We start on the bottom line of BM 22a.
Proof 14: Susceptibility to Ritual Impurity
[Foodstuffs cannot acquire impurity (tum'ah) by contact with a ritually impure object (cadaver, vermin, etc...) before they have been moistened. The rule is derived from the verse: "And if aught of their carcass fall on any sowing seed which is to be sown, it is clean. But if water is put upon the seed, and aught of their carcass fall onto it, it is unclean unto you (Levit. 11:37-38)". According to Halakhah, spelled out in Mishnah Makhshirin 6,4: "There are seven fluids (that induce susceptibility to tum'ah): dew, water, wine, oil, blood, milk, and bee's honey." Based on the above, the gemara brings another proof in support of Abbaye's opinion that despair without awareness is not despair.]
Listen [The gemara refers to a B'raita that discusses the case when a person spreads grain on his roof in order to protect it from infestation and it becomes wet with dew]:
While the dew is still upon it and he (the owner) is pleased, the case falls under the principle of "If the water is put ..." [i.e., the natural dew is equivalent to the owner's consciously applied water, and the grain is subject to tum'ah]. When it has dried out, even though he is pleased (because the dew saved him the trouble of moistening the grain before grinding it) it is not susceptible to impurity. What is the reason? Isn't it because we cannot say "now that it has been discovered that he is pleased, we can deduce that he would have been pleased before"?
[By analogy, post-facto despair over a lost object after it has been found is cannot be regarded as despair for the purpose of considering the object to have been abandoned.]
[The gemara rejects this proof too on exegetic grounds.]
Levit. 11:38 reads in Hebrew: "Ve-khi yutan mayim ..." (But if water be put ... ). The word "yutan" (passive voice), which would normally be spelled yod-vav-tav-nun is spelled here without the vav, i.e. yod-tav-nun, which - if the traditional pronunciation is ignored - can be read "yiten" (active voice).]
That case is different: "ki yutan" (without the vav) means "`ad she-yiten" (_until_ he actively puts water on the grain).
[This is challenged:] If so, the first ruling (that dew makes the grain susceptible to impurity. is also contradicted).
[The rebuttal:] There (in the matter of moistening by the dew) we follow Rav Pappa. Rav Pappa raises an objection: It is written "ki yiten" but we read "ki yutan"; how can this be explained? We require "ki yutan" to be similar to "ki yiten": just as "ki yiten" (active moistening) requires awareness, "ki yutan" (passive moistening, as by dew or rain) requires awareneness. [Thus, Rav Pappa's position is that both knowledge and conscious intent are required before moisture can make grain susceptible to tum'ah. Therefore, the analogy with despair over a lost object, where there is no explicit requirement of awareness, breaks down.]
We are now on the eighth line of B.M. 22b, and the debate between Rava and Abbaye on despair without awareness is still unresolved.
Proof 15. "Which He Hath Lost"
[The gemara returns to the issue of lost objects, and presents an argument in favor of Abbaye's view.]
Listen to what R Yo`hanan said in the name of R. Ishma`el (emended to R. Shim`on) ben Yehotzadaq: How do we know that the finder is allowed to keep a lost object that had been carried away by a river? For it is written (Deut 22:3) "So shalt thou do with his (thy brother's) ass; and so shalt thou do with his garment; and so shalt thou do with with every lost thing of the brother _which he hath lost_, and thou hast found".
[The words _which he hath lost_ (asher to'vad mimenu) are redundant, and add nothing to the plain sense (pshat) of the biblical text, so it is assumed that they refer to an additional feature. R. Yo`hanan's exegesis is as follows:]
That which he has lost and is in the possession of another person (must be returned) to the exclusion of that which he has lost and is not in the possession of another person (e.g. has been carried away by the river). Prohibition and permission are symmetrical. [This is the best that we can do with "isura dumia d'heteira" without excessive verbiage]. Just as it is permitted (to keep an object that had been swept away by a river) whether or not it bears an identifying mark, it is forbidden (to keep an object that was found before the loser is aware of the loss) whether or not it bears an identifying mark (because in neither case has the loser despaired of the loss at the time the lost object was found).
The refutation of Rava stands, and halakhah is fixed according to Abbaye (despair without awareness is not despair).
[The six-letter acronym (yod-ayin-lamed-qof-gimel-mem) lists the only six debates, out of the countless debates between Abbaye and Rava, in which Abbaye was declared the winner. The first of these "yod", short for "yeush" (despair) refers to the debate that has just been settled in Abbaye's favor.]
[Several questions still remained open.] Rav A`ha the son of Rava asked Rav Ashi: "Now that Rava has been refuted, how can we eat dates that have been blown by the wind and fallen to the ground (since the owner of the date-palm is not aware that they have fallen)?" [Remember: We have finally resolved the dispute between Rava and Abbaye in favor of Abbaye -- that despair without awareness is not despair. So the owner of the dates presumably does not know that they have fallen, and has not despaired ... and passersby cannot eat the dates!]
He answered: "There are insects and vermin that eat them (when they are on the ground) so the owner despairs of them in advance".
(R. A`ha:) "What if the palm tree belongs to orphans (who are underage, and are not legally entitled to relinquish their rights)?"
(Rav Ashi:) We do not presume that the entire valley belongs to the orphans (and since most of the date-palms in the valley do not belong to them, we go by the majority and do not assume that the dates have fallen from the orphans' tree."
(Rav A'ha:) "What if the land on which the dates have fallen) belongs to orphans? What if the date-palm (not necessarily belonging to orphans) is in an area enclosed by a stone wall?"
(Rav Ashi: In both cases) it is forbidden (to eat the dates. In the former case because there is no doubt that the dates belong to the orphans, who are not legally entitled to abandon them. In the latter, by building a wall around his date-palms, the owner made it clear in advance that he has not given up possession of any dates that may fall in the area.)
We are now a bit over half way down B.M. 22b
[Congratulations! Those of you who have been following the fifteen proposed proofs in the debate between Rava and Abbaye have completed a major "sugya" (topical discussion) of a classic talmudic principle.]
[We start in the middle of BM 22b with a new topic: What constitutes a legitimate identification mark that obligates the finder to announce that he has found a lost object. It begins with a debate between Rava and Rabba, Abbaye's adoptive father and mentor.]
Our Mishnah is cited: Sheaves of grain found in a public place (need not be announced). [The term used here for sheaves is _krikhot_, which are small compared to the larger _alumot_.]
Rabba said: Even something that has an identification mark (need not be announced). Rabba evidently is of the opinion that an identification mark that tends to be trampled [like a mark on a small sheaf] is not treated as an identification mark.
Rava said: The Mishnah refers here only to objects without an identification mark, whereas anything (even small sheaves) that are marked must be announced. But an object that _does_ have an identifying mark does have to be announced. Rava is evidently of the opinion that a mark that tends to be trampled _still_ is a mark [presumably because the owner continues to hope that the identifying mark will not be trampled].
There are some who teach this report as a discussion (of identity marks) in its own right (i.e., independently of the Mishna): (What is the rule in the general case of) an identity mark that tends to be trampled? Rabba said: it is not treated as an identity mark and Rava said: it is treated as an identity mark.
The gemara begins its analysis with Rabba's case: The Mishnah says, small sheaves found in a public place are the finder's but (in the next Mishnah p. 25a) small sheaves found in the private domain must be (taken and) announced. [Rashi explains that "private domain" means a path through a sown field that is used occasionally (what we might today call a right of way) but is not a public thoroughfare. Objects found on a person's private property are a separate issue that is discussed elsewhere.]
But what can he announce if there is no identification mark on them? Therefore, there must be an identification mark on them. But we have learned that if they are found in a public place they are the finder's (evidently because the mark will have been trampled out of recognition). It follows that identification marks that tend to be trampled are not treated as identification marks, as Rabba asserted, and Rava is refuted.
The gemara then presents Rava's counterargument: Rava would tell you, it can still apply to (small sheaves) without an identification mark, and if you ask "In the public domain, what can he announce?" (I reply), "He can announce the location." [According to Rashi, the finder announces the location and the claimant must specify the item lost. Accordig to Tosaphot, the finder announces that he has found the object, and the claimant has to specify the location where he lost it.]
Rabba says location is not treated as an identification mark, as has been said: Location, Rabba says it is not treated as an identification mark and Rava says it is treated as an identification mark.
We are now seven lines from the bottom of B.M. 22b.
Rabba vs. Rabba on Identification: 2. Small Sheaves and Large
[The issue is whether the place where a lost object was found can be regarded as proper identification.]
Come learn (a B'raita that amplifies our Mishna): "Small sheaves (krikhot) found in a public place belong to the finder and small sheaves found in the private domain must be taken and announced, but large sheaves (alumot), whether found in a public place or in the private domain, must be taken and announced".
How does Rabba explain this B'raita and how does Rava explain it? Rabba explains it in terms of his rationale about identification marks; Rava explains it in terms of his rationale about location.
Rabba explains it in terms of his rationale about identification marks: Small sheaves found in a public place belong to the finder because they tend to be trampled (so the any mark on them would be obliterated and the object rendered unidentifiable). Small sheaves found in the private domain (where there are fewer passersby) must be taken and announced, because they do not tend to be trampled. Large sheaves, whether found in a public place or in the private domain, must be taken and announced, because - being tall - they do not tend to be trampled (and any identification mark on them would be preserved).
Rava explains it in terms of his rationale about location: Small sheaves found in a public place belong to the finder because they tend to be displaced (so the place where they were found cannot serve as identification). Small sheaves found in the private domain must be announced, because they do not tend to be displaced. Large sheaves, whether found in a public place or in the private domain, must be taken and announced, because - being heavy - they do not tend to be displaced (so the place where they were found can serve as identification).
[The issue remains unresolved. We are now 8 lines from the top of 23b.]
Rabba vs. Rava: 3. Home-baked Loaves
Come learn (from our Mishnah and the next, on BM 25a): "Bakers' loaves are the finder's but home-baked loaves must be announced". What is the reason? Because they have an identifying mark: it is well known that bread baked by a person is that person's. It makes no difference whether (it was found) in a public place or in the private domain: the finder must take it and announce (that he has found it). It follows that a an identifying mark that tends to be trampled is (still condidered to be) an identifying mark; and Rabba (who says that is not) is refuted.
Rabba would say to you: "In that case (of home-baked loaves), it is (considered to be an identifying mark) because it is prohibited to pass over food (lying in the road)". [The loaves would therefore be picked up by the first person who sees them, so the chances are that they would not stay in place long enough to be trampled.]
[This rule is based on precedent. A story is told on Eruvin 64b about Rabban Gamliel who, while riding on a donkey near Acre, where there was a large non-Jewish population, saw loaves of white bread lying on the road. He instructed his disciple R. Ilay, who was walking behind him, to pick them up and give them to a gentile wayfarer. From his action it was learned that food cannot be left lying on the road, but must be picked up even if it forbidden to eat it.]
[This is answered:] There are gentiles (who would not feel obliged to pick the loaves up), [and countered:] but gentiles are suspicious of witchcraft (and would not trample a loaf that might be bewitched). [Challenge:] There are cattle (that might trample them) and dogs (that might bite into them and destroy the mark). [Reply:] (We are speaking of loves found) in a place where there are neither cattle nor dogs.)
[Although Rabba has not been refuted, his case has been weakened considerably. It is clear by now which way the debate is going.]
[We are now just about half way down p. 23a.]
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