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Genevah - Chapter Three

Genevah - Chapter Three

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Halacha 1

We have already explained in Hilchot Na'arah Betulah, that whenever a person violates a transgression that is punishable by both capital punishment and a financial penalty, he is not obligated to pay the financial penalty, even though he performed the act unintentionally.

When a person performs a transgression that is punishable by lashing and a financial penalty, he shall be lashed and is not required to pay the financial penalty. For a person should not receive both punishments: lashing and a financial penalty for the same deed. Therefore, if he performed the act unintentionally or he was not given a warning, he is required to pay and is not lashed.

When does the above apply? When the financial obligation and the transgression obligating capital punishment - or the financial obligation and the transgression punishable by lashing - came about at the same time. If, however, he became liable for a financial penalty and then became liable for capital punishment or lashing, or became liable for capital punishment or lashing and then became liable for a financial penalty, he shall be lashed and pay, or pay and be executed.

Halacha 2

What is implied? If he propelled an arrow on the Sabbath, from the beginning of a four-cubit space until the end of the four-cubit space, and it tore a garment belonging to a colleague as it proceeded, he set fire to a grain heap belonging to a colleague on the Sabbath, or he stole a wallet on the Sabbath and was dragging it along the ground until he removed it from the owner's domain - which was a private domain - to the public domain, and caused it to be destroyed there, he is not liable for the damages. The prohibition against labor on the Sabbath, and the prohibition against theft or damages take effect at the same time. Therefore, he is not liable.

If, however, he stole a wallet on the Sabbath and lifted it up in the private domain, and then took it out to the public domain and threw it into a river, he is liable to make a double payment. For he became liable for the theft before he violated the prohibition punishable by execution by stoning. The same laws apply in all similar situations.

Similarly, if a person cut down a tree belonging to a colleague on a festival, and a warning was issued, or he set fire to a grain heap belonging to a colleague on Yom Kippur and a warning was issued, or he stole and slaughtered an animal on Yom Kippur, he is not under any financial obligation. If, however, a warning was not issued to him, he is liable for payment, and with regard to the slaughter of a stolen animal must pay four or five times its worth.

Halacha 3

If a thief stole a sheep or a cow and slaughtered it on the Sabbath or as a sacrifice to a false deity, he is not liable to pay four or five times its worth, as explained above. This applies even when he performs the transgression unintentionally.

Halacha 4

If the cow had been lent to him and he slaughtered it on the Sabbath with the intent to steal it, he is not liable even for the double payment, for the violation of the prohibition against the laws of the Sabbath and the prohibition against theft came about simultaneously. For if there is no obligation for theft, there is no obligation for slaughter or for sale.

Halacha 5

When a person steals a sheep or a cow and sells it on the Sabbath or sells it to a pagan deity, he is obligated to pay four or five times its amount, for the sale itself does not cause one to incur the death penalty. If a forbidden labor was performed on the Sabbath at the time of the sale, the thief is not liable to pay four or five times its amount.

What is implied? For example, he agreed that the sale would not take effect until the animal comes to rest in the courtyard of the purchaser. Thus, when he took the animal from one domain to another domain, the prohibition against labor on the Sabbath and the sale take effect at the same time.

Halacha 6

When a thief appointed an agent to slaughter a stolen animal for him, and the agent slaughtered it for him on the Sabbath, the thief must pay four or five times the animal's worth. For the thief did not perform a transgression punishable by death, and as we have explained, a person who has an agent slaughter for him is liable for the additional payment.

Halacha 7

When two witnesses testify that a person stole a cow or a sheep, and then they themselves or two other witnesses testify that he slaughtered or sold the animal, the thief is liable to pay four or five times the animal's worth.

If two witnesses testify that the person stole a cow or a sheep and one witness testifies that he slaughtered or sold the stolen animal, or the thief admitted that he slaughtered or sold the stolen animal on his own initiative, the thief must pay double. He is not, however, liable to pay four or five times the animal's worth. The rationale is that a person who admits his liability for a fine is not liable for that penalty, as we have explained.

Halacha 8

The following rules apply when a person admits liability for a fine, and then afterwards witnesses come and testify to his liability. If he made his admission before a court while they were in session, he is not liable. If he made the admission when the court was not in session, or before two judges, and afterwards witnesses came and testified to his liability, he is liable to pay the fine because of their testimony.

Halacha 9

What is implied? A thief admitted that he stole to a court while it was in session, and afterwards witnesses came and testified that he stole. He is not liable for a double payment, because he obligated himself for the principal before the witnesses came.

If, however, he denied stealing in the presence of a court in this way, freeing himself of liability, and then witnesses came and testified that he stole a sheep or a cow, at which point he admitted in the presence of the court that he slaughtered or sold the stolen animal, and then witnesses came and testified that he slaughtered or sold the animal, he is liable to pay four or five times the animal's worth. The rationale is that first he denied the obligation entirely before witnesses came.

Halacha 10

The following rules apply when a thief steals an ox belonging to two partners and slaughters it or sells it, and makes an admission to one in the presence of a court, but denies his liability to the other. If witnesses come afterwards and testify that he stole or sold, he must pay the partner whose claim he denied five times half the value of the ox. If the same situation takes place with regard to the theft of a sheep, he must pay four times half the value of the sheep.

Halacha 11

The law requires a thief to pay the principal and to make the payment of double - or four or fives times - the value of the theft from his movable property. If he does not own movable property, the court assesses his possessions and expropriates the entire debt from the finest of his landed properties, as is the practice with regard to other damages, regarding which Exodus 22:4 states: "He shall pay from the best of his field."

If he owns neither landed property nor movable property, the court sells him as a servant and gives the money from his sale to the person from whom he stole, as ibid.:2 states: "If he has no resources, he shall be sold for his theft."

Halacha 12

A man, but not a woman, may be sold because of a theft. This law is part of the Oral Tradition.

A thief is sold only because of the principal, but not for the payment of twice or four or five times the amount of the theft. If he can repay the principal, the additional amount remains a debt incumbent on him until he acquires the resources.

Halacha 13

When a person steals from a gentile or steals consecrated property, he is not sold for the principal. Instead, it remains a debt incumbent on him until he acquires the resources.

Halacha 14

When the principal of a theft was worth 100 zuz and the thief could be sold for only 50 zuz, he shall be sold, and the remainder of the principal and the double payment is considered a debt incumbent on him until he attains his freedom in the seventh year, acquires the resources and pays.

If the thief was worth 101 zuz, he shall not be sold. This is derived from the above verse, which states: "He shall be sold for his theft." Implied is that his entire worth must be included in the money received for his theft.

Halacha 15

The following rules apply if a person stole and was sold for his theft, and then stole again. If he stole from another person, he shall be sold as a servant a second time. Even if he stole from a hundred people, he shall be sold a hundred times. If, however, he stole from the first person a second time, he shall not be sold a second time. Instead, the entire amount remains a debt incumbent on him.

Halacha 16

If a thief stole from three different people, they are all considered to be partners for his servitude. If the value of his work is equivalent to or less than the principal he owes the three, he is sold and they divide the proceeds of the sale. The double payments remain a debt incumbent on him until he acquires the resources. If his value exceeds the principal, he should not be sold. Instead, the entire amount remains a debt incumbent on him until he attains the resources.

Halacha 17

When partners commit a theft together, the liability is divided among them. Each of them can be sold for his portion of the principal. If the value of one of them is more than his share of the principal for which he is liable, he is not sold.

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