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Tishrei 9, 5770

Returning lost property


Rabbi Moshe Leib Halberstadt

Question:
Someone left a jacket in our car (trampist). We advertised in the weekly newsletter of Beit El two weeks after it happened. No-one replied. What should I do now?
I took out our winter jackets and found a jacket that is not ours with no name. Many months have passed. What do I do now?

Answer:
Me’ikar Hadin one is supposed to keep things he finds until the arrival of Eliyahu Hanavie who will tell us who it belongs to. In our days that people don’t search for their lost objects for a long time, but buy new ones, the Poskim say that after advertising and waiting a reasonable amount of time [a few weeks], one should write down in a notebook the details of the objects he found in case the person who lost it ever comes asking for it, and he can use the found object or do with it what ever he wishes.
I a case of a sentimental object that is not repairable, it should be kept until the arrival of Eliyahu.
I your case, the jacket that was left in your car you advertised for a reasonable amount of time, so you may write the details down in a notebook and do with the jacket whatever you wish. The jacket you found with your winter coats should be advertised locally for a reasonable amount of time before you do like the above.
[אגרות משה חו"מ ח"ב סימן מה, משפטי התורה קיצור הלכות השבת אבידה פרק ג סעיפים ו –ז, פתחי חושן דיני אבידה פרק ז סעיף ה ובס"ק י].


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