by Rabbi Yehonoson Dovid Hool
A relative of mine found 60 dollars cash (3 twenty dollar bills folded together) on Main street ( a very Jewish area in Queens), on a Friday afternoon. Must she post a sign and if so what exactly should it say?
Firstly, Odom memashmesh bekiso kol sha’ah – aperson notices immediately if he loses money, and so by the time the finder found it we can assume that the loser will have noticed it missing and will be meya’esh – will give up hope of getting it back.
Further, there’s only a mitzvah of hashovas aveidoh if the majority of passers-by are Jewish, otherwise the loser will assume that anyone who picks it up will not return it, and will be meya’esh.
Moreover, there is no siman (identifying sign) here – although the notes are folded, if they are merely folded in half as I understand, there is no siman – see Nimukei Yosef Bava Metzia end of daf 11b (dafei haRif) that any tie that can easily become undone is not a siman since the owner will assume it could have become undone by itself and so will not be seen by the finder as a siman. And especially in this case, where the owner knows that they might not even have fallen down together.
So she may keep the money!