web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Geneivah And Gezeilah

At the conclusion of this week’s parshah, the Torah discusses the halachos of one who stole from another. The pasuk says, “veheishiv es hagezeilah asher gazal – and he shall return the stolen object that he stole.” We derive from this that there is a mitzvas assei to return a stolen object.

Many Achronim explain that when one steals an item he would actually acquire the item, if not for the fact that the Torah commanded him to return it. It is for this reason that once the item is not returnable (e.g. it is damaged), it then belongs to the one who stole it – who then must reimburse the original owner. Since there is no obligation to return the object, it now belongs to the one who stole it.

The Torah sorts stealing into two categories, each one a separate lo sa’aseh: geneivah and gezeilah. The latter is when one uses force to steal, or steals in the open (without hiding). When one steals covertly, it is referred to as geneivah. There are several differences between the two. One example of how they differ is that only a ganav pays keifel (double), or four or five times the principle amount if he shechts or sells the stolen item. A gazlan does not incur these penalties. However, regarding repaying the principle amount that was stolen, they are similar. Further, the halacha of veheishiv es hagezeilah asher gazal applies to both geneivah and gezeilah.

Therefore a ganav does not acquire the stolen item, just like a gazlan, because they are both obligated to return the item that was stolen.

The Rambam begins discussing hilchos gezeilah with the following halacha: one who steals from another transgressed a lo sa’aseh – as it says, “lo sigzol.” However, lashes are not administered to one who transgresses this lo sa’aseh, for the Torah has commanded an assei to rectify it by returning the object that he stole. This is because it says veheishiv es hagezeilah asher gazal, which is a mitzvas assei. (This concept is known as a lav hanitak l’assei, a positive commandment that rectifies the negative commandment whereby lashes are not administered.) And even if he will destroy the stolen object (making it impossible to fulfill the positive commandment), he nevertheless does not receive lashes; instead he is obligated to pay for the object, the ruling being that any lo sa’aseh that requires one to pay precludes him from receiving lashes.

The Rambam writes at the beginning of hilchos geneivah that lashes are not administered to one who transgresses the lo sa’aseh of geneivah, similar to that of gezeilah. But he writes that this is for a different reason, namely that one who commits geneivah transgresses a lo sa’aseh – as it says, “lo signovo.” However, he does not receive lashes for transgressing this lo sa’aseh because the Torah commanded him to pay (and as mentioned above, any lav that requires one to pay precludes the person from receiving lashes). The Rambam does not say that one who transgresses geneivah does not receive lashes, because it is a lav hanitak l’assei.

Many Achronim ask why the Rambam did not write that the reason that a ganav is exempt from lashes is because it is a lav hanitak l’assei, as he did by gezeilah – as since we apply the halacha of veheishiv es hagezeilah asher gazal to a ganav, it should be a lav hanitak l’assei. And if we would suggest that the Rambam does not apply the halacha of veheishiv es hagezeilah asher gazal to geneivah, how would we then explain why a ganav does not acquire the item when he steals it.

Reb Moshe Shmuel Shapiro, zt”l, suggests that indeed the halacha of veheishiv es hagezeilah asher gazal applies to geneivah. However, we do not apply the actual mitzvah but only the monetary aspect, i.e. that he must return the stolen object. Therefore one cannot be exempt from lashes as a result of the rule of lav hanitak l’assei, since it is not a mitzvas assei (but only a monetary obligation) to return the item. At the same time, though, the ganav cannot acquire the item when he steals it since he does in fact have a monetary obligation to return the item.

The Imrei Baruch (Choshen Mishpat 34) says that although we indeed apply the halacha of veheishiv es hagezeilah asher gazal to a ganav, even to the extent that there is a mitzvah by a ganav to return the stolen item, it is only due to the Torah’s actual writing that it is a mitzvas assei that we can apply the rule of lav hanitak l’assei, exempting one from lashes. Thus, even though the mitzvah also applies to a ganav, the rule of lav hanitak l’assei is not the reason that he is exempt from lashes. And a ganav does not acquire the stolen item when he steals it since he actually does have a mitzvas assei to return the item.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Geneivah And Gezeilah”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

The Brisker Rav suggests that the barad, in fact, only fell on people, animals, and vegetation.

Why is it necessary to perform an aveirah punishable by lashes in order to be deemed a legal rashah and be pasul l’eidus m’d’Oraisa?

Why was Yaakov not afraid that granting Yosef’s sons the status of shevatim would cause jealousy among his children?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

It is clear that Tosafos maintains that only someone who lives in a house must light Chanukah candles.

But how could there have been any validity to Yosef’s allegations?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/geneivah-and-gezeilah/2012/03/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: