Jun 24, 2009

Dikduk B'Mitzvos

And while we are on the topic of dikduk b'mitzvos, here is another nice hashavas aveida story I was just told firsthand that happened a couple of weeks ago:

"Ploni" was outside a building in Jerusalem and saw 2 young girls looking around the area, concerned, as if they had lost something.

Ploni asked them what is the matter.

They answered that they had found a screwdriver a few days ago. They put up a sign in the building and attached the screwdriver to it, so the owner would see it and take it. Every day they were removing the sign from the building lobby and moving it to the lobby of the next building. That way eventually the owner would likely see it (assuming he lived or frequented one of the buildings in the vicinity) and be re-united with his screwdriver.

Today they had gone to move the sign and screwdriver to the next building and it was no longer there. They were concerned it had maybe fallen down and were looking for it. After a bit they decided that they must have fulfilled the mitzva of hashavas aveida as the owner had probably taken it.

{both stories, this and the story in the previous post happened with haredi children - not to say this would not happen with other communities, but the haredi community gets knocked often enough that they deserve credit also, so I felt it important to mention. The education towards dikduk b'mitzvos in the haredi community is something special}


  1. I have had several cases here in Israel where non-religious supermarket clerks had inadvertantly NOT rung up on the register an item of low value.

    When I would point this out to them after paying and reviewing my receipt, some of them thought I came from another planet.

  2. I hate to be a party pooper, but what those girls did was not a correct fulfillment of hashovas aveida.

    When you pick up an aveida, you become a shomer aveida, i.e. you have responsibility for looking after the item until the owner claims it. Leaving the item taped to a door and moving it to the next door every day is not a kiyum of sh'mira - I would say it's a p'shia! They should rather have printed posters and put one on every door with their phone number, so the reightful owner could claim it al pi simanim. Who's to say that the rightful owner claimed that item, and not stam a ganav?

  3. of course, but you are being a party pooper

  4. And loving it!

  5. Rather be a party pooper than a poopy parter, that's what I say. :D

  6. mordechai cohenJune 24, 2009 8:55 PM

    note to party pooper...

    I think you are wrong, and that the girls were halachically correct.

    Since a typical screwdriver has no siman, they technically would have been able to keep it for themselves (assuming that the screwdriver was found after ye'ush).

    Thus they would be allowed to hang up (their own item) as they did.

    mordechai cohen

  7. Mordechai,
    You are absolutely correct.
    I was working with the assumption that the screwdriver had simanim, because without simanim they had no mitzva of hashovas aveida in the first place.
    Once they picked it up, though, it's quite possible that they now have a problem: they are a shomer aveida for an object that has no simanim, and nobody is believed for t'fisas ayin nowadays, so maybe it's a case of "y'hey munach" for them! At least the S"A HaRav says so.
    Sure, there are hetterim, and perhaps I should be more dan l'kaf z'chus... :)


  8. party pooper - mordechai already wrote in, btu I was thinking about this tonight a bit and decided you were wrong. mordechai might be right, but let's say the screwdriver did have a siman and they were obligated to do hashavas aveida.
    The mitzva is for them to take it and announce it and hold it until it is claimed. They do not have to go to every building looking for the owner. they had to put up a sign, or some other form of announcing, and wait until the owner came to them. They went beyond that by putting up a sign and then moving it regularly so as to give it more exposure.

    the only thing possibly wrong was putting the screwdriver with the sign where anybody could have taken it. Seemingly they should have kept it at home and left their phone number.

  9. Party Pooper, even if it had simanim, there is still almost definitely ye'ush because it's such a public place, assuming enough time has passed. He would not expect to get it back. therefore, they went lifnim meshuras hadin here


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