Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Returning Lost Objects

Part 12*

In the previous article we began to discuss how one go about announcing the loss of an item. We saw that the finder is required to put up signs in public places announcing the discovery of the item. What should one write on these signs?

The notice should specify the type of item found so as to attract the attention of the owner. However, its description should not be so detailed as to reveal the identifying features - in order to identify the item's true owner he must be able to give the simunim (identifying features). If those simunim are already revealed on the sign then anyone can claim ownership without identifying the unique simunim himself. For example, if one found a bag with a number of items in it, the sign should say that a bag was found and that it contained various items within it. However, the nature of these items should not be mentioned so that any claimant to the bag will have to specifically identify what items were in the bag.

The finder has the responsibility to be careful not to give the item to a deceitful person who is not the true owner. There are ways in which such a person may be able to discover the identifying features of the item and use that knowledge to convince the finder that he is the owner.

Accordingly, even if the claimant gives the correct simunim, if the finder suspects him of being dishonest then he must try to assess whether he is a trustworthy individual. For example, the finder should ask for a reliable reference who can attest to the claimant's honesty. Needless to say, a relative or friend of the claimant does not qualify as being a reliable reference. Only after the finder has ascertained the claimant's reliability can he return the item. If the finder cannot be certain of his reliability then he may not return it to the claimant unless he has totally irrefutable proof that the item is his.**


*Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.

**The main type of irrefutable proof are two valid 'witnesses' who testify to the claimant's ownership. However, there are a number of details as to who constitutes a valid witness so one should not rely on such witnesses without consultation with an Orthodox Rabbi.


Text Copyright 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Faith Healer
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Be a Holy Nation!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Different Strokes for Different Folks
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

ArtScroll

Faith Healer
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

The Command To 'Be Holy' Was Given In A Mass Gathering
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

"Peripheral Events" May be the Focus of Divine Providence
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

> Love Your Neighbor: Who Needs Friends?
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Power of Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

From the Profanity of Profanities
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Holiness Applies to More than Bagel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Basic Recognition
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Holy Pursuits - Mundane Paths
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Sacred Appointment
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

The Third Rail
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Burden of Reproof
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

More Power To You
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information