Can you please help me on the first few lines of Bava Metzia 34a. Thank You. What is the exact translation:

מי יימר דמגנבא ואם תימצי לומר דמגנבא מי יימר דמשתכח גנב ואי משתכח גנב מי יימר דמשלם דלמא מודי ומפטר

Thanks again.


2 Answers 2


Well to quote Artscroll Hakadosh:

"מי יימר דמגנבא-who is to say that [the deposit] will be stolen"

"ואם תימצי לומר דמגנבא-and even if you can say who is to say with certainty that it will be stolen"

"מי יימר דמשתכח גנב -who is to say that the thief will be apprehended?"

"ואי משתכח גנב-and even if the thief is apprehended,"

"מי יימר דמשלם-who is to say that [the thief] will pay?"

"דלמא מודי ומפטר-Perhaps he will confess his crime and avoid imposition of penalty payment .Thus since penalty payments are not likely to be forthcoming how can they be conveyed in advance?"

I hope I was able to help


The following translation comes from Jacob Neusner (2011):

b. Bava Metzia 34A
“. . . who can say for certain that the bailment is going to be stolen?
And if you choose to say that it is sure to be stolen, then who can say for sure that the thief is going to be found?
And if the thief is found, who can say for certain that he will pay the restitution at all?
Perhaps he will confess his guilt and be exempt from having to pay double [but merely makes restitution of the beast]!”

Neusner, Jacob (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 14). Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 162.

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