Dear Rabbi Kornfeld, I was learning Sanhendrin 25a this evening, and here is something which I do not understand. Regarding the case of the butcher who sells treifah meat, and as Rav Idi bar Avin taught that he must move to a place where no one recognizes him and do a form of repentance in that place. So after he has done this repentance (i.e. returning a lost object of considerable value), then is his 'takanah' only between him and G-d, or is it also that he now can serve as an eid and/or regain his hashgacha. And if he can regain his hasgacha, then we would think that he is deceiving us, even though it is in another city, because he would have to do it in such a way that word reached his hometown as to what he had done, unless it just happens that the person whose wallet he returns has a cousin in his hometown and tells this person, and he did not know this when he returned the lost object. Do you have any thoughts that help clarify this gemara?
P.S. Yasher Koach on your sefer.
The Gemara explains that his repentance helps even to permit him to be a witness.
Regarding the fear that he is deceiving us, it appears that since he returned an object of considerable value in a place where "no one recognizes him," we do not need to suspect him of deceiving us. If he is a sinner, he will reason to himself that the possible gain of returning the object (the gain being that people in his old city will realize that he returned the object, *and* they will decide to reinstate him in his former position, *and* he will be able to make more money that way than by keeping the lost object that he happened to chance upon) is too unlikely to occur and does not outweigh the loss (of giving back the object of large value), and he will keep the object.
The very fact that he returns the object, knowing that it is unlikely that anyone will find out about his deed, and even if they do it is unlikely that they will reinstate him, is a sure sign of his complete repentance.