Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:1

סִימָן קפב – הִלְכוֹת גְּנֵבָה וּגְזֵלָה

182: Laws of Theft and Robbery

א: אָסוּר לִגְזוֹל אוֹ לִגְנוֹב אֲפִלּוּ כָּל-שֶׁהוּא, בֵּין מִישְׂרָאֵל בֵּין מִגּוֹי. אִיתָא בְּתַנָּא דְבֵי אֵלִיָהוּ, מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁסִּפֵּר לִי, שֶׁעָשָׂה עַוְלָה לַגּוֹי בִּמְדִידַת הַתְּמָרִים שֶׁמָּכַר לוֹ, וְאַחַר כָּךְ קָנָה בְּכָל הַמָּעוֹת שֶׁמֶן, וְנִשְׁבַּר הַכַּד וְנִשְׁפַּךְ הַשֶׁמֶן. וְאָמַרְתִּי, בָּרוךְ הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁאֵין לְפָנָיו מַשּׂוֹא פָּנִים. הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר, לֹא תַעֲשֹׁק אֶת רֵעֲךָ וְלִא תִגְזֹל. וְגֵזֶל הַנָכְרִי, גָּזֵל

It is prohibited to steal or to rob even the slightest amount, whether from a Jew or a non-Jew. It is brought in the Tana deVei Eliyahu: A story involving one person who told me that he committed a trespass against a non-Jew when assessing the value of the figs that he sold him. Afterward he took all the money and bought oil, but the jug broke and the oil spilled. I said, “Blessed is the Omnipresent before Whom there is no favoritism. The verse says “do not defraud your neighbor and do not steal.

And stealing from a non-Jew is stealing.


This se’if goes to the core of why I decided to do this series of posts.

See also the discussion at se’if 62:7.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:2-3

ב: אִם הוּא דָבָר מֻעָט כָּל-כָּךְ שֶׁאֵין מִי שֶׁיַקְפִּיד עָלָיו כְּלָל, כְּגוֹן לִטּוֹל מֵהַחֲבִילָה קֵיסָם לַחֲצוֹץ בּוֹ שִׁנָּיו, מֻתָּר. וּמִדַּת חֲסִידוּת לְהִמָּנַע גַּם מִזֶה

If it is something very small, to the extent that no one cares about it at all, such as taking from a bundle a single splinter to put between his teeth [as a toothpick], it is permitted. But it is a middah of piety to refrain even from this.

ג: אֲפִלּוּ לִגְנוֹב עַל דַּעַת לְהַחֲזִיר, אֶלָּא שֶׁרוֹצֶה לְצַעֲרוֹ קְצָת אוֹ בְּדֶרֶךְ שְׂחוֹק, גַּם כֵּן אָסוּר

Even theft with the intent to return it, just that he wants to call him a small concern or [doing it] in a humorous vein, this too is prohibited.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:4

ד אסור לעשק את חברו אפלו כל-שהוא, שנאמר, לא תעשק את-רעך. ואיזהו עושק. זה שבא ממון חברו לידו ברצון חברו, כגון שיש לו בידו הלואה או שכירות, ואינו רוצה לשלם לו, או שדוחהו בלך ושוב, לך ושוב. וכיון דכתיב רעך, אינו אסור בגוי. והוא שאין חלול השם בדבר, כגון שלוה מגוי ומת, רשאי לכחש לבנו, שאינו יודע בברור שהוא משקר. אבל כשהגוי יודע שהוא משקר, אסור, מפני חלול-השם. ואף במקום שאינו יודע, אינו רשאי אלא להפקיע הלואתו או שאר חוב שהוא חיב לו. אבל חפץ שהוא בעין, אסור לכפר, שהרי זה הוי גזל ממש. ולא עוד, אלא אפלו קנה ממנו חפץ, אסור להטעות אותו בחשבון בנתינת המעות, כמו שנאמר, וחשב עם קונהו, דמירי בגוי, שהרי אינו מקנה לו החפץ אלא בעד הסכום שהשתוו. והמטעהו בחשבון המעות, הרי זה כגונב את החפץ ולא כמפקיע חובו. ואפלו גנבת דעת שאין בה חסרון מעות, אסור במשא ומתן, כמו שכתבתי בסימן סג. ומכל מקום אם הגוי טעה בעצמו, מתר אם לא יהיה חלול-השם בדבר, שלא יודע לו. ונכון שיאמר לו הישראל, ראה שעל חשבונך אני סומך

One may not defraud his peer even the smallest amount. As is says “do not defraud your neighbor”.

What is fraud? One person obtains his peer’s money with his peer’s consent, such as he has a loan or rental payment, but he doesn’t want to repay him, or pushes him aside with a come-and-go come-and-go (repeatedly making him come back to collect but never actually repaying).

Since it says “rei’ekha — your neighbor”, it is not prohibited when [the victim is] a non-Jew and there is no risk of chilul hasheim (desecrating G-d’s reputation) in it. Such as where he borrowed from a non-Jew who then dies, one is allowed to trick his son, who does not know for certain that he is lying. However, where the non-Jew knows that he is lying, it is prohibited, because of chilul hasheim.

Even in a sirutaiton where he does not know, it is not permitted except to avoid a loan or some other debt that he owes him. However, an object which is visible, one may not use trickery, for this is actual theft. Not only that, but even if he bought an object from him, he can’t trick him in the calculations when paying him the money, as it says “and he shall reckon with him who bought him” [the verse in question is originally about a slave]. Which applies to a non-Jew, because he only gave over the ownership of the object for a payment which is equal. Therefore, someone who tricks him in the calculation of the money, it is like he stole the object, and not like he avoided his debt.

Even geneivas da’as (stealing knowledge; i.e. lying or intentionally giving a false impression) that does not cause a loss of money, is prohibited in commerce as I wrote in chapter 63. In any case, if the non-Jew errs himself, it is permissible — if there is no chilul hasheim — not to inform him. Although it is appropriate for the Jew to tell him, “I am relying on your calculations.”


Again, see the discussion at se’if 62:7 as R’ Ganzfried quotes this se’if there (and I wasn’t sure I would stick with this series long enough to get here, so I addressed 62:7, 182:1 and this halakhah then).

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:5

ה: כָּל הַחוֹמֵד בֵּיתוֹ אוֹ כֵּילָיו ֹשֶל חֲבֵרוֹ, אוֹ כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁאֵין בְּדַעַת חֲבֵרוֹ לְמָכְרוֹ, וְהוּא הִרְבָּה עָלָיו רֵעִים אוֹ שֶׁהִפְצִיר בּוֹ בְעַצְמוֹ עַד שֶׁמְּכָרוֹ לוֹ, הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַחְמֹד. וּמִשָּׁעָה שֶׁנִּפְתָּה בְּלִבּוֹ וְחָשַׁב אֵיךְ יִקְנֶה חֵפֶץ זֶה, עָבַר בְּלֹא תִתְאַוֶּה, כִּי אֵין תַּאֲוָה אֶלָּא בַלֵּב בִּלְבָד, וְהַתַּאֲוָה מְבִיאָה לִידֵי חִמּוּד. וְהַקּוֹנֶה אֶת הַדָּבָר שֶׁהִתְאַוָּה לוֹ, עוֹבֵר בִּשְׁנֵי לָאוִין. וּלְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר, לֹא תַחְמֹד וְלֹא תִתְאַוֶּה

Anyone who desires his friends home or utensils, or anything that is not on his friend’s mind to sell, and send him a lot of friends or pleads him personally until he sells it to him, this person is violating “do not covet”. From the time that his heart is enticed and he thinks ‘how can I buy this property?’ he violated “do not desire”. For desire is only in the heart alone, and desire brings to coveting. So, someone who buys something he has a desire for [when they are still someone else's] violates two prohibitions. Therefore it says, “Do not covet [your friend's wife] and do not desire [your neighbor’s house or land, his servant or maid, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.]” (Devarim 5:17).

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:6

ו: מִצְוַת-עֲשֵׂה עַל הַגּוֹזֵל לְהַחֲזִיר אֶת הַגְּזֵלָה עַצְמָהּ אִם הִיא בְעֵינָהּ וְלֹא נִשְּׁתַּנֵית, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “וְהֵשִׁ֨יב אֶת־הַגְּזֵלָ֜ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר גָּזָ֗ל”. וְהוּא הַדִין לְגַנָּב. וְאֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ בִּנְתִינַת דָּמִים, אֲפִלּוּ אִם כְּבָר נִתְיָאֲשׁוּ הַבְּעָלִים. אֲבָל אִם אָבְדָה אוֹ שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּנִית בְּשִׁנוּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר לִבְרִיָתוֹ אוֹ שֶׁשִקְעָהּ בַּבִנְיָן, שֶׁיִהְיֶה לוֹ הֶפְסֵד גָּדוֹל לִסְתֹּר אֶת הַבִּנְיָן, יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ בִּנְתִינַת דָּמִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה שָוֶה בִּשְׁעַת הַגְּזֵלָּה. וְאִם הַנִּגְזָה הוּא בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר, אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִשְׁלוֹחַ אֶת הַמָּעוֹת לִמְקוֹמוֹ, אֶלָּא מוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁיָבוֹא וִישַׁלֵּם לוֹ. אִם מֵת הַנִּגְזָל, יַחֲזִיר לְיוֹרְשָׁיו

It is an obligation on the thief to return the stolen item itself if it still has its appearance and is not changed, as it says “[It shall be if he sinned and is guilty,] that he will return the stolen item which he took by robbery[, or confiscated item that he got by oppression, or the deposited item that was deposited with him, or the lost thing which he found.]” (Devarim 5:23) This is [also] the law for a robber [see below for the difference between the two]. He does not fulfill his obligation by giving money, even if the owners have given up [on ever receiving compensation].

However, if the item is lost, or was altered in a change that can not be restored to its original, or was built into a building so that [the thief or robber] would incur a great loss to destroy the building, then he could fulfill his obligation by giving money, whatever [the stolen item] was worth at the time of the theft. If the one who was robbed is in another place, he does not have to send the money to his place, rather [just] tell him that he could come and he would repay him.

And if the theft victim died, he should return [it] to his heirs.


Gezeilah is taking an item from its owner. I have been translating it is “theft” or “stealing”. Geneivah is more like robbery; the item is removed from the owner’s domain (e.g. robbing a home), but without the owner’s knowledge.

The leniencies in the second paragraph dates back to a ruling by Beis Hillel (Gittin 58a). They were concerned that if returning the item itself were too onerous, thieves would avoid coming clean altogether. The obligations associated with teshuvah would become a barrier to doing it. Therefore if someone stole a beam and built it into his house, or returning the item would be too difficult, we allow the thief to repay the value of the item.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:7

ז: הַגּוֹזֵל אֶת הָרַבִּים, כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיָה חֶנְוָנִי וּמָדַד בְּמִדָּה חֲסֵרָה אוֹ שֶׁשָּׁקַל בְּמִשְׁקָל חָסֵר וְכַדּוֹמֶה, אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מְמֻנֶּה בַּקָּהָל וְהֵקֵל עַל קְרוֹבָיו וְהִכְבִּיד עַל אֲחֵרִים, וְכֵן מִי שֶׁנָטַל רִבִּית מֵרַבִּים, תְּשׁוּבָתוֹ קָשָה. לְפִיכָךְ יַעֲשֶׂה צָרְכֵי רַבִּים, שֶׁגַּם הַנִּגְזָלִים יֵהָנוּ מֵהֶם. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם לָאֵלֶּה שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁגָּזַל מֵהֶם, מְחֻיָב לְהַחֲזִיר לָהֶם, וְאֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ בְּמַה שֶׁעָשָׂה צָרְכֵי רַבִּים

Someone who robbed from the masses, such as if he was a shopkeeper and measured [his merchandise] with a deficient measure or he weighed with a deficient counter-weight or the like, or he was appointed for communal work and he made things easy for his relatives and hared on others, likewise someone who took interest from the masses, his teshuvah is difficult [since it would require reparations and forgiveness from many victims]. Therefore, he should do things the masses need so that those who were bobbed would also benefit from them. In any case, to those that he knows he stole from them, he is obligated to return it to them, and he does not fulfill his obligation by doing things for the masses.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:8

ח: אָסוּר לִקְנוֹת מֵהַגַנָּב אוֹ מֵהַגַּזְלָן אֶת הַחֵפֶץ שֶׁגָּנַב אוֹ גָזָל. וְאֵין חִלּוּק בֵּין שֶׁהוּא יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹ נָכְרִי, כִּי גַם הַנָּכְרִי נִצְטַוֶּה עַל אִסּוּר גְּנֵבָה וּגְזֵלָה אֲפִלּוּ מִנָּכְרִי חֲבֵרוֹ, וְהוּא מִשֶּׁבַע מִצְוֹת שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ עֲלֵיהֶם. וְעָוֹן גָּדוֹל הוּא לִקְנוֹת מִן הַגַּנָּב אוֹ מִן הַגַּזְלָן, שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא מַחֲזִיק יְדֵי עוֹבְרֵי עֲבֵרָה. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר, “חוֹלֵ֣ק עִם־גַּ֭נָּב שׂוֹנֵ֣א נַפְשׁ֑וֹ”, וְגוֹרֵם לַגַּנָּב שֶׁיִגְנוֹב עוֹד גַּם גְּנֵבוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת, וְאִם לֹא יִמְצָא לוֹקֵחַ, לֹא יִגְנוֹב. וְאַף-עַל-פִּי שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לְהוֹלִיךְ אֶת הַגְּנֵבָה לְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ, אֵין זֶה מָצוּי לוֹ כָּל-כָּךְ. וְאִם הַקּוֹנֶה מִתְכַּוֵּן לְטוֹבַת הַבְּעָלִים לְהַחֲזִירוֹ לָהֶם כְּשֶׁיַחֲזִירוּ לוֹ מְעוֹתָיו, מֻתָּר. וְדַוְקָא כְּשֶׁלֹּא הָיָה אֶפְשָׁרִי לַבְּעָלִים בְּעַצְמָם לְהַצִיל. וְכֵן אָסוּר לְקַבֵּל בְּפִקָּדוֹן דָּבָר שֶׁנִּרְאֶה שֶׁהוּא גָנוּב אן גָזוּל

It is prohibited to buy from a robber or a thief the merchandise which he robbed or stole. And there is no difference [in this between]  Jew or non-Jew, for also the non-Jew has the prohibition of robbery and theft even from his fellow non-Jew and it is one of the seven mitzvos that were commanded to them. It is a great sin to buy from the robber or from the thief, for it strengthens the hands of sinners. About this it is said, “One who partners with a thief hates his own soul; [he hears the rebuke and tells nothing.]” It cayses the robber to rob more [items] and also more robberies, but if he didn’t find a buyer he wouldn’t steal. Even though that it’s possible for him to go with the stolen [merchandise] to a place where they do not know him [and sell it there], it is not all that common.

If the buyer intend for the good of the owners, to return to them when they repay him his money, it is permitted. [Presumably replacing the old item at pawn rates is preferred by them over buying a new item at full price.] But specifically when it is impossible for the owners themselves to save the item.

Similarly, it is prohibited to accept as collateral something which appears to be robbed or stolen.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:9

ט: אֲפִלוּ לֵהָנוֹת שׁוּם הֲנָאָה מִן הַגְּנֵבָה אוֹ מִן הַגְּזֵלָה כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהִיא בְּיַד הַגַּנָב אוֹ הַגַּזְלָן, אָסוּר. וַאֲפִלּוּ הֲנָאָה מֻעֶטֶת שֶׁגַּם בְּעָלֶיהָ לֹא הָיוּ מַקְפִּידִים עָלֶיהָ, כְּגוֹן חִלּוּף מַטְבְּעוֹת בְּשָׁוְיָן, אָסוּר בְּמָעוֹת גְּנוּבוֹת אוֹ גְּזוּלוֹת. וְכֵן לִכָּנֵס לְבַיִת גָּזוּל, בַּחַמָּה מִפְנֵי הַחַמָּה וּבַגְשָׁמִים מִפְּנֵי הַגְשָׁמִים, אוֹ לַעֲבוֹר בְּשָׂדֶה גְזוּלָה, אָסוּר

Even getting any benefit from something robbed or stolen, as long as it is in the possession of the robber or thief, is prohibited. Even a tiny benefit, that the owners also would not care about, such as exchanging coins of equal value, it is prohibited with robbed or stolen money. Similarly entering a stolen house, in the sun [i.e. on a sunny day] because of the sun or in the rain because of the rain, or to cross a stolen field, is prohibited.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:10-11

י: וְלָכֵן מִי שֶׁהוּא גַנָּב אוֹ גַזְלָן מְפֻרְסָם, שֶׁאֵין לוֹ מְלָאכָה אַחֶרֶת אֶלָּא זֹאת, וְכָל מְמוֹנוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת גָנוּב אוֹ גָזוּל, אָסוּר לֵהָנוֹת מִמֶּנוּ, וְאָסוּר לְעָנִי לָקַחַת מִמֶּנּוּ צְדָקָה

[Continuing the topic of buying or getting benefit from stolen merchandise...] Therefore, anyone who is a known robber or thief, who has no job other than this, and [therefore] all his money is presumed to be robbed or stolen, it is prohibited to get any benefit from him, and a poor person may not take charity from him.

יא: וְכֵן אִם אֶחָד רוצֶה לִמְכֹּר אֵיזֶה חֵפֶץ שֶׁנִּרְאֶה שֶׁהוּא גָנוּב, כְּגוֹן שׁוֹמְרֵי פֵּרוֹת שֶׁמּוֹכְרִים פֵּרוֹת בְּמָקוֹם צָנוּעַ, אוֹ מוֹכֵר אַחֵר שֶׁנּוֹשֵׂא אֵיזֶה דָבָר בְּהַצְנֵעַ לְמָכְרוֹ, אוֹ שֶׁאוֹמֵר לְהַקּוֹנֶה, הַטְמֵן, אָסוּר לִקְנוֹת. וַאֲפִלּוּ לִקְנוֹת מֵאִשָּׁה אֵיזֶה דָבָר שֶׁיֵשׁ לָחוּשׁ שֶׁהִיא מוֹכֶרֶת שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת בַּעְלָּה, אוֹ לִקְנוֹת מֵאִישׁ דָּבָר מִתַּכְשִׁיטֵי הָאִשָּׁה וּמַלְבּוּשֶׁיהָ, שֶׁיֵשׁ לָחוּשׁ שֶׁהוּא מוֹכְרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת אִשְׁתּוֹ, אָסוּר

Similarly, anyone who wants to sell any item that appears to be stolen, such as the guardians of fruit who are selling fruit in some hidden place, or another seller who carries an item into a hidden place to sell it, or who tells the buyer “wait [for someone to pass by]“, it is prohibited to buy. Even buying from a woman some item that there is reason to suspect she is selling it without her husband’s knowledge, or to buy from a man an item of his wife’s jewelry or clothing that there is reason to suspect that he sells it without his wife’s knowledge, is prohibited.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 182:12

יב: מִי שֶׁנִּתְחַלְפוּ לוֹ כֵּלָיו בְּבֵית הַמִּשְׁתֶּה וְכַדּוֹמֶה, הַרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּכֵלִים אֵלוּ שֶׁבָּאוּ לְיָדוֹ וְאֵינָם שֶׁלּוֹ. וִּכְשֶׁיָבוֹא בַּעַל הַחֵפֶץ, צָרִיךְ לְהַחֲזִירוֹ לוֹ, וְאַף-עַל-פִּי שֶׁהַחֵפֶץ שֶׁלּוֹ נֶאֱבָד. וְכֵן כּוֹבֶסֶת הַמְכַבֶּסֶת לְרַבִּים וְהֵבִיאָה לוֹ חָלוּק שֶׁאֵינוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ, אָסוּר לְלָבְשוֹ, אֶלָּא צָרִיךְ לְהַחֲזִירוֹ לִבְעָלָיו, וְאַף-עַל-פִּי שֶׁשֶּׁלּוֹ נֶאֱבָד. אַךְ אִם מֻנָּח אֶצְלוֹ יָמִים רַבִּים, עַד שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא חָקְרוּ הַבְּעָלִים בֵּינְתַיִם אַחַר שֶׁלָּהֶם, אָז מֻתָּר לוֹ לְלָבְשוֹ, כִּי מִסְּתָמָא סִלְּקָה הַכּוֹבֶסֶת אֶת בְּעָלָיו וְשִׁלְּמָה בְּעַד הֶחָלוּק הַזֶה

Someone whose utensils were switched in the pub or the like, he should not use the utensils that came to his hand that weren’t his. When the owner of the item comes, he must return it — even if his own item is lost. Similarly a washer-woman who washes [clothes] for the community and brings him a shirt which is not his, it is prohibited to wear it. Rather, he must return it to its owners — even if his own was lost.

However, if it rests with him many days, until it is impossible that the owners didn’t search in the meantime for their own, then it is permitted for him to wear it. Because by default [you may assume that] the washer-woman cleared [the matter] with its owners and paid for this shirt.


This situation comes up in shul pretty often. There aren’t that many different styles of men coat, and it sometimes happens that someone looks through the coat room and realizes that the only remaining coat was one similar to theirs. Someone who left already took with the wrong coat.

I hadn’t heard, though, of a rabbi telling the person stuck in this situation that he is not permitted to wear the accidentally exchanged coat home.