(j) Bava Kama 30b discusses instances where someone causes damage with belongings left in a public thoroughfare. According to one view, these effects are legally forfeit, and whoever takes physical possession of them first can take legal ownership. Nevertheless, the Jewish court, if asked, will counsel against such action, “because of theft” (halakha ve-ein morin kein mi-shum gezel). Meiri understands the latter to mean that the court forbids such seizures—though actually permitted in the present case—because they might be viewed as giving license to theft (mi-shum tikun olam). Rashi (s.v. “be-halakha”), however, indicates that the court counsels against such action “by stating that it is forbidden because it constitutes theft.” Prima facie, this seems to be a clear violation of ziyyuf haTorah.
(k) According to Rivan, cited by Tosafot, Bava Metsia 109b, s.v. “Me-salkinan” (the relevant talmudic discussion is actually found on 109a) and Tosafot haRosh, Bava Metsia 109a, s.v. “Me-salki le-hu,” R. Yosef lied regarding the rights of a gardener’s heirs to a share in capital gains in order to force them to accept his “generous” settlement offer without objection. See also R. Samuel Shtarshon, ad loc.; Be’ur haGra to H.M. sec. 329, no. 1.
(l) The Mishna in Keritut (1:7; 8a) records that R. Simeon ben Gamliel knowingly misrepresented the law by ruling incorrectly and leniently in order to lower the market price of sacrificial turtledoves. R. Israel Yacov Fisher, comment 10 of his approbation to R. Jacob Yehizkiyah Fisch, Titen Emet leYa’akov (Jerusalem, 1982), indicates that such misrepresentation was permitted since its purpose was to prevent future violations. It should be noted, however, that the classic commentaries ad loc., Rashi and Rabbis Ovadiah Bartenura, Yisrael Lipschitz (Tiferet Yisrael) and Pinhas Kehati, all suggest that this was a hora’at sha’a (a temporary abrogation or change of the law), effected by the authority of the leading scholar of the generation, and, hence was not misrepresentation. Vide infra, Addendum, Part 4i.
(m) Nahmanides records his stating during the disputation at Barcelona that one is not bound by comments and interpretations found in Aggada and Midrash; see Moses ben Nahman, Viku’ah haRamban, in Kol Kitvei haRamban, R. Chaim D. Chavel, ed. (Jerusalem: Mossad haRav Kook, 1963), I, pp. 302-320). The late nineteenth century Russian Rabbi, Moses Eliasberg, Shevil haZahav, p. 27 (cited in R. Chavel’s notes to Kol Kitvei haRamban, ibid., p. 308, s.v. “sheAdam magid le-haveiro”) suggests that Ramban consciously lied under pressure. Whether he did or not is a topic of much heated discussion (see Marvin Fox, “Nahmanides on the Status of Aggadot,” J. of Jewish Studies 40:1, Spring 1989, pp. 95-109, and sources cited therein). In any case, according to R. Eliasberg’s view, Ramban clearly