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The gemara in Bava Basra 12 discusses the splitting of a field in an equitable manner such that one of the individuals receives an additional personal benefit due to some external circumstance (having a field adjacent to the property being split, in this case). They then go on to discuss the parameters of "zeh neheneh vizeh lo chaser" (one party benefitting in a non-zero sum manner) as part of the principal of "kofin all midas sedom" (we can legally force people to take an action where their refusal is solely to deny the other party a benefit).

Of the three opinions, Rabah applies it broadly (looking at strictly the market value of the field), Rav Yosef applies it to conceptual future benefits (that a specific part of the field may by chance get more or less water), and Rav Yehudah applies it to ancillary outcomes (that the hiring of additional workers for the separate fields brings a benefit to the other partners). We declare Rav Yosef the psak.

This would seem to inform the parameters of the principal of "Kofin al midas sedom" - we only consider direct outcomes and not secondary benefits resulting from denying the first party their "surplus."

I have heard of this concept being used to justify borrowing personal items (tallis, shtender, etc.) left in shul as long as they are treated properly.

Do we see this principal being applied outside of the realm of property law? For instance, does anyone apply this as a generic moral?

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    "I have heard of this concept being used to justify borrowing personal items (tallis, shtender, etc.) left in shul as long as they are treated properly." If I'm not mistaken, the reason one is allowed to use those items is because we assume a person would allow his items to be used for a Mitzvah; that Heter doesn't extend to other items. Also, shameless plug of my own answer: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/63981/… – Salmononius2 Feb 8 '17 at 21:40
  • @Salmononius2 while what you say would be true where the intent of the original owner is unknown (so we can assume they would permit it) I have heard that even if the particular individual is known to begrudge others using his items there might be room to say that we may use them perforce due to the principle of zeh neheneh vizeh lo chasser. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 9 '17 at 0:39
  • As an aside, could someone invoke this principle regarding a proposal that positively affects one group of individuals (in their estimation) while providing no clearly harm to the remainder? Conversely, we do see that Chazal had a grasp of the "tragedy of the commons" where one is not allowed to nebulously harm public interest for personal benefit... – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 10 '17 at 20:05

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