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A person replaced a 3 seat sofa and took the old one down to the building's Chatzer and willingly Hefkered it. He advertised it online to come and take it for free, mentioning it is in the Chatzer.

A guy called and said he's coming to take it. After an hour another guy called and asked if the sofa is still available. Turned out the first guy left a stick-it on the sofa with his name and ID number. It also appears that the sofa wasn't moved around.

Does the note points at his ownership, or can the second guy come and (rightfully) grab it?

  • 2
    Practical halachic questions are off-topic. – DonielF Apr 4 at 21:09
  • You asked if this is kinyan by making shinuy. אין המטלטלים נקנים אלא במשיכה – kouty Apr 4 at 21:16
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    Fun yerushalmi megilah 3:2 אמר רבי חייה בשם רבי יוחנן אם היה שם הבעלים חקוק עליהן כמו שלא נשתכח שם הבעלים מהן – Dr. Shmuel Apr 4 at 21:33
  • @Dr.Shmuel Nice, but it is after the ownership was a Chazoke? – Al Berko Apr 4 at 22:01
  • Does this fall under the rubric of the rabbinic method of kinyan, known as סיטומתא? – IsraelReader Apr 4 at 22:11
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See Mishna Peah 4.3

To lie down on the Peah is as to write your name and doesn't make kinyan. One needs to make hagbaha

נָטַל מִקְצָת פֵּאָה וּזְרָקָהּ עַל הַשְּׁאָר, אֵין לוֹ בָהּ כְּלוּם. נָפַל לוֹ עָלֶיהָ, וּפֵרֵשׂ טַלִּיתוֹ עָלֶיהָ, מַעֲבִירִין אוֹתָהּ הֵימֶנּוּ. וְכֵן בְּלֶקֶט, וְכֵן בְּעֹמֶר הַשִּׁכְחָה:

If one took a part of the Peah and threw it on the rest, he gets no portion of it [thereby]. Even if he falls upon it or spreads his cloak on it, we remove it [the Peah] from him. And thus it is for Leket [fallen gleanings given to the poor], and thus it is for the sheaf of Shikhechah [forgotten sheaves given to the poor].

See an interesting Tosfot in B.M 2a

...דבראיה בעלמא לא קני. והא דאמרי' בפרק הבית והעלייה (לקמן דף קיח. ושם) הבטה בהפקר קני היינו שעשה מעשה כל דהו כגון שגדר גדר קטן: ‏

Following this Tosfot, one Maase needs to be made. Anyways, poskim that to look at heffker doesn't make owning CM 273.11

  • I don't see writing the name - why do you link the two? – Al Berko Apr 4 at 21:27
  • It is a siman that you own first. See also ראיתיהin the first daf of b.k. There is a suggia of habata min hahefker – kouty Apr 4 at 21:30
  • Good, see my comment to Shmuel - what if he did Hagboeh first? – Al Berko Apr 4 at 21:47
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    He needs to give a proof – kouty Apr 4 at 21:48
  • Turns out, it goes to the first person. I just asked the Rav. There is no reason to say he did not make the hagboeh, as also mentioned by @AlBerko – DrM Apr 9 at 2:09
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Choshen Mishpat (273:11)

דבר המופקר שבא אחד ושמרו והיה מביט בו שלא יטלנו אדם לא זכה עד שיגביהנו אם הוא מטלטל או יחזיק בקרקע כדרך שקונים הלקוחות:

One who comes to guard a hefker item, and was keeping an eye on it so no one takes it, cannot legally merit its ownership unless he lifts it etc.

(If one can’t lift it, drag it (Beur Heitev))

Aruch Hashulchan (173:15) says similar things:

הבטה לא קני בהפקר כגון דבר המופקר ובא אחד ושמרה והיה מביט בה שלא יטלנה אדם לא זכה ע"י שמירתו עד שיגביה אם הוא דבר המיטלטל ואם אינו יכול להגביהה יקננה במשיכה לרשותו ואם היא קרקע יחזיק בה כדרך שקונים לקוחות ומקבלי מתנה ואף על גב דבדבר שיש לו בעלים והשומר שומרו מתחייב השומר בפשיעת החפץ וכיון שזהו הפקר היה לנו לומר דבשמירתו נחשב כבעל החפץ מ"מ אינו קונה בזה ואפילו עומד בתוך ד' אמותיו כיון שלא כוון לקנותה בזה רק בשמירתו אינו קונה [נ"ל]:

  • We're doing progress! What if he did Hagboeh and then left the note? – Al Berko Apr 4 at 21:47
  • He would then be writing his name on his couch. – Dr. Shmuel Apr 4 at 21:48
  • So should we count on that he did lift it and owned it? – Al Berko Apr 4 at 21:50
  • There is no basis to say he did not lift it, and the other person came later. Finished. It is really very simple and very obvious. – DrM Apr 9 at 13:22
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There is more chazakah for the person who left the note than for the second person who is coming into the picture later.

Further, we have have no reason to say that the first person did not make a kinyon and there is no requirement that he put it down in a different place.

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