We left off earlier this week with the question of why the shiur for bal yera’eh is a k’zayis. Rashi (Sukkah 27b) writes that there cannot be a partnership created with shares worth less than a perutah in value, implying that there is no concept of ownership on such a small stake. If so, even if a piece of chameitz is larger than a k’zayis, so long as its value is less than a perutah, one is not considered its owner and should not be in violation of bal yera’eh.
Anonymous was mechavein to R’ Scheinberg’s first answer, namely that at least some Rishonim see bal yera’eh as a safeguard against eating chameitz. Therefore, the shiur for bal yera’eh is k’zayis, the same as the shiur of the issur of achilas chameitz, not the shiur of perutah used to define ownership.
A second answer given by Rav Scheinberg makes use of a chiddush the gemara says with regard to chameitz and bor b’reshus harabim. The gemara writes that in reality one does not own a bor b’reshus harabim or chameitz on Pesach (what can you do with issurei hana’ah?); nonetheless, the Torah makes one liable for digging the bor in the public domain and for chameitz in one’s home. The fact that chameitz has no value because it is worth less than a pertuah has no more effect than the more general statement that chameitz lacks value on Pesach because one cannot eat it or possess it – nonetheless, one violates bal yera’eh for having it around.
I am not sure I fully grasp this answer. Even granted that chameitz potentially worth $100 and chameitz worth less than a penny is all the same once Pesach arrives, why does that mean we should evaluate bal yera’eh using a shiur of k’zayis? Why not just treat the chameitz as if ownership did theoretically exist and use the standard of perutah?
My son and I both thought that there is another way to resolve this question. Who says bal yera’eh has anything to do with ownership? I can violate bal yera’eh even for keeping the chameitz of a non-Jew in my home, so long as I am responsible if it is lost or stolen (there are technical details here that I am not getting involved in now.) Once we are dealing with an issue that does not depend directly on ownership, but on responsibility, the chiddush of Rashi in Sukkah does not apply.
Further thoughts on this question to come bl"n… stay tuned.