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“But every thief could exempt himself in this manner,” objected Yisrael. “He’ll say he did it with good intentions.”

“You are only exempt in such a case if you announced your intention ahead of time to two witnesses before taking the item,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “Otherwise, you are presumed to have stolen for your benefit and not believed.” (Yad Hamelech, Geneivah 1:2)

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Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.
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