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    Mishnah Bava Kama 10:8


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    Join date : 2009-08-07
    Location : Pa

    Mishnah Bava Kama 10:8

    Post  Arik on Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:26 pm

    One steals a sheep or goat from the flock and then returns it. Should that sheep or goat subsequently die or be stolen (by another thief), the original thief is obligated to compensate its owner.

    If the owner was not aware that the animal had been stolen or that it had been returned, and he then counted the flock and found that it was complete, the thief is exempt from paying compensation.


    Question: if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

    I never could figure that one out. Our mishnah, however, deals with a similar conundrum. According to the Torah, one who steals an object must return it to its owner (Leviticus 5:23). “Return,” however, implies that the object is returned with the knowledge of the owner. Otherwise, says the halachah, the act of restoration is incomplete. Until the owner is notified, the object awaits its return; in the meantime, it remains in the thief’s virtual possession. The result is that the thief remains responsible for damages that the object sustains, in the same way that he is responsible for those damages so long as the object is in his physical possession.

    In the first clause of our mishnah, the owner knows that the sheep or goat was stolen. The thief returns the animal, but - and here’s the critical point - the owner does not know that it has been returned. The “return,” therefore, has not yet happened, and the thief remains liable for damages that occur to the animal until such time as he informs the owner that the animal is back with the flock.

    In the second clause, the owner is unaware that the animal was stolen in the first place, and he is unaware that the thief has since returned it. In fact, the owner has even counted the flock and found it to be complete. The thief is not responsible for damages that occur from now on to the animal.

    The question, for you philosophical types, is this: given that the owner has no knowledge of either of the two elements of which the Leviticus verse speaks (the act of theft and the return of the stolen object), did the theft ever take place? Or do we say that the theft did take place, but because the owner didn’t know about it, then the thief’s return of the animal counts as a “return” under the terms of Leviticus 5:23? Did the tree make a sound?

      Current date/time is Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:48 am