Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Returning Lost Objects

Part 4*

In previous weeks we began discussion of the lengthy laws pertaining to returning lost items. Last week we saw how one must assess whether an object is in fact lost or has been deliberately placed in that place and the owner plans to retrieve it. If this seems to be the case, then the 'finder' should not touch the object. If, however, he deduces that it is probably lost, then he may be obligated to try to return it to its owner. However, even if an item is lost, there are many circumstances in which it need not be returned to its original owner. In this piece, we will discuss some of these:

1. The obligation of returning a lost object does not apply to an object that is worth less than a prutah. A prutah was the lowest value of currency in the time of the Talmud. The modern day equivalent of a prutah is the lowest common denomination that can be used to purchase items. For example, in contemporary America, a penny or nickel cannot purchase anything. and even a dime can hardly purchase anything. Accordingly, if one found an item worth less than a dime he would not be obligated to return it. It is important to note that whilst one may take a lost item worth less than a prutah it is strictly forbidden to steal or borrow without permission such an item. Indeed, the Rabbis tell us that stealing items worth less than a prutah was one of the sins that the Generation of the Flood were punished for so harshly.

2. If an item falls into a place where under normal circumstances it will not be recovered, then it is deemed to be lost. Consequently, someone who then finds or recovers it may keep it. For example, if someone finds a watch that was dropped into the sea then he can presume that its owner has abandoned hope for it. Such an attitude renders an item hefker, which means that it is now considered ownerless and its finder can keep it. However, it should be noted that if the finder does identify the true owner, then it is praiseworthy for him to return it. One exception to this is if the finder is poor and the loser is wealthy.

We will continue with this list in coming weeks.


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


Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Home Alone
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Choosing Sides
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

New Stage, Old Actors
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

> The Rainbow Coalition
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

A Place To Be
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Three Philosophies at Bavel
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Not Just Despite, but Because of!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

People In Stone Houses Should not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Hide the Shame
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

ArtScroll

Law and Order
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

The Miracle of Free Will
Rabbi Elly Broch - 5765

The World is a Symphony
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Can You Enjoy While Others Lack?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Leisure Time
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Tire of Babel
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

“Live & Let Live?”
Jon Erlbaum - 0



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