Do Not Steal1 Part 7
Thus far, we have seen how it is forbidden to steal from a variety of
individuals, including family members. What is the law with regard to
taking items or money from institutions or corporations?
The answer is that there is no difference in these laws between stealing
from an individual or from a large group. It is forbidden to take food or
other items from an institution without permission. A common example of
this, is that it is forbidden to take towels and other such items from
hotels when one leaves. A person may rationalize that the loss is so small
that it does not effect the hotel, or that the hotel expects people to take
such items. However, unless they receive explicit permission to take such
items, then it is forbidden to do so.
Similarly, many hotels and similar institutions provide food to be eaten on
the premises but do not allow guests to take extra food out of the premises.
Unless, a person in such an institution has been told that this is
permitted, it constitutes stealing.
It is likewise forbidden to steal an item that is owned by many partners.
This is true even though the loss to each owner is miniscule. Similarly,
one may not steal from a corporation.
One is also forbidden from stealing from a government entity, such as a
Federal, state or local government body. For example, one may lie about
members of his institution in order to receive additional funding from the
government. To do so, constitutes stealing, as well as a desecration of
G-d's name (chillul Hashem), whereby people associate Jews with dishonest
Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other
People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org
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