Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Punishment For Theft

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

All flesh that walked the earth perished. (Bereshith 7:21)

In some cases, if someone died owing money to others, whether because he had stolen or for other reasons, his soul must return to this world.(1) However, he will not return to the world as a human being, but as a horse, and he will have to toil for years before he will be pardoned for the money he owes.(2)

Rav Meir of Premishlan once stayed at the home of a man who owned many horses. Rav Meir asked his host if he would be willing to sell him one of the horses. The host explained that he could not sell the specific horse Rav Meir had chosen for it was his finest horse. A short while later, Rav Meir asked his host if he had any debtors’ notes. The host showed Rav Meir his collection of notes, and when Rav Meir looked through them, he picked out one and inquired about it. The host told him that the man who signed that note as a debtor had passed away, and there was no one from whom to collect the money. That being the case, Rav Meir asked if he could keep the note, and his host agreed. Rav Meir then ripped the note to pieces.

Immediately, one of the servants was heard shouting that the master’s finest horse had died suddenly, just at that moment. The host was shaken by this bizarre scenario, and asked Rav Meir the meaning of all that had transpired. Rav Meir explained that the individual whose note he had destroyed had been sent back to the world in the form of a horse in order to compensate the host for the money he had never repaid him. When the host gave Rav Meir the note, the debt was effectively cancelled, and the soul of this individual was freed to leave this world and enter the World to Come in peace.(3)


1. Vilna Gaon, Commentary on Mishlei 14:25.

2. Chofetz Chaim, Sefath Tamim, Ch. 4.

3. Beith Yisrael Ch. 8 p. 117.


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 


ARTICLES ON VAYIGASH AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

'The Plan'
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Identity of a Jew
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Whole Justice
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Dreaming in Real-Time
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Yosef Recognizes His Brothers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Brotherly Love
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

> The Essence of Reproof
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Yosef's Approach to God-Based Events
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Good and Bad Company
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Visions of the Temples
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Bonding Time
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Maintaining Family Unity
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

ArtScroll

Ge’ulah: The Roots of Exile
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

Why Didn't Yosef Send A Letter?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Straightening Out The Cause And The Effect
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Light Burst
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772



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