In Elu Metziot, (Perek 2 of masechet Bava Metzia), It establishes that Maot mefuzarot is lo haveh yeush becuase of R' Yitzchak's baraisa of Mashmesh. My only problem is that the baraisa adds "sha'ah vesha'ah", which means literally: "hour and hour", but it really means often. So it's saying that a man checks his pockets frequently so he gives up on it.

If that's what it's saying, it doesnt make sense to say its yeush, because sha'ah vesha'ah seemingly implys that he knew about the money falling almost instantly. Why would that be relevant? Because it would have to be that he checked his pockets in a time where its not hopeless to trace your steps and get the money back. So that has to mean he's leaving it up to the public, hefker. He's not giving up hope on the object, he just doesn't see the need to get it back. This also comes back in the later proof of the bread which the reason why you can take the bread is because he knows instantly when it falls out, which the rabbis also say that you are able to take the bread because of mashmesh. So the bread is obviuosly hefker and not yeush even without taking mashmesh into consideration.

So why is the gemara using yeush when it's really talking about hefker?

3 Answers 3


According to Rashi in Bava Metzia 21 by having Yiush ie despairing on a lost object makes it hefker - ownerless.

מעות מפוזרות - הואיל ואין להם סימן ניכר איאושי מיאש והוו להו הפקר וזהו טעם כולם

Although Rashi says the object is hefker, he does not mean that yiush is synonymous with hefker. Yiush and hefker are different. Hefker is when one willingly removes his ownership from an item. By declaring, or perhaps thinking it hefker, one is actively removing the item from his possession. This is true of something that you would want to discard. But an aveida is something you want to keep, and it is unlikely that you would consciously remove it from your ownership. Yiush is a passive feeling of hopelessness. The Torah says that if you lose something and do not retain any hope of getting it back, you relinquish your ownership. Rashi means that the result of yiush is hefker, that the item becomes ownerless, but the act of yiush is not making something hefker. (However, the Nesivos Hamishpat says that even the result of yiush is different than hefker. Hefker becomes ownerless, whereas an aveida after yiush still belongs to the original owner until someone else picks it up. According to the Nesivos, yiush can be retracted since the item still belongs to the owner, but one cannot retract an act of hefker).

Source (https://images.shulcloud.com/189/uploads/nitzachon/vol-6-2.pdf)


Short answer: Your making a wrong assumption that people know right away. Really they know very soon.

Longer answer: It sounds to me like you are making an assumption based on a question and then asking a question based on your assumption. I agree with your first question but I would like to argue with your first assumption. I don’t think the Gemara at all means to say that because a person is memashmesh bkiso bchol shaah he knows right away and is mafkir his coin. I think the answer to your question is that a person knows very soon after he drops it not that he knows right away. Therefore when a person finds the coin he can assume that the loser already knows about it and was meyayesh. (It might be working using the concept of rov) (This might be the same answer as Josh Waxman)

  • 1
    What about the case of the loaves of bread?
    – Joel K
    Feb 4 at 7:24
  • @JoelK I think I would say the same thing... I agree that in a case of something where the loser is alerted to having lost it by the weight difference it is harder to say what I said.
    – TRich
    Feb 5 at 3:18
  • See Gemara and Rashi on Bava Metzia 26b which clearly show that when someone loses a coin he doesn't necessarily know right away. sefaria.org/…
    – TRich
    Feb 5 at 3:23

First, while there was a Tanna who was a Rabbi Yitzchak, this Rabbi Yitzchak is a third generation Amora of the land of israel, who is explaining the brayta. You can tell from the Aramaic prefix, de-amar Rabbi Yitzchak. He is answering the ta shema attempted proof from the brayta. That it is a Rabbi title is because he's from Israel, not because he's a Tanna.

That the one who lost it is checking his pockets is not hefker. This is something you are reading into it, using some process of reasoning. But Rabbi Yitzchak is expeditious explaining how there was yiush in the situation described in the brayta. Since people often touch their wallets, the probability it that he realized before the finder found it. And since he doesn't know where he lost it, and they're are plenty of people who may pick it up before he located it, and no siman, yes, he will abandon hope. So it is yiush.

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