Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Do Not Steal* Part 3

By Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen

In the previous article, we discussed the three forms of stealing: Stealing in secret (geneiva), stealing in public (gezeila) and cheating someone of what is rightfully theirs (oshek). In the coming weeks we will focus on various forms of taking items and discuss whether they constitute stealing according to the Torah. We will see that the prohibition of stealing applies to a far wider range of actions than we may have initially thought.

Taking Items of Miniscule Value

It is forbidden to steal any item regardless of its value. Even if the item is worth less than a prutah** , one may not take it without permission. For example, a person stays in a hotel and when he leaves, he takes a small ketchup packet from the dining area. It is quite possible that the hotel owner objects to people taking anything with them, therefore the visitor should refrain from this practice unless he is completely certain that the owner allows people to take items when they leave.

The one exception to this is if one can be totally sure that nobody would ever object to such an item being taken. For example, one may take a splinter of wood from a fence in order to use that splinter - if in fact, the owner of the fence does in fact object, then taking the splinter would constitute stealing.

Taking as a Practical Joke

One may think that taking a friend's item as practical joke is not considered stealing since the joker intends to return it. However, this is considered to be a form of stealing that is prohibited by the Torah. Taking something even temporarily is nonetheless an act of thievery. It is important to educate one's children taking things in such a fashion is an unacceptable activity.


*Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.

**A prutah is defined as the lowest common denomination coin that can be used to purchase items. A penny or nickel is certainly less than a prutah.


Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org Visit Rabbi Gefen's new blog at rabbiygefen.blogspot.com.


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

And So The Journey Continues
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

To See or Not to See - That is the Question
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Paradise Lost
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

No Empty Matter
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Love Your Neighbor
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

ArtScroll

Getting Our Manners In Order
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

What Are We Mourning?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

Shabbos Chazon
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Lesson About Our Psyche
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Look Deeper
Shlomo Katz - 5766

About This We Cry!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

> Small Allusions
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

In Other Words
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Speaking Louder
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756



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