Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Do Not Steal Part 2

By Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen

There are a number of Mitzvot in the Torah that relate to stealing. The most well-known source is found in the 'Ten Commandments'; The Torah commands us, "Do not steal (loh tignov)-1 " It is less well-known that in Parshas Kedoshim, the Torah further commands us, Do not steal -2. " The Talmud explains that the Torah is teaching two separate kinds of stealing; the stealing referred to in the 'Ten Commandments' actually relates to kidnapping a person-3 . In contrast, the stealing discussed in Parshas Kedoshim, refers to stealing the property or money of another person. The Rabbis explain that the hebrew word used for stealing in this verse, (the root of the word is 'gonev') means one specific kind of stealing - stealing in secret, where nobody else is present-4 . An example of this is if one burgles a home whilst no-one is home.

Two verses later, the Torah tells us yet again not to steal (lon tigzol- 5) . However, on this occasion it uses a different hebrew word, whose root is 'gezel'. The Rabbis explain that this word describes stealing openly. For example, one who robs a bank in the presence of others, is guilty of 'gezel'.

If a person was asked, which is the more severe kind of stealing, stealing in secret or stealing openly, he would likely say that stealing openly is worse. However, the Rabbis tell us that stealing in secret is more severe - why is this the case? They explain that a thief demonstrates a blatant disregard for the will of Hashem, because he flagrantly disregards the commandments to not steal. When this thief steals in public, he shows that he similarly has not regard for the opinions of other people. He feels no concern that they will view him in a degrading fashion. In contrast, a thief who only steals in secret, demonstrates that he fears the opinion of other people. Thus, he shows a strong element of hypocrisy - he fears the opinion of other people, but has no regard for the opinion of Hashem. The open thief is, at least consistent in his disregard for what both Hashem and other people think of him.

The final form of stealing described in the Torah is known as ‘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 of merchandise. Oshek is considered to be no less severe than actively taking something away from one’s fellow.


1- Parshas Yisro, 20:13
2-Kedoshim, 19:11.
3-Sanhedrin, 86a - see there for an elaboration of the prohibition of kidnapping and for an explanation as to how the Rabbis came to the conclusion that the stealing here only refers to kidnapping.
4-Bava Kamma, 79b.
5-Kedoshim, 19:13.


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


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND PESACH:

View Complete List

Encouraging His Children to Climb
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Faith Healer
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Orlah - No Shortcuts?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

ArtScroll

A Holy Mindset
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

The Exit Strategy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Accepting Time
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

> Pesach Questions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Reading, Reviewing, Reciting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

A Focus of Our Attention
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Jewish Character
Shlomo Katz - 5761

“4 Seder Cups & 1 Yiddishe Cup” (Insights for the Passover Seder)
Jon Erlbaum - 5770

The Great Shabbos
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Joys of Animal Noise
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

In Lamb
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Not Every Thing is Spelled Out in Shulchan Aruch
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Sea the Miracle
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764



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