Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cloak or Talis?

When the Belzer Rebbe was but a child, they asked him, “What is the meaning of the Mishna when it stated that two people are holding onto a talis?”

He replied, “It means that two people were holding onto a cloak.”

They persisted, “Perhaps the Mishna means a talis literally?”

He replied, “I can prove that it is referring to a cloak from the explanation of the Rosh. The Rosh explains the Mishna to be referring to a case where the object will belong to the finder, for example – if it was found in a city where a majority of the residents are idolaters. If the Mishna would be referring to a talis which has tzitzis on four corners, one would be obligated to announce that he found such an item even in a city of idolaters, for a talis obviously would not belong to them!”