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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Gezelah va'Avedah - Chapter Twelve

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Gezelah va'Avedah - Chapter Twelve

1

The following rules apply when a person loses an article and then discovers his own lost article and that belonging to a colleague. If it is possible for him to return both, he should return both. If it is possible for him to return only one, his lost object takes priority, even over a lost object belonging to his father or his teacher. His own lost object takes priority over that of any other person.

א

מִי שֶׁאָבְדָה לוֹ אֲבֵדָה וּפָגַע בַּאֲבֵדָתוֹ וַאֲבֵדַת חֲבֵרוֹ אִם יָכוֹל לְהַחְזִיר שְׁתֵּיהֶן חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר שְׁתֵּיהֶן וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַחְזִיר אֶלָּא אַחַת מֵהֶן אֲבֵדָתוֹ קוֹדֶמֶת וַאֲפִלּוּ לַאֲבֵדַת אָבִיו אוֹ שֶׁל רַבּוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ קוֹדֵם לְכָל אָדָם:

2

The following rules apply when a person discovers both a lost article belonging to his teacher and one belonging to his father and is capable of returning only one of them. If his father is equal in wisdom to his teacher, his father's lost object takes precedence. If not, his teacher's takes precedence. This applies provided we are speaking about his primary teacher, the one from whom he gained the majority of his Torah wisdom.

ב

פָּגַע בַּאֲבֵדַת רַבּוֹ עִם אֲבֵדַת אָבִיו אִם הָיָה אָבִיו שָׁקוּל כְּנֶגֶד רַבּוֹ שֶׁל אָבִיו קוֹדֶמֶת וְאִם לָאו שֶׁל רַבּוֹ קוֹדֶמֶת. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רַבּוֹ מֻבְהָק שֶׁרֹב חָכְמָתוֹ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה מִמֶּנּוּ לָמַד:

3

If a person ignores his own lost article and instead returns the article belonging to his colleague, he is entitled only to the wage due him for his efforts.

What is implied? A river washed away his donkey and a donkey belonging to a colleague. His donkey was worth 100 zuz, while his colleague's was worth 200. If, instead of saving his own, he saved his colleague's, he should be reimbursed only for the wages due him for his efforts.

If he told his colleague - or made this condition in the presence of a court - "I will save your donkey, but you must reimburse me for my own," the colleague is obligated to reimburse him for his donkey. This applies even if the other donkey ascends from the river afterwards on its own. Since its owner did nothing to help it, the other person should be awarded the sum that he stipulated.

ג

הֵנִיחַ אֲבֵדָתוֹ וְהֶחְזִיר אֲבֵדַת חֲבֵרוֹ אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא שָׂכָר הָרָאוּי לוֹ. כֵּיצַד. שָׁטַף נָהָר חֲמוֹרוֹ וַחֲמוֹר חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ יָפֶה מָנֶה וְשֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ מָאתַיִם. הִנִּיחַ אֶת שֶׁלּוֹ וְהִצִּיל אֶת שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא שְׂכָרוֹ הָרָאוּי לוֹ. וְאִם אָמַר לוֹ אַצִּיל אֶת שֶׁלְּךָ וְאַתָּה נוֹתֵן לִי דְּמֵי שֶׁלִּי אוֹ שֶׁהִתְנָה בִּפְנֵי בֵּית דִּין חַיָּב לִתֵּן לוֹ דְּמֵי שֶׁלּוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחֲמוֹרוֹ עָלָה מֵאֵלָיו. הוֹאִיל וְלֹא נִתְעַסֵּק בּוֹ זָכָה בְּמַה שֶּׁהִתְנָה עִמּוֹ:

4

If the owner of the other donkey attempted to save the more valuable donkey, but was not successful, he should be given only the wage fit to be paid him.

Similarly, if a person was occupied with his work, and he negated work that was worth a dinar to return a lost article worth 100 dinarim, he may not tell the owner: "Give me the dinar that I lost," but rather the owner should pay him as an unemployed worker of the trade in which he is employed. If he stipulated to the owner or in the presence of a court that he should receive the amount that he lost, and they agreed, he may collect it. If the owner or a court is not present, his own concerns take precedence.

ד

יָרַד לְהַצִּיל וְלֹא הִצִּיל אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא שְׂכָרוֹ הָרָאוּי לוֹ. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה עוֹסֵק בִּמְלָאכָה וּבִטֵּל מִמְּלַאכְתּוֹ שֶׁשָּׁוָה דִּינָר וְהֶחְזִיר אֲבֵדָה שֶׁשָּׁוָה מֵאָה דִּינָר לֹא יֹאמַר לוֹ תֵּן לִי דִּינָר שֶׁהִפְסַדְתִּי אֶלָּא נוֹתֵן לוֹ שְׂכָרוֹ כְּפוֹעֵל בָּטֵל שֶׁיִּבָּטֵל מֵאוֹתָהּ מְלָאכָה שֶׁהָיָה עוֹסֵק בָּהּ. וְאִם הִתְנָה עִם הַבְּעָלִים אוֹ בִּפְנֵי בֵּית דִּין שֶׁיִּטּל מַה שֶּׁיַּפְסִיד וְהִרְשׁוּהוּ הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹטֵל. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם בְּעָלִים וְלֹא בֵּית דִּין שֶׁלּוֹ קוֹדֵם:

5

Similar laws apply when two people are progressing on a road, and one was carrying a jug of wine, and the other a jug of honey. If the jug of honey cracks and before the honey spills to the ground, the other person pours out his wine and collects the honey in his jug, he should be given only the wage he is fit to be paid.

If he tells the owner of the honey: "I will save your honey, if you pay me for my wine," or he makes such a stipulation in the presence of a court, the owner of the honey is obligated to pay him.

If the honey spills to the ground, it is considered ownerless, and whoever takes it, takes it as his own.

ה

וְכֵן שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהָיוּ בָּאִים בְּדֶרֶךְ זֶה בְּחָבִית שֶׁל יַיִן וְזֶה בְּכַד שֶׁל דְּבַשׁ וְנִסְדַּק הַכַּד שֶׁל דְּבַשׁ וְקֹדֶם שֶׁיִּשָּׁפֵךְ הַדְּבַשׁ לָאָרֶץ שָׁפַךְ זֶה אֶת יֵינוֹ וְהִצִּיל אֶת הַדְּבַשׁ לְתוֹךְ הֶחָבִית אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא שְׂכָרוֹ הָרָאוּי לוֹ. וְאִם אָמַר אַצִּיל אֶת שֶׁלְּךָ וְאַתָּה נוֹתֵן לִי דָּמִי שֶׁלִּי אוֹ שֶׁהִתְנָה בִּפְנֵי בֵּית דִּין הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב לִתֵּן לוֹ. וְאִם נִשְׁפַּךְ הַדְּבַשׁ לָאָרֶץ הֲרֵי זֶה הֶפְקֵר וְכָל הַמַּצִּיל לְעַצְמוֹ מַצִּיל:

6

Different rules apply if one person is carrying a jug of honey and his jug cracks, while another person was carrying empty jars. If the owner of the empty jars tells the owner of the honey: "I will not save this honey with my jars unless you give me half," "... a third," or "... so and so many dinarim," the owner of the honey is not obligated to keep this agreement. Even if he agrees, he is considered to have spoken facetiously and is not obligated to pay him more than the wage he is fit to be paid. The rationale is that he did not cause him any loss.

ו

הָיָה זֶה בָּא בְּכַד שֶׁל דְּבַשׁ וְזֶה בָּא בְּקַנְקַנִּים רֵיקָנִים וְנִסְדְּקָה כַּד הַדְּבַשׁ וְאָמַר לוֹ בַּעַל הַקַּנְקַנִּים אֵינִי מַצִּיל לְךָ דְּבַשׁ זֶה בְּקַנְקַנַּי עַד שֶׁתִּתֵּן לִי חֶצְיוֹ אוֹ שְׁלִישׁוֹ אוֹ כָּךְ וְכָךְ דִּינָרִין וְקִבֵּל עָלָיו בַּעַל הַדְּבַשׁ וְאָמַר לוֹ הֵן הֲרֵי זֶה שָׂחַק בּוֹ וְאֵינוֹ נוֹתֵן לוֹ אֶלָּא שְׂכָרוֹ הָרָאוּי לוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא הִפְסִידוֹ כְּלוּם:

7

Similar rules apply if a person was fleeing from prison and there was a raft near him. If he told the owner of the raft: "Take me across the river and I will pay you a dinar," and the raft owner takes him across the river, the fugitive is required to pay the raft owner only the wage he is fit to be paid.

If the raft owner was a fisherman, and the fugitive told him, "Stop fishing and take me across the river," the fugitive must pay him whatever he stipulates. The same principles apply in all analogous situations.

ז

וְכֵן מִי שֶׁבָּרַח מִבֵּית הָאֲסוּרִים וְהָיְתָה מַעְבֹּרֶת לְפָנָיו וְאָמַר לוֹ הַעֲבִירֵנִי וַאֲנִי נוֹתֵן לְךָ דִּינָר וְהֶעֱבִירוֹ אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא שְׂכָרוֹ הָרָאוּי לוֹ. וְאִם הָיָה צַיָּד וְאָמַר לוֹ בַּטֵּל מְצוּדָתְךָ וְהַעֲבִירֵנִי נוֹתֵן לוֹ כָּל מַה שֶּׁהִתְנָה עִמּוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

8

The following rules apply when a caravan was traveling in a desert and they were confronted and attacked by an armed force. If the travelers cannot rescue their property from that force and one of them exerts himself and rescues everyone's property, he has rescued it for himself.

If the other members of the caravan can rescue their property, and one of them exerted himself and rescued all the property first, it should be divided among its rightful owners. This applies even if the one who rescued the property stated: "I am rescuing it for myself."

ח

שַׁיָּרָא שֶׁהָיְתָה הוֹלֶכֶת בַּמִּדְבָּר וְעָמַד עָלֶיהָ גַּיִס וּטְרָפָהּ אִם אֵינָן יְכוֹלִין לְהַצִּיל מִיָּדָם וְעָמַד אֶחָד מֵהֶן וְהִצִּיל הִצִּיל לְעַצְמוֹ. וְאִם יְכוֹלִין הֵן לְהַצִּיל מִיָּדָם וְקָדַם אֶחָד מֵהֶן וְהִצִּיל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמַר לְעַצְמִי אֲנִי מַצִּיל הִצִּיל לָאֶמְצַע:

9

Different rules apply if it was possible for the owners to rescue their property with difficulty. If one person rescues all the property, it should be divided among its rightful owners. But if the one who rescues the property states: "I am rescuing it for myself," he is allowed to keep it as his own.

The rationale is that the other owners heard him say: "I am rescuing it for myself." Accordingly, they should have exerted themselves to rescue their property. Since they chose to sit still and not attempt to rescue it, we may conclude that they had despaired of its recovery.

ט

הָיוּ יְכוֹלִין לְהַצִּיל עַל יְדֵי הַדְּחָק כָּל הַמַּצִּיל מַצִּיל לָאֶמְצַע אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן אָמַר לְעַצְמִי אֲנִי מַצִּיל הֲרֵי זֶה מַצִּיל לְעַצְמוֹ. שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁשְּׁמָעוּהוּ אוֹמֵר לְעַצְמִי אֲנִי מַצִּיל הָיָה לָהֶן לִדְחֹק עַצְמָן וּלְהַצִּיל וְכֵיוָן שֶׁיָּשְׁבוּ וְלֹא הִצִּילוּ הֲרֵי נִתְיָאֲשׁוּ מִן הַכּל:

10

Similarly, if two partners were traveling with goods and were attacked, and one of them rescues the goods, the property still belongs to the partnership. If he states: "I am rescuing it for myself," he has dissolved the partnership and is allowed to keep the goods as his own.

By the same logic, if a person hires a worker to rescue goods from a situation of certain loss, whatever he rescues belongs to the employer. If the worker says: "I am rescuing it for myself," he is terminating his employment. Whatever he rescues after making this statement belongs to him.

י

הָיוּ שְׁנֵי שֻׁתָּפִין וְהִצִּיל אֶחָד מֵהֶן הִצִּיל לָאֶמְצַע. וְאִם אָמַר לְעַצְמִי אֲנִי מַצִּיל הֲרֵי זֶה חָלַק מֵחֲבֵרוֹ וְהִצִּיל לְעַצְמוֹ. וְכֵן הַשּׂוֹכֵר אֶת הַפּוֹעֵל לְהַצִּיל כָּל שֶׁיַּצִּיל הֲרֵי הוּא לַמַּשְׂכִּיר וְאִם אָמַר לְעַצְמִי אֲנִי מַצִּיל הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹזֵר בּוֹ מִן הַשְּׂכִירוּת וְכָל שֶׁיַּצִּיל אַחַר שֶׁאָמַר כֵּן הֲרֵי הוּא שֶׁלּוֹ:

11

The following rule applies when a caravan was camped in the desert and an armed force was poised to attack them. If they agreed to pay a ransom to the armed force, the ratio of each person's payment should be determined according to the value of the person's goods and not levied equally by head.

If they hired a guide to lead them on the journey, both the value of the persons' goods and the number of people should be considered when determining everyone's share of his wage. One should not, however, deviate from the standard practice followed by donkey-drivers.

יא

שַׁיָּרָא שֶׁחָנְתָה בַּמִּדְבָּר וְעָמַד עָלֶיהָ גַּיִס לְטָרְפָהּ וּפָסְקוּ עִם הַגַּיִס מָמוֹן וְנָתְנוּ לוֹ. מְחַשְּׁבִין לְפִי מָמוֹנָם וְאֵין מְחַשְּׁבִין לְפִי נְפָשׁוֹת. וְאִם שָׂכְרוּ תַּיָּר לִפְנֵיהֶם לְהוֹדִיעָם הַדֶּרֶךְ מְחַשְּׁבִין שְׂכָרוֹ לְפִי מָמוֹן וּלְפִי נְפָשׁוֹת. וְאַל יְשַׁנּוּ מִמִּנְהַג הַחַמָּרִים:

12

Donkey-drivers may make an agreement among themselves saying that if one of the members of a caravan loses his donkey, the entire caravan must combine to provide another donkey for him. If he was negligent, and therefore it was lost, they are not obligated to provide a donkey for him.

יב

רַשָּׁאִין הַחַמָּרִים לְהַתְנוֹת בֵּינֵיהֶן כָּל מִי שֶׁתֹּאבַד מִמֶּנּוּ חֲמוֹר מִבְּנֵי הַשַּׁיָּרָא מַעֲמִידִין לוֹ חֲמוֹר אַחֶרֶת. וְאִם פָּשַׁע בָּהּ הוּא וְאָבְדָה אֵין חַיָּבִין לְהַעֲמִיד לוֹ:

13

If a person's donkey was lost and he said: "Pay me its value. I do not want another donkey. I will, however, guard together with you as if I had one," his request is not heeded. Instead, another donkey is purchased for him so that he will be diligent and guard his donkey.

Even if he already owns another donkey in the caravan his request is not heeded. The rationale is that the diligence shown by a person watching one donkey cannot be compared to that of a person watching two.

יג

אָבְדָה חֲמוֹרוֹ וְאָמַר תְּנוּ לִי דָּמֶיהָ וְאֵינִי רוֹצֶה לִקַּח חֲמוֹר וַהֲרֵינִי שׁוֹמֵר עִמָּכֶם אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ אֶלָּא מַעֲמִידִין לוֹ חֲמוֹר אַחֶרֶת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּזְדָּרֵז עַצְמוֹ וְיִשְׁמֹר בְּהֶמְתּוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיְתָה לוֹ בְּהֵמָה אַחֶרֶת בַּשַּׁיָּרָא אֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה שׁוֹמֵר אַחַת לְשׁוֹמֵר שְׁתַּיִם:

14

When a ship was traveling in the sea and a decision was made to reduce its cargo because waves threatened to sink it, the calculation is made according to the weight of each person's goods and not their value. One should not, however, deviate from the standard practice followed by seamen.

יד

סְפִינָה שֶׁהָיְתָה מְהַלֶּכֶת בַּיָּם וְעָמַד עָלֶיהָ נַחְשׁוֹל לְטַבְּעָהּ וְהֵקֵלּוּ מִמַּשָּׂאָהּ. מְחַשְּׁבִין לְפִי מַשּׂאוֹי וְאֵין מְחַשְּׁבִין לְפִי מָמוֹן. וְאַל יְשַׁנּוּ מִמִּנְהַג הַסַּפָּנִים:

15

Boatmen may make an agreement among themselves saying that if one of them loses his boat, they will combine to provide another boat for him. If he was negligent and therefore it was lost, or he sailed his boat in a region where boats do not travel at that time of year, they are not obligated to provide a boat for him.

טו

רַשָּׁאִין הַסַּפָּנִים לְהַתְנוֹת בֵּינֵיהֶן כָּל מִי שֶׁתֹּאבַד לוֹ סְפִינָה מַעֲמִידִים לוֹ סְפִינָה אַחֶרֶת. פָּשַׁע בָּהּ וְאָבְדָה אוֹ שֶׁפֵּרַשׁ לְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין הַסְּפִינוֹת הוֹלְכוֹת בּוֹ בְּאוֹתוֹ הַזְּמַן אֵין חַיָּבִין לְהַעֲמִיד לוֹ:

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah