I’m learning Eilu Metzios and I’m very troubled by the Halachah that Aveidas Akum is muteres. I understand that we’re not mechuyav to trouble ourselves to return it but how can we keep something that we know for sure belonged to the Akum?
Also, why is hafkaas halvaoso mutar?
Thank you very much!
The reason that hafkaas halvaoso is mutar is because it is compared to hashhovas aveida. Regarding the reason why we are not obligated to return the aveida of a gentile, we have to realize that when a person loses something and subsequently is miyayish on getting it back, halachically he relinquished ownership over the item. Jews are non miyayish because we know that we have a mitzva of hashovas aveida. Therefore we don’t have to feel bad that it is not being returned.
As a side point I once heard a very nice idea from R’ Zev Leff shlit”a regarding why it is that certain mitzvos bein adom l’chaveiro do apply to gentiles and why some of them don’t. He said, that in general the gentiles set up their society to run on their standard. They (usually) don’t have laws that if someone finds something that it must be returned to it’s owner, they don’t have laws that one must pay a worker before the sun sets. They have no laws against bearing a grudge, not taking interest, to love their neighbor or not against taking revenge etc. The Torah does not obligate us to treat the gentiles better then the way they treat themselves. Regarding the way we Jews are to treat each other, that is based on the high level of society that H-shem have chosen for us to live by, in part because we are all one neshoma, because we share a common goal, and because H-shem wants our society to exist on this high standard. This does not mean in any way that we are looking down at the gentiles. We are to treat them honorably, fairly, and respectfully. However, “in the family” we are obligated to go “the extra mile”. BTW any gentile that wants to join the family may do so, if they will indeed live up to the Torah’s standard and requirements.