Hi, I have some practical questions on Hashavat Aveida
1. My 3 year old son found a very small, cheap plastic toy car on the front lawn of our house and he brought it in the house. It’s like the kind of thing that you might get for free in a box of cereal. It was probably lost by another neighbourhood kid. I want to teach him chinuch for hashavat aveida. What should we do with it?
2. The same son also found a very cheap ball in the park and brought it home. It’s covered in velcro and it looks like it’s part of a set. It looks almost worthless. Should I tell my sone to return it to the park and leave it there in case the owner looks for it?
3. My wife misplaced her book of Tehillim about 2 years ago. After looking for it for ages we gave up hope of finding it and I bought her another one. Last week we were walking in our neighbourhood and we found it sitting on a bimah in an outdoor shule (that is still being used since Corona). It didn’t have her name but it was definitely hers because it had some clear simanim. She picked it up and took it home. Was that the right thing to do? Should we have been concerned that someone else took it and since we gave up hope maybe they acquired it? Or perhaps the fact that is was left out in the open means that it was not acquired by anyone?
The things that were found in the park, technically don’t have to be returned, as they were given to the child by the parent, who knows that it is very possible that it will get lost, and is considered aveida midaas. Therefore, essentially there is no need to return them. Additionally, your 3-year-old son, might not understand the idea that the car that he now thinks is his was really lost by someone else. Nevertheless, you can make a hasovas aveida sign, and put it up.
Regarding the siddur, your wife can keep it, and we can assume that no one picked it up on order to keep it. Had they done that, they would have taken it home, and not leave it in n outdoor shul.