Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Beyond Suspicion

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

Carry double the money in your hands… (Bereshith 43:12)

The verse seems to imply that Yaakov specifically wanted his sons to carry the money in their hands, rather than in a wallet or pocket. Yaakov was afraid that when the Viceroy of Egypt (who, unbeknownst to him, was Yosef) would see them returning, he would immediately interrogate them about the money that they had found in their sacks. Even if they told him that they intended to return it, they had no way of proving that they had come to Egypt with the intention of returning the money. Perhaps they were waiting to see if he asked about the money before volunteering it. Therefore Yaakov specifically told them to carry the money in their hands, so that Yosef would see that they were not trying to hide anything from him. In this way they could immediately demonstrate their honesty.1

A person should be careful not to put himself into situations in which he will appear suspect, especially when money is involved. Therefore, if someone has stolen something from you, it is forbidden to sneak into his house to steal it back from him. People unaware of what previously transpired may misinterpret the situation and think that you are a thief.2 However, if the money can not be retrieved through legal channels, it is permissible to trick the thief into giving you back your money.

Rav Yehudah and Rav Yossi once deposited money with an inkeeper. When they later asked for their money, the innkeeper denied having received it. Earlier they had noticed that he had eaten beans for lunch. They went to his wife and told her that her husband wants her to give them their money, and the sign that that they are telling the truth is that she had served him beans for lunch. They cleverly retrieved what was rightfully theirs, without making themselves look suspect in the process.3

Our Sages instituted many precautionary measures in order to insure that people will not suspect a gabai tzedaka (a person involved with collecting and distributing charity) of theft. In order to prevent suspicion, collecting should always be done in pairs. After collecting, when adding up the money given them, they should count one coin at a time. If they count two at a time onlookers may think that they are really counting two coins as one, and that they are trying to take money for themselves. At a time when there is no one in need of charity, and it is necessary to exchange the coins into a different form of currency, the gabai tzedaka should not change the money for himself since people could suspect that he gave himself a favorable rate. If a gabai tzedaka receives, in public, personal money unconnected to charity he should not pocket it; rather he should put it together with the charity money, and separate it when he gets home.4

Footnotes:

1 Alshich on Bereshith 43:12.
2 Bava Kama 27b.
3 Yoma 83b.
4 Bava Bathra 8b-9a, Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De’ah 257:1, 2


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON NASO:

View Complete List

Just to Silence the Mind
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

Spies and Stones - The Shepherd Sticks with His Flock
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Lines of Lineage
Shlomo Katz - 5759

ArtScroll

Naturally Divine
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Giving is Receiving
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Pennies From Heaven
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Mouthful to Swallow
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Learned From Their Mistakes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Nicknames for the Torah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

> Do Your Thing
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Out Of Control
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Hair-Raising Episode
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Priestly Pipeline
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

It's a Wonder
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Lessons Learned From Gifts of the Nesiim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Ode to Joy
Shlomo Katz - 5775



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information