Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Do Not Steal1Part 8

In the first part of this series, we outlined three forms of stealing - gezeila, geneiva, and oshek[1] . Thus far, we have discussed the regular form of stealing. In the coming weeks, we will discuss oshek. This is translated as cheating others. It refers to when a person refuses to pay someone who has loaned him money, or who has given him services or merchandise.

Oshek is considered to be no less severe than actively taking something away from one’s fellow. It should be noted that oshek only applies when the person is able to repay the debt or loan, but refuses to do so. If he is simply unable to pay his fellow back, then he does not transgress oshek. Obviously he should strive to repay his debts as soon as possible[2] .

The prohibition of oshek includes refusal to pay very small sums of money. For example, a person ordered an item worth $101.50 but he sent a check of $100, presuming that the owner would not be concerned about the minor reduction in payment. Unless the owner agreed to this reduction, the customer is transgressing the prohibition of stealing, in the form of oshek.

Oshek is not limited to outright refusal to pay. Deceiving the person into believing that there was no debt, or into lessening the debt, is oshek. So too, giving the owner the "run around" in the hope that he'll give up chasing for his money, is also completely forbidden. For example, a tenant owes his final month of rent after having moved out, but makes it very hard for the landlord to locate him. He refuses to pick up the phone, or when confronted, he says he will pay soon. Eventually, the landlord gives up his efforts at receiving the money he is entitled to. The tenant has committed the sever prohibition of stealing.

[1]See 'Do Not Steal' Part 1, for the definitions of these terms.
[2]If the debtor has to make difficult choices between paying his debts and providing for his needs, he should consult with an Orthodox Rabbi who is well-versed in these areas.

Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Visit Rabbi Gefen's new blog at



View Complete List

God Watches Over Yisroel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Yearning for Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Power and Anti-Semitism
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774


Keep the Change
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

To Win By A Hairsbreadth
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Be Patient!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Think It Through
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5768

The Triumph of Quality Over Quantity
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Honor And Suspicion
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Build with Your Dreams
Shlomo Katz - 5772

A Little Oil Goes a Long Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Yaakov Sent Malachim -- Literally
- 5769

> History Reenacted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

The Meaning of Miracles
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Prayer Pointers
Mrs. Lori Palatnik - 5757

Yosef Recognizes His Brothers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information