This week we continue discussion of the basic aspects of the prohibition of
Geneivas Daas. The early authorities argue as to whether the prohibition of
‘geneivas daat’ is from the Torah or the Rabbis. The Ritva brings the
opinion of the Tosefta that this is a Torah prohibition and that it is
learnt out from the passuk, “Do not steal, do not deny” (Vayikra, 19:11).
Many other authorities also hold that geneivas daas is a Torah prohibition.
The Shaarei Teshuva, however, writes; The Chachmei Yisrael considered this
sin [of geneivat data] to be more severe than stealing from non-Jews.” This
implies that this is a rabbinical prohibition because he refers to the
Rabbis as the source of the prohibition. The opinion of the Rambam on this
matter is unclear.
In contrast, in Hilchot Mechira, the Rambam compares geneivat daat in
monetary matters, to onaat devarim and sheker in business (which are Torah
prohibitions). From there, it seems that the Rambam holds geneivat data is
Therefore, it seems that the Rambam holds that in general, geneivat daat is
rabbinical, however, when it involves actual thievery of money, then it is
forbidden from the Torah. Some authorities rule this way – that when a loss
of money is involved in the geneivas daas then there is a Torah prohibition
but if there is no monetary loss, then it is rabinically forbidden.
1. This article is based on a talk given by Rabbi David Genish, Shlita,
Rabbi of Kehillat Meam Loez – an English speaking Sefardi shul in Ramat Beit
Shemesh – one of the only English Sefardi shuls in the whole of Eretz
Yisroel. For more information about the Meam Loez community, email me on: