Being Careful With Other People's Money
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
- גניבה - geneva is to take something from someone else's possession without their knowledge.
- גזילה - gezela is grabbing something from someone else's possession by force, in plain sight 
- עושק - oshek is to withhold somebody else's item from them with force, such as they gave you money and now are asking for it back and you refuse to give it.
- Additionally, Ribbit (lending with interest), Onaat Mamon (overcharging or cheating), and imbalanced weights are also forms of stealing as these are all forms of causing financial loss to another person.
Statements of Chazal Regarding the Severity
- Rav Yehudah in Bava Basra (165a) informs us that most people steal, a minority engage in illicit sexual activity, and everyone says Avak Loshon Hara. The Rishonim explain that the Gemara is not referring to outright stealing such as shoplifting but more subtle forms of stealing that afflict our interactions as buyers, employers, landlords, etc. A person who keeps stolen money is both subject to severe punishments for stealing and also sets himself up to one day become a victim. Thus, it is incumbent upon everyone to be aware of the Halachos of other people's money.
Things Chazal refer to as Stealing
- If a person is greeted with shalom and does not return the greeting, it is as if he stole the shalom that he owes to the person who greeted him.
- Anyone who derives pleasure from this world without making a beracha, is guilty of stealing from Hashem.
- One who imparts a word of Torah that he heard from another without citing the source, is guilty of stealing.
Stealing Less than a Prutah
- Stealing is prohibited even if it is a minimal amount, less than a Prutah, which is a few cents. However, if nobody would object to taking such an item it is not considering stealing. Nonetheless, it is preferable not to take such an item without permission.
Stealing as a Joke
- Stealing is prohibited even if one is taking a friend's possession as a practical joke or to annoy him, and even if he has every intention of returning the item after the joke has run its course. For example, a bully grabs a can of soda from another child and when the child starts screaming, the bully says, "stop being a baby, I'm just joking." 
Stealing for the Victim's Own Benefit
- Even if one takes something from another for the purpose of benefiting his friend, it is prohibited. However, it would be permissible to take money from someone who is sick and has lost his mind, so that you can manage it appropriately on their behalf and provide for their needs.
- One may not take something from another person in order to do them a favor and replace it with a better one.For example, if a kollel student has a beat-up hat and limited finances to replace it, one may not steal his hot to replace it with an expensive new one. Even though the intentions are noble, it is still considered stealing.
- If one takes from his friend to teach him a lesson or help him correct a bad trait, that is considered stealing. For example, if you were trying to teach someone to keep their bike locked up because it could get stolen, and you would steal it for a day to emphasize your point, that is considered stealing even though your intention was for his own benefit. However, a rebbe or teacher is permitted to confiscate an item from a student to discipline the student or the class. Ideally the item should be returned at a later time, but if the teacher feels that the discipline will not be achieved without the item being destroyed, he may do so
Stealing for an Emergency
- One cannot take someone else's item to avoid a sickness or pain (not life threatening), even if he intends to repay in full. However, if the situation is life-threatening, one may steal but must pay back afterwards.
- Chazal also permit using someone else's item to prevent a sudden loss. For instance, if one's bottle of whiskey suddenly cracked one may one use someone else's utensil to catch the whiskey before it all leaks out. This is only on the condition that he will pay the owner afterward if the owner lost money such as if one poured out soda or milk from the other person’s vessel to save the whiskey.
Stealing from a Minor
- Stealing from a minor is considered stealing. For example, if a candyman was giving out lollipops to little children and one child aggressively took many lollipops at the expense of another child, the father cannot grab a lollipop from the aggressive kid and give it to his own son. However, this only applies if the person giving out lollipops did not care who gets and how many, and thus gave the lollipop for the aggressive child. However, if the candyman wanted everyone to get equally, then the child who took too many lollipops is a thief, and one can take a lollipop away from him.
Stealing from a Family Member or Close Friend
- Taking something from a family member or close friend without permission is considered stealing. However, if one regularly took this item with permission, it is not considered stealing to now take it without permission, because it is as if the owner has pre-consented to give it to him If he had no prior practice of taking such an item, it is considered stealing according to most poskim, even if he is sure that the relative or the friend will be happy to give it to him and in fact, the owner does consent.
- A husband may not take from his wife's personal property without her consent.
- Similarly, a wife may not take or give away her husband's assets without his consent. For example, she may not give an amount to charity that is more than her husband would approve A fund-raiser soliciting money from a married woman may not accept a larger than normal donation (more than people of that financial status would commonly allow their wives to donate). If the woman says that she is authorized by her husband to give the donation, the money can be accepted.
Parent Taking from a Child
- Since the possessions of a child who is supported by his parents are legally the property of his father, if a father or mother take their child's possession, it is not considered stealing.
- On the other hand, if the child receives an inheritance, or is given a gift by someone else on condition that the father has no ownership in it, then it becomes the property of the child exclusively. If a parent takes that, it would be considered stealing.
- If a boy is above the age of 13, or a girl is above the age of 12, and he/she is not supported by their parents, then a gift given to the child is his own. According to some poskim, the gift belong to him even if he is supported by his parents.
Stealing from an Institution
- The prohibition of stealing applies equally to property owned by an institution. For example. hungry students can not let themselves into the kitchen of the yeshiva to have a snack.
Stealing from a Partnership or Corporation
- Stealing an item that has many owners, is forbidden even if the loss to each owner is miniscule. Even though halachically a corporation is considered a distinct entity, it is halachically considered the property of the individuals who own it and therefore stealing from a corporation is considered stealing.
- Stealing from a publicly traded company is considered stealing. For example, one may not take a small wash towel from a hotel as a souvenir of his visit
Stealing from a Non-Jew
- It is absolutely forbidden to steal from a non-Jew. This is true whether it is an individual or a corporation.
- For example, one may not take supplies from work, even if his employer is a non-Jew.
- According to some, this is even worse than stealing from a Jew as it causes a great chilul Hashem.
- see The Real Truth about the Talmud by Rabbi Gil Student who discusses this issue at great length
Using Deception to Steal Something from a non-Jew
- Acquiring money or merchandise from a non-Jew by tricking him is strictly forbidden.
- One may not lie about a child's age to receive a discounted admission price to an amusement park or the like.
- An sales executive may not add fictitious expenses to his employer's bill, even if he reasons that since he has outperformed the other salesmen, the employer would be happy to provide this. One should certainly clarify this issue with his employer before doing so.
- If one purchases a phone which later becomes defective after the warranty expires. A friend who worked in an electronic store gives him a fake sales receipt, dated within the warranty. This is certainly prohibited. Similarly, if somebody borrows a friends AAA card for the free towing service although he himself is not a member, he is stealing the towing costs.
- An attorney tells a client that the work will take ten hours, so he will be for that long at a certain rate. The case was completed successfully in 2. The lawyer rationalizes that since the client had agreed to pay for ten, he may bill for ten. However, since he agreed to bill by the hour, he may only charge for the 2 hours.
- Insurance Companies
- Somebody purchasing car insurance, illegally states that his older brother is the primary driver, and then the younger brother submits a claim. He may not accept payment from the insurance company.
- Somebody buys life insurance and writes a lower weight than the true weight, or checks off non-smoker when he really does smoke. If he dies from something related to weight or smoking, he may certainly not accept payment. If he dies from something unrelated, one should seek a rabbinic authority.
- A physician may not bill a patient's insurance for procedures that were not performed.
- A patient may not have a doctor write a prescription in someone else's name so that their insurance will have cover.
Stealing from the Government
- It is equally forbidden to steal from the government, such as a federal or state government body.
- One who receives government funding to provide lunch to students, cannot fraudulently add the name of a non-existing student to collect extra funds.
Other Forms of Stealing
Stealing by Refusing to Pay
- Refusing to pay a debt of any form that is owed, is a Torah prohibition of לא תעשוק את רעך. For example, if you purchase something worth $76.25 and only pay $75 without the owner agreeing to this reduction, that is a violation of Oshek. This prohibition only applies if you have the means to pay it back; if you cannot pay back, this is not considered Oshek.
- It is prohibited to withhold even small amounts of money.
- It does not make a difference if one refuses to pay, or deceives the victim into believing that you don't owe him anything; in both cases you are in violation. Additionally, if one avoids paying until the victim becomes tired of chasing after the money, this is a violation of Oshek.
Refusing to Repay a Loan
- Denying money that you really do owe or justifying not repaying is a violation of Oshek.
- There is a positive Torah commandment to repay a loan. If somebody has the money to repay but refuses to, he forfeits this mitzva. Just as one wouldn't exempt himself from wearing tefillin, hearing shofar or sitting in a sukkah, he should not exempt himself from this important mitzva.
- If you don't have the money, you are not guilty.
Refusing to Pay for Merchandise
- One who refuses to pay for something that he bought or to return something he took on consignment is in violation of this prohibition. For example, if a broker takes diamonds on credit to sell, and he uses the cash to pay for his own living expenses, but when the time came to pay for the diamonds he closed. Going out of business does not absolve him from paying for what he took, or to keep the diamonds and money still in his possession. Regarding bankruptcy of a corporation, a competent halachic authority should be consulted.
Refusing to Pay Rent
- Refusing to pay rent, either for some form of real estate or equipment is a violation of Oshek. This could also be a violation of Bal Talin
Refusing to Return a Deposit
- If one refuses to return money that was deposited with him for safekeeping or to hold in escrow, he is in violation of Oshek. Similarly, if you receive a deposit with the understanding that it will be refunded if the buyer changes his mind, and then you refuse to return it, you are guilty of oshek.
Refusing to Pay Workers
Keeping Money or Merchandise Sent in Error
- If a merchant mistakenly gives you extra change you are obligated to give it back. By keeping it, one violates the mitzva of returning a lost item and stealing.
- Regarding money received in error from an akum, see Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 50 Even in cases where keeping the money or item would not be a technical violation of stealing, if there is a possibility of cuasing a Chilul Hashem, one may certainly not keep it. Even in a case where no chilul Hashem would result, if returning it would create a Kiddush Hashem, it would be a shame to pass up that opportunity.
- If an akum sends you a check that doesn't belong to you at all, it is certainly prohibited to deposit the check.
Chamas (Stealing but Paying for it)
- Taking an item against the owner's will, but paying for it, is another form of stealing, referred to by Chazal as Chamas.
Borrowing without Permission
Using Employer's Equipment for Personal Needs
- An employee is responsible to determine what would be acceptable to his particular employer, when it comes to using company equipment or the like.
- Using your employer's equipment or resources for personal needs is stealing, unless the owner does not object to such use. Generally, employer's do not mind if an employee uses the company fax or copy machine to make one or two copies. However, employers do mind if the employees do this too frequently.
- Employers generally do not object if an employee needs to take an occasional, brief, personal phone call during business hours. They do however generally object if it become frequent or too lengthy.
Purchasing Stolen Merchandise
- It is prohibited to buy merchandise that is or appears to be stolen.
- It is even prohibited to buy something that was stolen by a non-Jew from another non-Jew.
Returning Stolen Property
- There is a Torah commandment to return stolen property. This also applies to paying for goods that were wrongfully taken, even though you are not actually returning the item itself.
- One is obligated to return an item that was stolen from a non-Jew, and there is no difference in this regard between Jews and non-Jews.
- This includes returning good that were physically stolen, paying for something that was received and not paid for, repaying a defaulted loan, paying wages that were earned but not paid, returning something that is being held for others, and returning money or merchandise obtained through deception.
- One should not wait for Yom Kippur to do teshuva for stealing. Rather, one should return it as soon as possible, as the obligation to give it back applies every minute After giving it back, one complete his teshuva by acknowledging that he did the wrong thing and resolving not to do it again.
If the Victim is Unaware
- If the victim is unaware of the theft, one may return the money without telling the victim. For example, if he took supplies from work, he may anonymously restock the supply. Or if he cheated a customer by billing for items that were not shipped, he may add credits to the account without telling the customer. Since he didn't cause any anguish to the victim, because the victim didn't know about it, he does not need to ask for forgiveness.
- If the victim knows that the item was stolen, but does not know who did it, one may return it without telling. However, in this case one needs to be granted forgiveness for the theft. Therefore, one may ask for forgiveness anonymously. However, it is best if he confesses and apologizes for his wrongdoing rather than hiding his identity.
Victim is Aware
- If the victim knows about the theft and knows who took it, the thief must inform the victim that he is returning it, and he must request forgiveness.
If the Thief Still has the Stolen Item
- If the thief still hast the item that he stole in his possession, he must return that item. If it was lost or stolen, or if it's no longer in its original form, he must pay its value to the victim. The same laws applies for stealing from a non-Jew.
Stole as a Minor
- A person is not responsible for something he stole as a minor, meaning a man before the age of 13 and a woman before the age of 12. However, if the item is still in his possession when he becomes an adult, he must return it.
Stealing from a Parent
- If one stole from a parent, he must repay them or ask them to explicitly absolve him of payment, and he may not assume that his parents automatically forgive him.
Does not Know who to Repay
- If someone steals but does not know exactly who his victims are, he should donate money to a community need that would benefit all his victims. He should determine how much he stole. If he cannot, he should estimate an amount that equals or exceeds how much he may have stolen. For example, if most of his victims live in one community, he should donate to the local mikveh, hatzala, library etc.
- The money should be given anonymously, so that he does not receive any recognition for his "donation."
- One who gives money to the public should pray that his victims benefit from his money to the full extent of what he owes them.
Victim No Longer Living
- If the victim of your theft is no longer living, you must make restitution to his heirs.
If the Thief is no Longer Living
- If the thief is no longer alive and his heirs inherit the item, it is their obligation to return it. If the item is no longer in their possession, they must make restitution from money they inherited from the thief.
Victim of Theft
- Someone who is a victim of theft can pardon the person who stole money from him by simply saying that he forgives him.
- If somebody owes you money, it is a mitzvah to gently tell him to repay the small debt. However, if he feels that the person will not constructively accept what he is being told, it is a kind thing to forgive him instead.
Zeh Neheneh Zeh Lo Chaser
- You have the right to prevent anyone from using your property even if you don’t lose if they were to use it. Zeh Neheneh Zeh Lo Chaser is only after the fact.
Cutting Ahead on a Line
- Cutting ahead on a line is tantamount to stealing.
- The institution providing the service has the authority to serve any customer first.
- One may hold a place in line for his friend, if he himself is not waiting on the line. One may not hold a place in line for himself, and one for his friend.
- Some refer to a concept of gezel shaina, or stealing another person's sleep. This is somewhat of a misnomer, as this is more of an issue of causing damage, than actual stealing.
Laws for a Store Owner
- One may not mix good and bad fruit together in order to sell the bad fruit at the price of the good fruit. However, one may mix two types of fruits even though one may be less preferable to his fellow as long as it is recognizable.
Weights or Measures
- One who cheats a customer with dishonest weights or measures violates two Torah prohibitions: injustice with weights and measures (Vayikra 19:35 - לא תעשו עול במדה במשקל ובמשורה), in addition to the regular prohibition of stealing Additionally, he is in violation of the positive Torah commandment to use honest scales and measures (Vayikra 19:36 - מאזני צדק אבני צדק איפת צדק והין צדק יהיה לכם).
- One who has dishonest measures cannot possibly do a complete teshuva, because he cannot know who he stole from and who he cheated. He can do a partial teshuva by donating money to public needs.
- This prohibition applies to dealings with non-Jews as well.
- This prohibition applies even to very small percentages.
- Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 259, Rambam Hilchot Gezeila 1:2, Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 348:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:1.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 19 points out that in Parashat Kedoshim, the Torah separately prohibits 3 different forms of stealing: geneva, gezel, and oshek. Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 228 points out that these 3 prohibitions all effectively prohibit taking something from another person, but technically each one means something different
- Vayikra 19:11, Baba Kama 79b, Rambam at the beginning of Hilchot Geneva, Shulchan Aruch CM 348:2-3
- Vayikra 19:13, Baba Kama 79b, Rambam Hilchot Gezela 1:3, Shulchan Aruch CM 359:7.
- Baba Metzia 61a-b, Rashi s.v. Lama Li, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 19 note 13
- Rashbam Baba Batra 165a, Chafetz Chaim in Sefat Tamim Perek 3, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 13
- Berachot 6b, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 82
- Berachot 35b, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 82
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 82 based on Midrash Tanchuma Bamidbar Siman 22
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 20, Shulchan Aruch CM 348:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:1, Rabbi Eli Mansour as although less than a pruta isn't technically considered money, the Torah prohibits even less than the prescribed amount (חצי שיעור אסור מן התורה).
- Shulchan Aruch CM 359:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch CM 182:1, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 20. see Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 20 note 20 that if there is something that a normal person wouldn't object to but this particular owner does object, it is clearly forbidden.
- Rama 359:1, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 21, Rabbi Eli Mansour
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 21 based on Gemara Bava Metzia 61b, Rambam Hilchot Geneva 1:2 and Sefer Hamitzvot Lav 244, Tur and Shulchan Aruch CM 348:1, Shulchan Aruch Harav Hilchot Gezela 3, Aruch Hashulchan 348, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Dibrot Moshe Bava Metzia 61b note 11. see also Stealing as a practical joke by Rabbi Daniel Feldman and Stealing as a joke or to teach a lesson by Rabbi Michael Taubes
- The Rambam Hilchot Geneva 1:2 writes that stealing even as a joke and even with intent to return is forbidden so that one does not become accustomed to stealing. Tur and Shulchan Aruch 348:1 quote this Rambam. Lechem Mishne Geneva 1:1 writes that the language of the Rambam implies that this prohibition is only dirabanan. However, see Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 21 note 22 where he quotes several acharonim who argue including Minchat Chinuch Mitzva 244, Levush 348, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Dibrot Moshe Baba Metzia Siman 72: note 11 D"H Vihineh Harambam
- Pitchei Teshuva 348:2 quotes from Shita Mikubetzet on Bava Metzia 61b who rules it is only forbidden to steal with intent to keep the item, but to steal temporarily is permitted, and so is done on a daily occurrence. see also Ketzot Hachoshen 348:1 who argues on this
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 22. The Bach points out that since the Bach CM 259 points out that since the gemara derived the prohibition of stealing as a joke only in the context of lo tignov, and not lo tigzol, the prohibition would not apply to grabbing by force. However, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 22 note 24 points out that others argue and apply it to both gezela and geneva (see Levush 359:2, Dibrot Moshe Bava Metiza Siman 71 note 11
Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 22 note 26 quotes in the name of Rav Avraham Pam (cited in Atara Lamelech pg. 117) that if an adult grabs something from the child and pretends not to have it, and hides it in one hand, and then when the child opens that hand, switches it to another hand, the adult is in violation of geneva. Additionally, someone who does that violates onaa, viahavta lire'acha kamocha, and vihalachta bidrachav
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 22. The Gemara Bava Metzia 61b brings the example of stealing so that you will be obligated to pay back double. Rashi there explains that your intention was to give him a gift but you know he wouldn't accept it, so you obligate yourself to it by stealing from him
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 22-23 note 28, Pitchei Choshen Geneva 1: note 16
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 23, Shulchan Aruch CM 359:2
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 23. He writes there that a permissible way to accomplish this would be to buy the new hat and ask a friend to accept it on behalf of the kollel student, in a case where the giver knows with certainty that the kollel student would trade the old hat for a new one.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 23. see also Stealing as a joke or to teach a lesson by Rabbi Michael Taubes
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 24, Pitchei Choshen Hilchot Geneava 1: note 17. see shiur by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, article by Rabbi Aron Tendler, and article on Chabad.org for extended discussions
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 24
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 24, Shulchan Aruch Harav Hilchot Gezela Seif 2
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 25, Shulchan Aruch CM 359:4 see also Stealing To Save Someone's Life
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 25, Rama CM 308:7, Sm"A 308:14
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 25, Shulchan Aruch CM 348:2. see Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 25 note 41 that if the child only acquired the item in the first place on his own (without being given it by an adult) such as if he found an item on the street, then stealing from him is only a rabbinic prohibition
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 25-26 note 42
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 26. see Shu"t Igrot Moshe CM 1:88:7 regarding receiving permission from parents to take something
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 26.
The gemara records a story in which the sharecropper of Mari Bar Isak took fruit to some of Amoraim while Mari Bar Isak was away. Some of the Amoraim ate the fruits, while Rav Ashi did not. Rashi explains that Rav Ashi was concerned that the sharecropper was taking Mari Bar Isak’s fruit without permission and didn’t want to benefit from stolen goods. If so, what were the other Amoraim thinking? Tosfot (Bava Metsia 22a s.v. mar) explains that they assumed that the sharecropper was giving his own fruits. Then Tosfot adds that it would not have been a correct justification if the other Amoraim assumed that the sharecropper took Mari’s fruits, but once Mari would find out about it, he would be okay with it. Tosfot proves that an expression of intent isn’t effective for past events from the topic of yeush shelo medaat, assuming someone would relinquish ownership if an item is lost.
Tosfot’s opinion is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch and accordingly it would be prohibited to take someone else’s property even if one assumes that they would be agreeable when he finds out. Even though the Shach (C.M. 358) disagrees, the poskim (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:13, Aruch HaShulchan 358:8) follow the opinion of Tosfot. Nonetheless, Rabbi Bodner (Halachos Of Other People’s Money p. 26) quotes poskim who say that if a friend or relative have allowed you to take a particular item in the past with regularity it would permitted to take it without consent.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 27
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 28, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:11
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 28, see A Woman Donating Tzedaka
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 28, Gemara Baba Kama 119a, Shulchan Aruch YD 248:4, Shu"t Igrot Moshe EH 1:103, Shu"t Shevet Halevi 5:132:7)
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 28-29, Pitchei Teshuva YD 248:3 in the name of the Noda Biyehuda
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 29. see there not "g" where he explains as follows
- If a parent buys something for the child, the parents retain ownership of that item (Rabbi Akiva Eiger 270:2)
- If relatives or friends give the child a gift, the father becomes the owner, to use at his discretion, for the benefit of the child (Rama 270:2 and Sma 270:8)
- If he finds a lost object, the father becomes the owner. (Shulchan Aruch 270:2)
- If the child earns wages or profits, some poskim hold that it belongs to his parents (Rama 270:2. see however Machane Ephraim Hilchot Zechiya Siman 3 who quotes those who disagree)
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 29. A child inherits based on the Mishna Nidda 43b, as codified in Shulchan Aruch 276:5. Knesset Hagedola 270:3 writes that if somebody gives the child a gift on condition that the parents have no share in it, that is effective and the property becomes the child's own
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 29 note h
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 30 note 59 quotes poskim on both sides. Tosafot and the Rosh hold that the property belongs to the parents, but the Raavad and Ritva hold that they are the child's
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 30, Shu"t Shevet Halevi 6:163, Hizaharu Bimamon Chaverchem pg. 142 in the name of Rav Yechezkel Levenstein
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 30. see there note 61 where Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg explains that the donors to the yeshiva give the money to the administration, and thus if the administration would not approve of this eating, it is certainly prohibited.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 31
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 31
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 31 note J. He writes that although there are important halachic ramifications if the shareholders who wield influence are all not Jewish in terms of Chametz, Ribbit (interest), and operating on Shabbat and Yom Tov, there are no practical ramifications in regard to theft, as in either case it is prohibited to steal. see also Rabbi Doniel Neustadtsee below Stealing from a Non-Jew
- Rambam Hilchot Gezeila 1:2, Rosh and Rif (quoted in Beit Yosef 359) Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 348:2 and 359:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:1, Rabbi Doniel Neustadt, Rabbi Eli Mansour, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 32.
- The Shach 348:2 writes that the implication of Shulchan Aruch is that this is biblically forbidden, as the Tur and Smag write. The Gra, Radvaz 4:205, Rabbi Akiva Eiger, Netivot Hamishpat 348, Beit Shmuel EH 28:5, Chelkat Mechokek EH 28:3, Shulchan Aruch Harav Gezela 1 and 23, all agree that it is biblically forbidden to steal from a non-Jew.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 32, Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 33.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 33, Tosefta Baba Kama 10:8.
- Aruch Hashulchan 348:1 writes that although some poskim maintain that the biblical prohibition against stealing from a Jew is limited to stealing more than the value of a perutah, stealing from a non-Jew is forbidden min ha-Torah even for an item valued less than a perutah.
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:1 relates a story from the Tanna d’Bei Eliyahu of a certain person who shorted a non-Jewish customer in the measure of dates that he sold him. Later, he used the money from that transaction to purchase oil. The flask broke and the oil was spilled, causing the one relating the incident to exclaim, “Blessed is G-d, Who does not let people get away with such things!” Leviticus 19:13 says, “Do not oppress your neighbor or steal from him.”
- Hilchot Bayit Ne'eman pg. 189 quotes from the Chida in the name of the Arizal that anybody who steals from a non-Jew, even an idol worshipper, that non-Jew will scream and litigate against the Jew when he dies.
- see The Prohibition of Stealing from a Non-Jew Gezel Akum by Rabbi Shay Schachter
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 44-45, Aruch Hashulchan CM 348:2, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe CM 1:88), Halacha Yomit . see also Beer Hagolah 348 who writes that he has personally seen people who have attempted to become wealthy by deceiving non-jews, and eventually, their success turned to failure and their fortunes disappeared.
- see Rama 348:2.
- see From the rabbi's desk: dan's toys-r-us deal by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz for a more detailed discussion
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 46 in the name of Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, Rav Elyashiv on Nine Common Theft Issues by Rabbi Yair Hoffman
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 46 in the name of Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 47 in the name of Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 47
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 49
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 48
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 48
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 48
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 49
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 34
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 35, Shu"t Igrot Moshe CM 2:29
- Vayikra 19:13, Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 258, Smag Mitzva 156, Shulchan Aruch 359:8, Shulchan Aruch Harav Gezela 4, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 36. Shulchan Aruch 359:8 writes that the prohibition of Oshek refers to when somebody gives you money willingly, and when it is time to give it back, you refuse to
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 37
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 37, Aruch Hashulchan 359:7
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 37
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 37
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 37
- Shulchan Aruch CM 359:8, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 38
- see Mishna in Avot 2:9 where Chazal warn that one must stay far away from borrowing and not repaying. In fact, in his Sefer Ahavat Chesed (end of Part 2), the Chafetz Chaim writes very harshly about someone who borrows and does not repay.
- Gemara Ketubot 86a. Pitchei Teshuva CM 97:4 quotes from the Mabit 1:51 that Rashi holds that this is a Torah commandment. Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 38
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 39, Ahavat Chessed end of Chelek 2
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 39. see there for specific guidelines on what qualifies as insufficient funds
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 39. see Bankruptcy in Halacha from the Business Halacha Institute, Bankruptcy: A Halakhic Perspective by Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz, and Bankruptcy - A Viable Halachic Option? by Steven H. Resnicoff
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 41
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 41, Smag Mitzva 156
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 41
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 49
- see there note 117
- Tur and Rama 348:2, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 50. see there where he relates that Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky zt"l recounted that when he was a Rabbi in Lithuania before World War II, he was asked a question by a resident of his community. The man had purchased stamps from the local post office, and had received more stamps than he had paid for. For such a poor man, the extra stamps were no trifle matter. Nonetheless, Rav Kaminetsky suspected that perhaps the postal clerk was testing the rabbi. This suspicion was confirmed a short time later when the clerk gave him too much change. The rabbi returned the extra money. Many years after the Nazis came and destroyed the community, the rabbi heard that this clerk had saved many Jews, testifying that he tested everybody to assess their honesty, and the only trustworthy people were the Jews!
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 51. Yerushalmi Bava Metzia 2:5 relates that Shimon ben Shetach once purchased a donkey. The original owner had neglected to check the saddlebag before he made the sale, and inadvertently left diamonds in the bag. When they discovered the treasure, Shimon ben Shetach’s students were exuberant, for now, they were certain, their teacher would be able to teach Torah without the constant financial worries that had been plaguing him. Shimon ben Shetach did not join in their excitement though. “Do you think I am a barbarian?” he exclaimed “I bought a donkey, not diamonds!” He promptly returned the diamonds. When the owner received them he cried out, “Blessed is the God of Shimon ben Shetach!”
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 50 note 117.
- Tur and Shulchan Aruch CM 359:9 based on Gemara Baba Kama 62a, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 75.
- Tosafot Baba Kama 62a "Chamsan" point out that although one is not in violation of gezel on a torah level but only on a rabbinic level, he is still in violation of lo tachmod on a torah level. This is brought as halacha by the Sma 359:14, and Beit Shmuel EH 28:2
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 82
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 81. see Workplace Halacha: Use of Office Supplies
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 81-82. see Workplace Halacha: Using Time on the Job
- Baba Kama 118b-119b, Rambam Geneva 5:1 and Gezela 5:1, Shulchan Aruch 356:1 (regarding geneva) and 369:1 (regarding gezela), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:8, Aruch Hashulchan 358:1, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 69, Rabbi Eli Mansour, Rabbi Aron Tendler, Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 69-70 based on Shulchan Aruch Harav Gezela 23, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:8
- Rambam Mitzva 194, Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 130, Tur Siman 360, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 182:6, based on Vayikra 5:23 - והשיב את הגזילה. see Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 84 for full discussion
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 84 based on the Chofetz Chaim (Commentary to Torah Kohanim Parshata 13: Halacha 1)
- Aruch Hashulchan 360:1.
Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 84 note 237 writes that the Rambam Hilchot Gezela 1:2 and Shulchan Aruch 348:2 imply that this obligation to return the item of a non-Jew is a Torah obligation. Additionally, although the Netivot Hamishpat 348 understood that the Rama EH 28 disagrees and think that this only applies to Jews, Rav Moshe Feinstein (CM 1:82) writes that he doesn't understand what the Netivot Hamishpat is talking about.
- Radvaz 2:610, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 85-86 based on Vayikra 5:23 which lists each of these things separately - והשיב את הגזלה אשר גזל או את העשק אשר עשק או את הפקדון אשר הפקד אתו. Radvaz 2:610
Rav Moshe Feinstein (Shu"t Igrot Moshe CM 1:88) writes that something you attained through deception is like stealing and must be returned or paid for.
- Mishna Brura 606:2, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 86
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 86 based on Rambam Hilchot Teshuva 1:1
- Shulchan Aruch CM 355:1
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 86
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 87 based on Igrot Moshe CM 1:88
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 87 based on Shulchan Aruch CM 355:1 and Igrot Moshe CM 1:88
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 88 based on Igrot Moshe CM 1:88
- Shulchan Aruch CM 360:1 based on Vayikra 5:23 והשיב את הגזילה אשר גזל. Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 88.
Aruch Hashulchan 360:1 writes that if the victim is willing to accept compensation instead of the item, the thief may pay instead of returning the item. Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 88 agrees.
- Shulchan Aruch CM 360:1, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 88
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 88. see Igrot Moshe CM 1:88
- Shulchan Aruch CM 349:3, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 89.
see note 264 there for a discussion if it is proper for one to go the extra mile and pay for what he stole as a minor: Mishna Brura 343:9 says that ideally one should based on the Taz 343:2 and the Chayei Adam 66:5. On the other haIMoshe CM 1:88 disagrees
- Igrot Moshe CM 1:88, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 88.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 90 based on Shulchan Aruch CM 366:2 from Gemara BK 94b. Rashi there D"h Borot explains that the reason to donate to community needs is that your victim will benefit from it. see Public Return by Rabbi Meir Orlian
see Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 90 where he notes that the stealing isn't really rectified until each victim is rectified, therefore if he knows who he stole from, he should pay them back directly. This is based on Shulchan Aruch 231:19 that somebody who has dishonest measures cannot possibly do proper teshuva. The Sma 231:34 explains that since you cannot really know who you stole from or how much you took, you cannot do a proper teshuva
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 90 based on Shu"t Igrot Moshe CM 1:88
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 91
- Shu"t Igrot Moshe CM 1:88, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 91
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 91
- Shulchan Aruch 367:4, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 91
- Shulchan Aruch CM 361:7, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 91.
- Aruch Hashulchan 360:1, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 92
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 93
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 93 based on Rambam De'ot 6:9. see Shaar Hatziyun 606:8 who writes that one should forgive the person who wronged him even if it was intentional, and in turn Hashem will forgive you for the things you intentionally do wrong, as the Gemara in Rosh Hashana 17a writes that whoever forgoes the wrongs that are done to him, Hashem treats you accordingly.
- Tosfot bava kama 20b, Tosfot bava batra 12b, Mordechai bava kama n. 16, Rama CM 363:6, Biur HaGra there, Pitchei Choshen Genevah 8:3. None of the sources quote someone who argues besides the Gra cites the Rosh and disagrees. Either way the Rosh is only potentially allowing it because he is watching the house and helping out but generally he agrees with Tosfot. Nodah Beyehuda CM 24 applies the rule even if the property can’t be sold. Pitchei Choshen discusses that perhaps that’s a difference between Tosfot and Mordechai and the Rama followed the Mordechai.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 78 in the name of Rav Elyashiv. see note 219 where he cites a letter from Rav Chaim Kanievsky to the author on the severity of cutting a line. see also Rabbi Avraham Kohan
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 79 in the name of Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, Hizaharu Bimamon Chaverchem 6: pg. 154 in the name of Rav Elyashiv
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 79
- Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg (Kovetz Beit Aharon Viyisrael Av 5762), Shevet Halevi 7:224, Mishne Halachot 12:443-444, and 14:199, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 83.
In a number of teshuvot, Rav Menashe Klein in Mishneh Halachot (12:443-4, 14:199-200) discusses the question of whether waking someone up is really considered stealing. On the one hand, he tries to show that the prohibition of stealing even applies to non-tangible items that one wouldn’t have to return. For example, the Tosefta (Bava Kama 3:7) says that it is considered stealing to trick someone (genevat daat). Rav Klein explains that the root of stealing is causing someone anguish and doesn’t only apply to tangible items. Similarly, waking someone up causes that person discomfort and could be considered stealing.
On the other hand, he writes that the Mishna (B”B 20b) speaks of people having the legitimate right to complain that their neighbors make too much noise with their guests and prevent them from sleeping. The Meiri on that Mishna describes such an action as intangible damage and not stealing. Based on the Meiri, the Mishneh Halachot prefers to say that waking someone up is an issue of damage and not stealing. Shevet HaLevi 7:224 agrees.
Regarding waking up someone who is sick and needs his sleep, certainly waking them up is forbidden just like damaging them physically. Lastly, Rav Klein writes that wasting someone’s time in it of itself is stealing because time is the most valuable thing a person has.
see Ten Minute Halacha - Gezel Sheina Stealing Sleep by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 62:5
- Ben Ish Chai Ki Tetze, 11
- Tur CM 231:1, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 76. see Tur there and Ben Ish Chai Year 1 Parashat Ki Tetze who elaborate on the severity of this prohibition.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 76 based on Rambam Gezela 8:1
- Shulchan Aruch CM 331:19, Sma 331:34
- Rambam Geneva 7:8, Shulchan Aruch 231:1, Shulchan Aruch Harav Midot 2, Aruch Hashulchan 231:1, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 77. see Pitchei Teshuva 231:1 if this applies on a Torah level or only on a rabbinic level
- Tanna Divei Eliyahu 15 (brought by Kitzur SA 182:1) tells the following story: I once sold to a gentile four korin [28 bushels] of dates and I measured it out evenly for him in a dark room. He said to me: G-d rules over the heavens and you know how much you measured for me. However, since I measured in a dark room I [accidentally] gave him three seahs [0.7 bushels] too little. After he paid me I purchased a jar of oil and placed it in the same place where I sold the dates to the gentile. The jar burst and the oil spilled out [as a divine punishment]. I said to him: My son, it says [Leviticus 19:13] "You shall not cheat your fellow and you shall not steal…" Your fellow is like your brother and your brother is like your fellow. You learn from here that it is forbidden to steal from a gentile because it is theft, and it need not be said that theft from your brother is forbidden.
- Sefer Hachinuch 258, Bach 231:7, Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 77
see Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 77-78 who points out that every scale is really permitted to have a very small margin of error, plus or minus. Thus if one's scale is within this legal tolerance, it is not a transgression of this prohibition. Nevertheless, the seller should, if possible, add a tiny amount above the amount due to the buyer to compensate for this. Note 217 writes that this is based on the Gemara Baba Batra 88b which learns from the pasuk אבן שלמה וצדק that you should take some from your own gains and give it to the buyer. This is brought as halacha by 231:14. Maharam Shik CM 30 writes that nowadays this doesn't seem to be the practice and suggests that the buyers forgive this slight amount. Still, he recommends that somebody who fears Hashem should add a small amount.