assume that the owner had Yiush, and thus the finder can keep the Sefer for himself, even if there is a Siman. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal based on Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 262:5. See also Shu"t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 9:8 regarding a Shul that has a secure Lost & Found and regarding if the Shul can take these Seforim for the Shul's library). Although there is no obligation to return these items, if the owner is identified it is praiseworthy (L'fnim Mishuras Hadin) to return it to him. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Metziah U'Pikadon Siman 18)

 

Halachos for Thursday, November 12, 2020

 

1) If one finds a towel, a garment, soap or shampoo or another bathing item in a Mikvah or bathhouse , and it was seemingly placed there intentionally, he should not touch it as most likely the owner placed it there for his future use. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 260:9 and10)

 

2) If, however, it seems like it was forgotten there by someone (e.g. it is haphazardly laying on a bench or otherwise not put away in a safe place), if it has a Siman on the actual item it must be announced and is subject to all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah. (See Shulchan Aruch Chosen Mishpat Siman 262:3 and Shu"t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 3 Siamn 17). If it does not have a Siman, the finder can keep the item.

 

If it is evident that the item has been laying there for a long time we can assume that the owner had Yiush and the finder can keep the item even if it has a Siman. (See Shulchan Aruch Chosen Mishpat Siman 262:5)

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, November 13, 2020

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) It is very common nowadays, and also very sensible, for all Shuls, Mikvaos and other public places, to hang notices in conspicuous places throughout the facility stating that all items left in the building that aren't claimed within a certain amount of time become the property of the facility to do with as they please. (See Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat Vol. 2 Siman 45:2 and Shu"t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 8 Siman 146)

 

2) Once such a notice is properly in place, the caretakers of the facility may indeed do as they please with all items left there beyond the cut-off time, and need not be concerned that perhaps the owner of the item did not see the notice. (See Igros Moshe ibid.)

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) An author of a Sefer that places a sample of his work in a Yeshiva, Shul or another public place, does so with the knowledge that he very likely will never get that sample back; there is no obligation to return it to him, as the Sefer is Hefker and the caretakers of the facility may do with it as they please. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'halacha page 79 footnote 15)

 

2) If one finds money in a Shul, even if it's lying right near the Tzedaka boxes, he does not have to assume that it fell out of a Pushka; rather he can treat it as he treats any other money he finds. (ibid.)

 

Halachos for Sunday November 15, 2020

 

1) It is common in many Shuls, at various auspicious times during the year such as Erev Yom Kippur or Purim, for individuals or organizations to put out plates on the Bimah for people to place Tzedaka into.

 

If one notices such a plate with money in it laying around beyond the normal time for it to have been picked up, and it is obvious that the person who put it out forgot to retrieve it, there is an obligation to deliver the money to its intended place. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 80)

 

2) As a practical piece of good advice to the gabaim and other caretakers of Shuls, a notice should be conspicuously placed, near where these plates are laid out, stating that plates may only be placed down with the understanding that any monies not removed by the end of the day will become the property of the Shul. (ibid.)

 

Halachos for Monday, November 16, 2020

 

1) One who finds a loose piece of paper, in a Shul or Bais Medrash, with Torah notes written on them, may hang it up on the bulletin board near the place where it was found and no other notices need to be hung regarding finding it. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K'Halacha page 80 footnote 19)

 

2) Obviously. Care must be taken that the piece of paper is hung in such a way that it doesn't get ruined, i.e. no other signs should be taped on top of it etc. (ibid.)

 

Halachos for Tuesday, November 17, 2020

 

1) It is a common occurrence in Shuls, Yeshivos, wedding halls, Shiva houses and other public places that a switch takes place and someone inadvertently takes a coat, Tallis, umbrella or other item that looks like theirs but in reality belongs to someone else.

 

Upon realizing that a switch took place, it is prohibited to continue using the item. Rather, all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveida apply and a notice must be hung in the area where the switch took place announcing that the item was "found". (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishat Siman 136:2)

 

2) If a long while passes and nobody claimed the switched item, assuming the item is not especially valuable, it may be used provided the criteria of "Munach Ad Sheyavo Eliyahu" are followed as we learnt previously.

 

Moreover, if the item is such that seemingly the person who it was switched with has no idea that any switch took place (e.g. it was virtually identical and no name on it or other good Siman) and he is most likely happily using the item he inadvertently received instead, provided that it isn't an item that people are particular to not let others use, he may use that person's item as well. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zichronal L'vracha quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K'Halacha page 81 footnote 24. See also what is written there about reciting a Bracha on such an item, if it is Tzitzis or a Tallis, and regarding lending the item to someone else, as although it may be used it may still not be considered "yours".)

 

Halachos for Wednesday, November 18, 2020

 

1) One who rents or buys an apartment or home and upon moving in finds an item, should keep the following in mind:

 

If the item was found in a place that is open for all to see and has a Siman according to some Poskim it must be announced and follow all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 260:3 and Shach Os 11)

 

Other Poskim, however, rule that it belongs to the previous occupant of the home. (See Nesivos HaMishpat Siman 260:7)

 

If there is no Siman on the item, according to all Poskim it belongs to the previous occupant. (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

 

2) If the item was found in a place that is not open for all to see (e.g. in the attic), if it has a Siman, according to some Poskim he must announce it and according to some Poskim the new occupant may keep the item. (Shach and Nesivos HaMishpat ibid.), If it has no Siman, all agree that he can keep the item. (ibid.)

 

If the item was found in an extremely hidden place (e.g. under the floor boards), some say it belongs to the new occupant, while others say [if it's a rental] it belongs to the owner of the home, and not the renter. (ibid. See also Sma Siman 313:5)

 

Halachos for Thursday, November 19, 2020

 

1) If one rents a room in a hotel, nursing home, rehabilitation center and similar settings, and upon entering finds an item, if the item has a Siman it should be returned to the previous occupant, provided that it was a Jew. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 260:3 and Shach there Os 11)

If the item has no Siman, the finder can keep it. (ibid. and Sma Os 12)

 

2) The aforementioned Halacha applies only to a hotel-like situation where the owner does not enter the rooms often. However, in a small guest house or similar situation where the owner does indeed enter the rooms often, between guests, all the items that are found that have no Siman belong to the owner.

 

If they do have a Siman, the owner is obligated to announce it and follow all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah. (If cleaning crews are employed to clean the rooms, the owner does not necessarily get to keep the found items. See Sefer Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 87 footnote 15 and 16 in detail)

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, November 20, 2020

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If one finds money or another item in a store, keep in mind the following:

 

If it was found behind the counter, where only the storeowner is found, it belongs to the storeowner regardless if it has a Siman. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 260:5)

If the storeowner says that it isn't his item, if it has no Siman he may keep it, if it has a Siman he must announce it and follow all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah.(As it is his "Chatzer, domain", and it assumes ownership for him)

 

If it was found in front of the counter, or anywhere else in the store where customers are found, if it has no Siman (or even if it has a Siman but the majority of the customers are Aino-Yehudim) the finder can keep it. (ibid.)

 

If it does have a Siman, some Poskim rule that the finder must announce it and follow all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah. ( ibid. See also Sm"a Os17)

 

2) If the item was found on the actual counter, some rule that regardless if it has a Siman, it belongs to the storeowner.(Rama ibid.)

 

Other Poskim rule that if it has no Siman, the finder can keep it, and if it has a Siman he is obligated to announce it. (ibid. See also Aruch Hashulchan 260:12)

 

All agree that if it common for both the storeowner as well as customers to place personal items on this counter, it belongs to the finder.

 

All of the rules of a store apply to a bank as well with the exception of finding money on the actual counter, where all Poskim agree it doesn't belong to the bank or any of its employees, rather , if it has no Siman it belongs to the finder, and if it does have a Siman the finder must announce it (unless the majority of customers are Aino-Yehudim, in which case he may keep it even if it has a Siman). (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) One who places an order from a store, and upon receiving his order finds an item amongst the items that is not his, he may use the item. (Hashovas Aveida K'hlacha page 89 footnote 35, based on Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 262:17)

 

2) If a storeowner finds an item in his store which evidently was placed there by a customer who then forgot it there (e.g. an umbrella laying beside the front entrance) is obligated to announce the item via placing a notice in a prominent place in the store as well as placing an ad in a local newspaper or similar way.

 

If it isn't claimed, he should hold on to it until the arrival of Eliyahu Hanavi, as we learnt previously.

 

As a prudent piece of advice, all storeowners should hang a notice in their stores, in a conspicuous place, stating that all object left in the store beyond a certain amount of time will become theirs to do with as they please. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal)

 

Halachos for Sunday November 22, 2020

 

1) When an item is given in to a repair shop for fixing, the repair person becomes a Shomer (caretaker) for the item, and must ensure that it doesn't get ruined or broken.

 

If a period of time passed, beyond what is considered normal time to retrieve an item, and the owner did not come to retrieve it, the repair person can deem it Hefker and do with it as he desires. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Zatzal)

 

Of course, it would be better if the repair person hangs a clear notice in his shop stating that all items not retrieved by a certain time frame (e.g. 30 days or 90 days) will be deemed Hefker.

 

2) If an item was purchased in a store owned by a non-observant Jew, and during the transaction a mistake was made in the calculation where the store owner would lose money, there is an obligation to point out the mistake.

 

If, however, the storeowner is a Mumar L'Hachis (one who is not observant in a rebellious way against Hashem; details of this classification are too complex for this forum at this time) there is no obligation to notify him of the mistake.

 

However, if by not pointing out the mistake there is a chance that a Chilul Hashem will ensue, the mistake must be pointed out. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K'Halacha page 90 footnote 41)

 

Halachos for Monday, November 23, 2020

 

1) One who finds an item that belongs to a minor, such as a child's watch, a child's jewelry, balls, toys, stationary collection or any other similar item and it has a Siman, must announce it and follow all of the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 243:18 that it's possible to be zoche, acquire an item, on behalf of a minor to deem the minor as the owner. If, however, the item was simply given to the minor to use and wasn't attained for him, via Zechiya, the item may be considered ownerless, halachically known as Aveida M'Da'as, and won't be subject to the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah. For Halacha L'ma'aseh a Rav should be consulted.

 

2) If it does not have a Siman it must be held onto until the arrival of Eliyahu Hanavi at which time its owner will be identified, as the Yiush of a minor does not work. (See Nesivos Hamishpat Siman 260:11.)

 

Halachos for Tuesday, November 24, 2020

 

1) One who finds an item which was bought for a minor's use, but wasn't acquired for him to deem him the owner, such as a pacifier, a baby bottle, a child's clothing and similar items, if it has a Siman it must be announced, like any other lost item of an adult. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 262:3)

 

2) If the item does not have a Siman, if it seems that the item fell from the minor while he was close to his parents and they probably noticed that it was gone almost immediately after it fell, and before it was found (as is common for pacifiers, bottles, clothing etc.), then he may keep it, as we assume they had Yiush.

 

However, if the item is such that the parents would not necessarily notice right away that it went missing, and thus it was probably found before they had Yiush, it is considered "Yiush Shelo M'Da'as", and must be held onto until Eliyahu HaNavi arrives to identify the owner.

 

Halachos for Wednesday, November 25, 2020

 

1) If a minor finds a lost item, if he is still a dependent of his father's table, Chazal instituted that the item belongs to the father. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 270:2. One of the reasons is due to Hakoras Hatov to the father for feeding his children; see S'ma Os 2)

 

Thus, if the lost item is of the variety that requires announcing, that obligation is incumbent on the father to fulfill. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 95 footnote 11)

 

Of course, if he wants to allow the child to do the announcing, as a way of Chinuch, he may do so as long as he oversees that it is all done according to the dictates of Halacha.

 

2) If an orphan finds a lost item, he keeps it, even if he is a dependent at someone's table. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 279:1 and 2 and S'ma Os 9)

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, November 26, 2020

 

1) If a minor finds an item and decides to keep it and not give it to his father as he is supposed to, it is treated like any other theft by a minor; if the item still exists we take it from him, if it no longer exists he is not obligated to pay for its value, even when he becomes a Gadol. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 349:3.)

 

He should, however, be chastised for this, or any, stealing. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 349:5. See also Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 343:1 and Mishna Berura S"K 7 and Sha'ar HaTziyun Os 15)

 

2) Although the minor is not obligated to return the lost item when he becomes a Gadol, it is still praiseworthy, L'Fnim M'Shuras haDin, to indeed do so. (Mishna Berura Siman 343 S"K 9)

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, November 27, 2020

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) One who spots a lost item [belonging to a Jew] is obligated to pick it up and return it, without charging for this action. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 265:1)

 

In fact, he must exert his full energy into getting the item back to its rightful owner, even if the item is worth very little money (as long as it's worth more than a perutah) (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Metziah U'Pikadon Siman 33)

 

2) If the appreciative owner wants to pay the finder for his service, the finder should tell him that he did it for the Mitzvah and not for any monetary reward.

 

If the owner insists that he still wants to compensate the finder for his good deed, it is permissible for the finder to accept the reward. (See Shu"t Teshuvos V'Hanhagos Vol. 3 Siman 463)

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

1) There is no obligation to spend money in order to fulfill the obligation of Hashovas Aveidah.

 

Thus, if one will incur a financial loss by returning a lost item he is exempt from doing so. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav ibid. See also Bais Yosef Choshen Mishpat Siman 426 quoting the Rosh in Sanhedrin 73 and Shu"t Chavos Ya'ir Siman 165)

 

2) Even if one will have to forgo on a profit, in order to fulfill Hashovas Aveida, he is exempt from doing so. (Shulchan Aruch HaRav ibid.)

 

However, if the finder is sure that the owner will compensate him for his financial loss or loss of profit incurred due to his returning the lost item, he is indeed obligated to spend the money or forgo the profit in order to return the item to its rightful owner. (See S'ma Siman 426:1)

 

Halachos for Sunday December 20, 2020

 

1) If due to being busy with picking up and returning a lost item it will cause the finder to arrive late to work and thus cause him to lose part of his [hourly] wages, he is exempt from busying himself with the item in the first place.

 

2) However, if the hours lost can be made up by staying at work later or otherwise, and thus not cause any loss in wages, he is obligated in all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah. (See Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 100 footnote 7 )

 

 

Halachos for Monday, December 21, 2020

 

1) One who spots a lost item at a bus stop while waiting for the bus, and dealing with it will cause him to miss the bus and be late for work, is not obligated to pick it up, as the loss of time is considered a loss of money. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K'Halacha age 100 footnote 8)

 

) However, if he already picked it up, he has already obligated himself and may not put it back down or give it over to someone else to deal with. (as once he picks it up he becomes a Shomer, a watchman, and he is responsible for the item and it is Asur for a Shomer to give it over to another Shomer. Ibid. footnote 9)

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, December 22, 2020

 

1) Even if one will end up losing time from learning Torah (Bitul Torah) due to being involved with returning a lost object, he is still obligated to do so, as the principal purpose of learning Torah is in order to fulfill its commandments. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and HaRav Moshe Feinstein Zichronam L'Vracha, quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K'Halacha page 101 footnote 12)

 

2) While one is actively involved in the Mitzvah of Hashovas Aveidah he is exempt from Krias Shma and Tefilah, provided he could not make the time to accomplish both. (Not a common occurrence. See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman37:7)

 

Halachos for Wednesday, December 23, 2020

 

​1) One who finds a lost object that according to Halacha he is permitted to keep, and it is a valuable item which gladdens his heart, may recite the Bracha of "SheHechiyanu". (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 222:4 and Mishna Berura S"K 6 and Sha'arei Tziyun Os 6)

If the item will bring pleasure to others in his family as well, he should recite "HaTov V'haMeitiv" instead of "SheHechiyanu". (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 223:5. See also archives of Halachos of SheHechiyanu @ www.HalachaForToday.com for more on this concept.)

 

2) If the item was found during Bein HaMetzarim, it is best to hold off on reciting "SheHechiyanu" until after Tisha B'Av; HaTov V'hameitiv may be recited immediately.

If, however, by pushing off reciting "SheHechiyanu" until after Tish B'Av the joy will wane, many Poskim allow it to be recited immediately.

 

As well, if the item was found on Shabbos, "SheHechiyanu" may be recited even though it's Bein Hametzorim. (See Rama Siman 551:17 and Mishna Berura Siman 551:98 and Sefer Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 105 footnote 3 and 4)

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, December 24, 2020

 

1) If one finds a lost item on Shabbos, if it is not Muktzeh and is within an area with a kosher Eruv, he should pick it up and announce it [even on Shabbos] and follow all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah. (See Mishna Berura Siman 306 S"K 48)

 

2) If the item has no Siman, and will thus belong to the finder, he may pick it up for himself on Shabbos as well. (See Hagahos Rav Akiva Eiger on the Mogen Avraham Orach Chaim Siman 339:6)

However, he should do so in an inconspicuous way so that nobody will notice that he is acquiring the item (Kinyan) on Shabbos. (Ruling of HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal quoted in Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa Perek 29 footnote 83)

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, December 25, 2020 Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If one finds a lost item on Shabbos in an area that has a kosher Eruv, yet he himself is someone who is stringent (machmir) not to carry even within an Eruv, he should determine what he would do if the item was his own.

 

If he would leave his own item lying there, he needn't carry the found item either. If, however, for his own item he would forgo his stringency and indeed pick it up and carry it home, he is obligated to do so for someone else's lost item as well. (Ruling of HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal based on Shulchan Aruch Chosen Mishpat Siman 263:1)

 

2) If the lost item is Muktzeh it is forbidden to pick it up on Shabbos, even if it is a lesser category of Muktzeh such as a Kli Shemelachto L'Isur. (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 266:13 and the Mishna Berura and Biur Halacha there. See also Shu"t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 5 Siman 42 and Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchasah Perek 20 footnote 28)

 

However, he should kick it with his foot, or move it another indirect way, to a secure corner and come back after Shabbos to retrieve it and announce it. (See Mishna Berura Siman 308 S"K 13)

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh



1) One who finds a lost object on Chol HaMoed, when non-essential writing is forbidden, may write a notice announcing that he found the item and hang it in Shul or another public place.

The reason for this is that it is possible that the owner will only be in the area for the duration of the Yom Tov and thus will not see a notice that is posted after Yom Tov.

 

2) Likewise, it is permitted for the owner of the lost object to write a notice on Chol HaMoed, and to hang it, letting people know of his loss so that they may return it to him if found. (See Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 107 footnote 13)

 

Halachos for Sunday December 27, 2020

 

1) If one finds a lost item and is told by his father or mother not to return it, he must not obey, and he must indeed fulfill all the Halachos of Hashovas Aveida. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 266:5)

 

The above is true even if the reason they asked him not to do it is because they want his help at that time. (See S'ma Siman 266 Os 9)

 

2) However, if he was already in middle of doing something for his parents, and saw a lost object, he is exempt from picking it up, as he is in the midst of a different Mitzvah, Kibud Av V'Eim, and one who is doing a Mitzvah is exempt from doing another Mitzvah at that time (Osek B'Mitzvah Patur Min HaMitzvah). (Taz Siman 266. If he is able to accomplish both Mitzvos, some Poskim rule that he should try and work that out.)

 

It is a Mitzvah for the parent to be mochel, forgo on his honor in order to allow the son to involve himself in Hashovas Aveida; indeed if the parent is mochel, the son should busy himself with the lost item. (ibid.)

 

 

Halachos for Monday, December 28, 2020

 

1) One who finds a lost item that belongs jointly to two people (shutfim, partners) must return it to them, provided that each of them owns at least the value of a Prutah in the item.

 

2) If, however, one or both of the partners do not own a perutah's worth of the item, there is no obligation to return the item to any of them. (See S'ma Siman 262:5)

 

The exact value of a 'Perutah' nowadays is not clear. It certainly is not just one penny. The Poskim place it at anywhere from 2 or 3 cents to 50 cents.  See Shulchan Choshen Mishpat siman 88:1. See also Shiurei Torah from Rav Chaim Na'eh Zatzal Page 177. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (quoted by Rav Shimon D. Eider Zatzal, Hilchos Chanukah page 38) ruled that a Perutah is 2 or 3 cents, though that amount may have increased since the time of that psak, due to inflation. See also 'Halachos of Other People’s Money' by Rav Yisroel Pinchos Bodner page 150)

 

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, December 29, 2020

 

1) One who finds an item in, or near, a trash bin, and it is evident that the owner disposed of the item, it belongs to the finder, even if it has a clear Siman.

 

2) However, if the items found there are small items that seems to have been dropped there by accident while sweeping the floor or another inadvertent way, if they have a Siman, they have to be announced.

 

If they do not have a siman, and it is evident that they have been lying there for a while already, and the owner most likely already had Yiush, the finder may keep the item. (Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 260:11, See also Sm”a S” K 54 and Shach S” K 34 there)

 

 

Halachos for Wednesday, December 30, 2020

 

1) If one lost an item, and then finds a similar lookig item in the place where he lost his item, and he isn’t sure if that item is his or not, he should take the item and wait some time to see if another person comes forward claiming to have lost that item.

 

 

2) After some time goes by and nobody comes forward to try and find their lost item, we assume it belongs to the finder, and indeed the item he found was his item all along. (See Shu”t Minchas Yitzchol Vol. 3 Siman 17)

 

Halachos for Thursday, December 31, 2020

 

1) One who finds money or another item that according to Halacha is deemed his to keep, should give Ma’aser from his newly acquired ‘income’. (Ruling of Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal, muted in Hashovas Aveida K’Hilchasah page 109; he deems this no different than receiving a gift from an Aino Yehudi, where the Yehudi is obligated to give Ma’ser from it. Other Poskim may disagree; for a ruling each individual should consult their own Rav)

 

2) However, if he goes above the letter of the law (L’fnim Mishuras Hadin)  and returns the item to the original owner, despite halacha allowing him to keep it for himself, he is not required to give ma’aser from its value before returning it to the original owner. (Psak of Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal, quoted in Sefer Mishpat H’Aveida Siman 259; Shaar Hatziyun S”K 124)

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, January 1, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) One who finds a loose single paper currency (dollar, shekel or any other country’s currency) of any denomination, being that it has no siman, it may be kept by the finder, provided it is evident that it fell there and was not intentionally placed there by someone.

 

 

2) If more than one bill was found together, then the amount that was found is in itself a siman, and it must be announced. When announcing this, he should simply say “Money found” and not give any indication as to if the amount found was one bill or more. (Shulchan Aruch and Ram a Siman 262: 11, 12 and 13)

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If one announced the finding of paper currency that according to halacha he had the right to keep, if a Talmid Chacham (Torah scholar) comes forth and claims that he recognizes the money and it is his, he is believed and it is returned to him. (Ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, quoted in Kuntres Hashovas Aveida, as Talmidei Chachamim are not accused of lying to claim money that is not rightfully theirs. See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 262:3 and Sm”a there S” K 46)

 

 

2) If one finds coins, in a manner that it is evident that it was placed there intentionally and then forgotten there, he is obligated to try and find the owner.

 

If, however, it is evident that the coins fell there, the finder can keep the coins. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 262:12)

 

If it is not apparent if they were placed there intentionally or if they fell there, they should be treated as if they were placed there intentionally and announced. (ibid.)

 

If the finder went ahead and took the coins for himself anyhow, despite it not being evident that they fell there, if the amount is a small amount of money he may use it, but he needs to write down the amount he used and the place he found it, in case the person who lost it comes forward to claim it.(See Biur HaGra to Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

 

Halachos for Sunday January 3, 2021

 

1) One who finds a sealed envelope with a postmark from the post office on it, should return it to the person to whom the letter is addressed. (This is a common occurrence that mail is delivered to the wrong address.)

 

When this happens, all the halachos of Hashovas Aveidah apply and the letter needs to be returned to its intended recipient.

 

If, for whatever reason, the intended recipient cannot be found, the letter should be returned to sender.

 

2) If the letter found has a stamp on it, but does not have a postmark from the post office on it, he should place the letter into a public mail box, so that it can be received and processed by the post office and make its way to its intended recipient. (Psak of Rav Nissim Karelitz Zatzal, quoted in Hashovas Aveidah K’Hilchasah page 116)

 

 

 

Halachos for Monday, January 4, 2021

 

1) If one finds money in a vending machine, pay telephone or similar place, he can keep the money, as it does not belong to the owner of the machine, and there is no obligation to try and find the one who forgot it in there. (See Rama Choshen Mishpat Siman 268:3)

 

 

2) One who borrows a book or a Sefer from a library or any other item from a Gemach, and finds money or another object inside the book or the borrowed item, if he is able to determine who used the book or the item immediately before him he should return it to them provided that they can identify it with proper Simanim. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 260:3)

 

If it cannot be determined who used the book or the item last, it should be announced like any other lost item, unless it is evident that the book or item was not used in a long time, and thus we assume that the owner had Yiush and the finder can keep the item. (See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 262:5)

 

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

 

1) One who finds an item that is forbidden to be used, such as non-kosher food, tickets to a forbidden venue, a non Tznius article of clothing or similar item, if it has a siman it must be returned as you don't assume that the owner will use it in a forbidden fashion. (Ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zatzal quoted in Sefer Hashovas Aveida K'Halacha page 119)

 

2) However, if you have credible reason to believe that the owner will indeed use the item, if it is returned to them, in a forbidden fashion, it should be sold to a non-Jew and the money returned to the owner, as returning the item to the owner will be a transgression of "Lifnei Iver Lo Titen Michshol", the prohibition against causing another Jew to sin. (ibid.)

 

 

Halachos for Wednesday, January 6, 2021

 

1) One who finds a lottery or other raffle ticket, if it has a siman, of course it has to be returned to the one who purchased it, and every effort should be made to try and find the owner of this ticket.

 

2) If it does not have a siman, as is usually the case for such tickets, the finder may not use it, and if that ticket wins, he may not redeem and claim the prize with the found ticket, as if the organizers of the lottery would know he was not the original purchaser, they would never agree to allow him to claim it. (See Hashovas Aveida K’Hilchasa page 118 footnote 35)

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, January 7, 2021

 

1) If one finds something whose usage time is limited, such as a lulav on Sukkos or Matzah on Pesach, he should try his best to locate the owner right away.

 

2) If, however, there is no siman on the item, or if he announced it and nobody claimed it, he can use the item, provided that he write down the pertinent details of what he found, such as when and where he found it, their worth etc., so that he will be able to repay the owner when Eliyahu Hanavi arrives and he is identified. (Ruling of Rav Nisim Karelitz Zatal quoted in Hashovas Aveida K’Hilchasa page 119 footnote 36)

 

It is important to note, however, that he will not fulfill his mitzvah obligation with this Lulav or this Matzah, unless he is positive that the owner had Yiush before they came into the possession of the finder. (As by Lulav there is a requirement of “Lachem’ that they belong to you. Some have this requirement for Matzah on the first night of Pesach too. See Ketzos Hachoshen Siman 353:2)

 

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh,January 8, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If one finds a credit card that does not have the name of the owner on it, or if he does not recognize the name on the card even after due diligence, he should return it to the issuing bank.

 

2) However, if he suspects that by returning it to the bank, the person he gives it do may be untrustworthy, and may use the card and thus cause the owner a loss, it should not be returned to the bank, and rather held on to.

 

Once the expiration date printed on the card arrives, and the card is no longer valid, he may discard the card, as at that point it is worthless. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 262:1)

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) Ne who finds a ring of keys must announce it so the owner can be located, as the number of keys, and the type of keys on the ring, is a good siman.

 

2) One who finds a single key which doesn’t have a specific siman on it and is not attached to a keychain which can serve as a siman, it is questionable if there is an obligation to announce it.

 

If someone comes forward and says he lost a key, even if he doesn’t 100% recognize the key you found, it may be given to him to try and open the lock that he claims the key he lost opens, and if it works he can have it.

 

After a while passes since the single key is announced, and nobody claims it, it may be discarded.

 

Halachos for Sunday January 10, 2021

 

1) Until now we were discussing the mitzvah of Hashovas Aveidah in its regular context of returning lost objects to ther owner.

 

We will now discuss some other applications of this mitzvah in other contexts.

 

Included in the mitzvah of Hashovas Aveidah is the obligation to help prevent any harm from befalling a fellow Jew. (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:9)

 

2) One who spots intruders breaking in to another Jew’s home may not ignore it; he must notify the police. (See Rashbam to Bava Basra 53a dibur hamaschil Hai Mavriach Ari. Regarding notifiying the authorities on Shabbos, see Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Perek 41:25)

 

 

Halachos for Monday, January 11, 2021

 

1) One who notices a worker stealing from his employer, or using the employer’s things without permission, has an obligation to notify the employer. (Based on Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:9 )

 

 

2) For Halacha L’Ma’she in all these types of situations, if you are not sure if what you see warrants your notifying the employer, a Rav should be consulted to determine if, what and how you should proceed.

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, January 12, 2021

 

1) One who notices water leaking into the property of his neighbor, or any other Jew, where the water can cause monetary damage to the property, has an obligation to do whatever he can toprevent the damage from occurring. (Based on Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:9)

 

2)The same applies to one who notices a fire burning or any other elements that can cause destruction and damage to another's property.

 

Many Poskim rule that this applies to public property as well, as preventing public monetary loss is included in this halacha.

 

 

 

Halachos for Wednesday, January 13, 2021

 

1) One who notices that his/her neighbor mistakenly left their lights or air conditioning running when they are not home, or if they left the interior lights in their car on (which can drain the battery and often lead to financial loss) , has an obligation to close the lights for them (where that is an option) or at least notify them so they can take care of it themselves.

 

2) Regarding if one notices a car's interior light open on Shabbos, it may be permissible to hint to an Aino- Yehudi to close it, if it can lead to a significant monetary loss. (See Mishna Berura Siman 397 S” K 22. For Halacha L’ma’aseh, a Rav must always be consulted, of course)

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, January 14, 2021

 

1) One who witnesses someone damaging another person’s car and then fleeing the scene, is obligated to give all the details of what he witnessed (license plate number, make of the car, time of day, sequence of events he witnessed etc.) to the owner of the damaged vehicle. (Based on Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 259:9)

 

2) If he doesn’t immediately know who the owner of the damaged vehicle is, he should write down all the details so that he can give it to the owner of the vehicle when he is identified.

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh,January 15, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) One who notices another Jew transgressing a Torah prohibition, or otherwise acting in a way that is against Halacha, has an obligation to try and get him to mend his ways.

 

2) Although the aforementioned obligation is already in place due to the positive Torah command of rebuking fellow Jews who are erring in their ways, as the Posuk (Vayikra 19:17) states “Hocheiach Tochiach Es Amisecah”, it is also a fulfillment of Hashovas Aveidah, as Chazal teach that if one must return a lost object, and prevent monetary and bodily harm from befalling a fellow Jew, surely one must “return” a person’s soul that has been distanced from Hashem. (See Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 239: 4. See also MaHaram Shik,Mitzvah 240.)

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If a fellow Jew is ill or is otherwise in danger, it is a Mitzvah to pray on his/her behalf that they be saved from their illness or predicament.

 

2) Besides being a fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Chesed, according to many Poskim this is also a fulfillment of the obligation of Hashovas Aveidah, preventing bodily harm to a fellow Jew. (See Kobetz Shiurim from Rav Elchonon Wasserman HY”D, toward the end of the introduction. See also Sha’arei Orah Vol. 2, Parashas Masei, where he writes that not praying may be a transgression of the negative commandment, “Lo Sa’amod Al Dam Re’echa. (Vayikra 19:16) 

 

Halachos for Sunday January 17, 2021

 

1) Chazal teach us that there are many things that if they are done they are “Kasheh L’Shikcha”, lead to forgetting [Torah] knowledge that we have previously acquired. (Just a few of the many examples of this include not to dry your hands after Netilas Yadayim on your shirt, See Mishna Berura Siman 158:45 ; not to don two articles of clothing at one time, See Mishna Berura Siman 2 S"K 2; not to eat bread that is not fully baked, See Talmud Horiyos 13b)

 

Chazal also teach that certain actions that are done or not done can lead to Aniyus, poverty. ( A few examples of this include flippantly using the name of Hashem to curse someone , even in a language other than Lashon Kodesh, See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 6:3; Regularly reciting brachos and Tefilos while in the presence of immodestly clad women, Chofetz Chaim based on Talmud Nedarim 7b ; One who overlooks his own poor relatives and gives tzedakah others first, See Sefer Chasidim Siman 530; One who is regularly not scrupulous with the Mitzvah of Netilas yadaym for bread, See See Talmud Shabbos 62b)

 

One who sees a fellow Jew doing or not doing something that Chazal have deemed an action that can lead to his forgetting his [Torah] knowledge or can lead to him being afflicted with poverty R”L, should inform him of this so that he can address the issue.

 

Some Poskim consider this also to be a fulfillment of Hashovas Aveidah, while others just deem it a Mitzvah of Chesed. (See Mishpat Ha’aveidah, Pesicah, Birur Halacha S”K 5 Os 4)

 

Halachos for Monday, January 18, 2021

 

1) One who knows that a certain storeowner is a swindler, or he knows that he sells items at a higher price than allowed by halacha, and notices that someone is about to purchase something from him, he is obligated to inform the buyer, to save him from a monetary loss.

 

2) In certain cases it may e be permissible to inform the buyer even after he already bought the item, though there are many details that would have to be satisfied, so this should not be done without first consulting a Rav. (See Sefer Chofetz Chaim Hilchos rechilus Klal 9: 9,10 and 11)

 

Halachos for Tuesday, January 19, 2021

 

1) If a stolen item ends up in one’s possession, and he knows who the owner is, he is obligated to return the item to the owner. (Rama Chosen Mishpat Siman 348:7. See also Biur HaGra there S”K 23)

 

2) If he does not know who the owner is, he should announce it the same way he would another item that was found. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Gezeila U’Geneiva 11)

 

Halachos for Wednesday, January 20, 2021

 

1) One who is aware that his friend is owed money by another Jew, but has forgot about it, is obligated to remind him about it so that he can claim it. (Tashbatz Katan Siman 495)

 

2) Not reminding him about this debt may even be a Torah transgression for the one who knows about it. (ibid.)

 

Halachos for Thursday, January 21, 2021

 

1) One who knows information that can be helpful to another Jew in a court case in Bais Din, to prevent him from a loss, is obligated to give testimony, even if he is only one witness. (See Sha’ar Hamishpat Siman 16:2 and Siman 28:2. See also Nesivos Hamishpat Siman 28:1)

 

2) Surely, if two witnesses know this information, they are obligated to come forward and give their testimony in Bais Din, and not doing so is a Torah transgression for them. (See Nesivos Hamishpat ibid.)

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh,January 22, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If Bais Din obligated someone to pay money in a monetary dispute, and someone has information that would change the ruling, he is obligated to notify the one who Bais Din ruled against. (See Tur, Choshen Mishpat Siman 154:1)

 

2) However, in certain situations, it would be obligatory to first bring that information to the Bais Din’s attention before being allowed to relay the information to the one they ruled against. Thus, a Rav must be consulted before relaying any such information, to ensure that it is being relayed according to halacha, and won’t lead to senseless hatred and disrespect to Talmidei Chachamim. (See Pischei Teshuva Choshen Mishpat Siman 19:1)

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) Someone who picks up a lost object for someone else, the one who it is being picked up for halachically acquires (Kinyan) the object.(Shulchan Aruch Siman 269:1. See also Shach and Sma there)

 

2) This is the case even if the one who it is being picked up for does not know that it is being picked up on his behalf. Some Poskim rule that the one picking it up has to verbalize that he is picking it up on behalf of the other person, while other Poskim say just having that intent suffices. (Sma ibid. See also Ketzos Hashulchan 269:1 and Shach and Nesivos hamishpat 269:1 . See also  Ketzos Hachoshen Siman 181:1 and )

 

 

With endless gratitude to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, to Whom the world and everything in it belongs, this concludes our review of the Halachos of Hashovas Aveidah.

 

It is our collective Tefilah that in the merit of our studying the Halachos of lost items may we soon merit the arrival of Mashiach Tzidkeinu, as the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) teaches that lost items and Mashiach both happen when we least expect them to (B’Hesech Hada’as)

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Please Note:
The Halachos on this website are based on my personal understanding of the Halachic texts quoted, and are for learning purposes only, NOT for Psak Halacha.

DO NOT rely on them for Psak Halacha L’Maaseh. If you have questions or require further source information, please email the question at Ben@HalachaForToday.com and I will try to respond as soon as I can. For a Halacha L’Ma’aseh Psak, please contact your local Orthodox Rabbi.

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