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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Genevah - Chapter Four, Genevah - Chapter Five, Genevah - Chapter Six

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Genevah - Chapter Four

1

When a watchman claims that an entrusted article was stolen from his home and takes an oath to this effect, and afterwards, witnesses come and testify that he made a false claim and that he is still in possession of the entrusted article, the watchman is required to pay twice the worth of the stolen article. For the watchman is himself a thief.

If he slaughtered or sold a stolen animal after he took the false oath, he must pay four or five times its worth. He is not required to bring a guilt offering for taking a false oath that was discredited by witnesses. Nor is he required to add a fifth of the value of the stolen article. For a fifth is never paid when a double payment is paid. If witnesses come before he takes an oath, he is required to pay only the principal.

א

הַטוֹעֵן שֶׁנִּגְנַב מִבֵּיתוֹ הַפִּקָּדוֹן אִם נִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁשֶּׁקֶר טָעַן וְשֶׁהַפִּקָּדוֹן הַזֶּה אֶצְלוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי כֶּפֶל שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא עַצְמוֹ הַגַּנָּב. וְאִם טָבַח וּמָכַר אַחַר שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע מְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשָּׁה. וְאֵינוֹ מֵבִיא אָשָׁם עַל פִּי עֵדִים עַל שְׁבוּעָתוֹ. וְאֵינוֹ מֵבִיא חֹמֶשׁ שֶׁאֵין הַחֹמֶשׁ מִשְׁתַּלֵּם עִם הַכֶּפֶל. וְאִם בָּאוּ עֵדִים קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע אֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם אֶלָּא הַקֶּרֶן בִּלְבַד:

2

When does the above apply? When he took an oath before he misappropriated the entrusted article. If, however, he misappropriated the entrusted article, claimed that it had been stolen, and took an oath to that effect, and then witnesses came and discredited his oath, he is not liable for the double payment. As soon as he misappropriated the article, he became liable for it and acquired responsibility for it.

ב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּשְׁלַח בַּפִּקָּדוֹן יָד. אֲבָל אִם שָׁלַח בּוֹ יָד וְטָעַן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבַּע וּבָאוּ עֵדִים פָּטוּר מִן הַכֶּפֶל שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁלַח יָד נִתְחַיֵּב בּוֹ וְקָנָהוּ:

3

Similarly, if the watchman claimed that the entrusted article was lost and took an oath to that effect, and then claimed it was stolen and took an oath to that effect, and then witnesses came and testified that it was in his possession, the watchman is not liable for the double payment. For at the time he took the first false oath, the entrusted article was no longer considered the property of the original owner.

ג

וְכֵן הַטּוֹעֵן טַעֲנַת אֲבֵדָה בְּפִקָּדוֹן וְנִשְׁבַּע וְחָזַר וְטָעַן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים פָּטוּר מִן הַכֶּפֶל שֶׁכְּבָר יָצָא הַפִּקָּדוֹן מִידֵי הַבְּעָלִים מִשְּׁבוּעָה רִאשׁוֹנָה:

4

When a person who discovered a lost article claims that it was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and afterwards, witnesses come and testify that the lost article was in his possession and that he made a false claim, he is required to pay twice the article's worth. This is implied by Exodus 22:8, which states that a double payment must be made for "any lost article."

The above applies when he claims that it was stolen by an armed thief, in which instance he would not be held liable. If, however, he claims that it was stolen in a manner that is not beyond his control, he is not liable for the double payment. For he would have been liable to pay for the lost article because of his claim, since a person caring for a lost article that he discovered is considered to be a paid watchman, as will be explained.

ד

הַטּוֹעֵן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב בָּאֲבֵדָה וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁהָאֲבֵדָה בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ וְשֶׁקֶר טָעַן מְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי כֶּפֶל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב ח) "עַל כָּל אֲבֵדָה". וְהוּא שֶׁיִּטְעֹן שֶׁנִּגְנְבָה בְּלִסְטִים מְזֻיָּן שֶׁהוּא אָנוּס וּפָטוּר. אֲבָל אִם טָעַן שֶׁנִּגְנְבָה בְּלֹא אֹנֶס פָּטוּר מִן הַכֶּפֶל מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם עַל פִּי טַעֲנָתוֹ שֶׁשּׁוֹמֵר אֲבֵדָה כְּשׁוֹמֵר שָׂכָר הוּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:

5

When a watchman claims that an entrusted article was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and then witnesses come and testify that the entrusted article is in his possession, and then he again claims that it was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and then witnesses again come and testify that the entrusted article is still in his possession - even if this sequence repeats itself 100 times - he is liable for a double payment for every claim.

Thus, if he took five false oaths, he is liable to pay six times the value of the entrusted article, the principal that was entrusted to him and five times its value, because of the five double payments that result from the five false oaths.

ה

הַטּוֹעֵן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב בְּפִקָּדוֹן וְנִשְׁבַּע. וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ. וְחָזַר וְטָעַן בּוֹ טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁעֲדַיִן בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ הוּא. אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה פְּעָמִים חַיָּב כֶּפֶל עַל כָּל טַעֲנָה וְטַעֲנָה. וְאִם נִשְׁבַּע חָמֵשׁ פְּעָמִים נִמְצָא מְשַׁלֵּם שִׁשָּׁה הַקֶּרֶן שֶׁהִפְקִיד אֶצְלוֹ וַחֲמִשָּׁה בְּקֶרֶן מִשּׁוּם חֲמִשָּׁה כְּפֵלוֹת שֶׁל חָמֵשׁ שְׁבוּעוֹת:

6

The following rules apply when a watchman claims that an entrusted article was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and then claims that the entrusted article was lost - and then witnesses come and testify that the article was not stolen, and the watchman admits that it was not lost. Since he must pay twice the value of the entrusted article because of the witnesses, he need not pay an additional fifth as a surcharge because of the other oath, although he admitted it to be false. The rationale is that since this involves the same principal for which he is required to make the double payment, he is not liable for the additional fifth.

ו

טָעַן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבַּע וְחָזַר וְטָעַן טַעֲנַת אֲבֵדָה וְנִשְׁבַּע. וּבָאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁלֹּא נִגְנַב וְהוֹדָה הוּא שֶׁלֹּא אָבַד הוֹאִיל וּמְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי כֶּפֶל עַל פִּי עֵדִים אֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם חֹמֶשׁ עַל שְׁבוּעָה אַחֲרוֹנָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוֹדָה. שֶׁהַמָּמוֹן הַמְחַיְּבוֹ בְּכֶפֶל פּוֹטְרוֹ מִן הַחֹמֶשׁ:

7

The following rules apply if a person entrusted his ox to two people, they claimed that it was stolen and took an oath to that effect, and afterwards one of them admitted that the oath was false, and then witnesses came and testified that the other one lied. They both must pay the principal. If the owner of the entrusted object seizes property belonging to the partner whose oath was refuted in lieu of the double payment for his share of the stolen article, it shall not be expropriated from him. The one who admitted taking the false oath must pay an additional fifth for his share of the stolen article, as must all who voluntarily admit taking false oaths regarding entrusted objects.

ז

מָסַר שׁוֹרוֹ לִשְׁנַיִם וְטָעֲנוּ טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבְּעוּ וְהוֹדָה אֶחָד מֵהֶם וְהַשֵּׁנִי בָּאוּ עָלָיו עֵדִים. שְׁנֵיהֶן מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַקֶּרֶן. וְאִם תָּפַשׂ בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן אֶת הַכֶּפֶל אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדוֹ. וְזֶה שֶׁהוּא מְשַׁלֵּם חֹמֶשׁ כִּשְׁאָר הַנִּשְׁבָּעִין שְׁבוּעַת הַפִּקָּדוֹן שֶׁהוֹדוּ מֵעַצְמָן:

8

These rules apply with regard to the obligations of a watchman and a thief in the following situations. The owner of an entrusted object demanded its return from an unpaid watchman. The watchman took an oath that the article was stolen.

Afterwards, the thief was discovered. The watchman filed a claim against the thief, who admitted stealing the entrusted article. Afterwards, the owner of the entrusted article filed a claim against the thief, and he denied stealing the entrusted article. Witnesses then came and testified that the thief stole the article.

If the watchman took a true oath when he claimed that the article was stolen, he is considered the agent of the owners, and the thief is freed from the responsibility for the double payment, because he admitted the theft to the watchman.

If the watchman took a false oath the question is unresolved. Therefore, the thief is not compelled to pay twice the value of the stolen article. If, however, the owner seizes property belonging to the thief in lieu of the double payment, it shall not be expropriated from him.

The owner demanded the return of the entrusted article from the watchman and he paid for the article, and then the thief was discovered. In such a case, the watchman acquires the right to the article and to the double payment. The owner filed a claim against the thief, who admitted stealing the entrusted article. Afterwards, the watchman filed a claim against the thief, and he denied stealing the entrusted article. Witnesses then came and testified that the thief stole the article.

The thief is not compelled to pay twice the value of the stolen article. If, however, the watchman seizes property belonging to the thief in lieu of the double payment, it shall not be expropriated from him.

Similar laws apply with regard to the payment of four or five times the value of a stolen sheep or cow if the thief sold or slaughtered it.

ח

בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן שֶׁתָּבַע אֶת הַשּׁוֹמֵר וְנִשְׁבַּע שֶׁנִּגְנַב וְאַחַר כָּךְ הֻכַּר הַגַּנָּב וְתָבַע הַשּׁוֹמֵר אֶת הַגַּנָּב וְהוֹדָה לוֹ הַגַּנָּב שֶׁגָּנַב וְתָבַע בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן אֶת הַגַּנָּב וְכָפַר וּבָאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁגָּנַב. אִם בֶּאֱמֶת נִשְׁבַּע הַשּׁוֹמֵר כְּשֶׁטָּעַן שֶׁנִּגְנַב נִפְטַר הַגַּנָּב מִן הַכֶּפֶל בְּהוֹדָאָתוֹ לַשּׁוֹמֵר. וְאִם בְּשֶׁקֶר נִשְׁבַּע אֵין מוֹצִיאִין הַכֶּפֶל מִן הַגַּנָּב. וְאִם תָּפְשׂוּ הַבְּעָלִים הַכֶּפֶל אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדָן. תָּבְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים אֶת הַשּׁוֹמֵר וְשִׁלֵּם וְאַחַר כָּךְ הֻכַּר הַגַּנָּב וּתְבָעוּהוּ הַבְּעָלִים וְהוֹדָה לָהֶן שֶׁגָּנַב וְאַחַר כָּךְ תְּבָעוֹ הַשּׁוֹמֵר וְכָפַר בּוֹ וּבָאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁגָּנַב אֵין מוֹצִיאִין הַכֶּפֶל מִן הַגַּנָּב וְאִם תָּפַשׂ הַשּׁוֹמֵר אֶת הַכֶּפֶל אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדוֹ וְכֵן הַדִּין בְּתַשְׁלוּמֵי אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשָּׁה אִם טָבַח הַגַּנָּב אוֹ מָכַר:

9

When a watchman claims that an article entrusted to him by a minor was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and afterwards witnesses come and testify that the entrusted article is still in his possession, he is not liable. This applies even if the owner entrusted the article to the watchman when the owner was a minor and demanded its return after he attained majority.

This is derived from Exodus 22:6, which states: "When a man will give his colleague... articles to watch...." A child's entrusting of an article is of no consequence. Instead, he must be past majority both when he entrusts the article and when he demands its return.

ט

הַטּוֹעֵן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב בְּפִקָּדוֹן שֶׁל קָטָן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא קָטָן וּתְבָעוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא גָּדוֹל וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר מִן הַכֶּפֶל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב ו) "כִּי יִתֵּן אִישׁ" וְאֵין נְתִינַת קָטָן כְּלוּם וְצָרִיךְ שֶׁתִּהְיֶה נְתִינָה וּתְבִיעָה שָׁוִין בַּגָּדוֹל:

10

When a watchman steals an article entrusted to him from his own domain - e.g., he stole a lamb from a flock entrusted to him or a sela from a wallet entrusted to him - if witnesses testify regarding the theft, he is liable for twice the amount of the article.

The above applies even if he returned the sela to its place, and the lamb to the herd. For he remains responsible for them until he notifies the owner, since with his theft of the article his responsibility as a watchman is concluded. Thus, it is as if he had not returned anything until he notifies the owner.

Slightly different rules apply if a person steals a sela from a wallet belonging to a colleague, or a utensil from his home and then returns the utensil or the sela to its place. If the owner knew of the theft, but did not know of its return, the thief is still responsible for the article until his colleague counts his money.

י

שׁוֹמֵר שֶׁגָּנַב מֵרְשׁוּתוֹ כְּגוֹן שֶׁגָּנַב טָלֶה מֵעֵדֶר שֶׁהֻפְקַד אֶצְלוֹ וְסֶלַע מִכִּיס שֶׁהֻפְקַד אֶצְלוֹ. אִם יֵשׁ עָלָיו עֵדִים חַיָּב בְּכֶפֶל. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֶחְזִיר הַסֶּלַע לִמְקוֹמוֹ וְהַטָּלֶה לְעֶדְרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן עַד שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ הַבְּעָלִים. שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּלְתָה שְׁמִירָתוֹ וּכְאִלּוּ לֹא הֶחְזִיר כְּלוּם עַד שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ בְּעָלָיו. אֲבָל הַגּוֹנֵב סֶלַע מִכִּיס חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ כְּלִי מִבֵּיתוֹ וְהֶחְזִיר דָּבָר הַגָּנוּב מִבֵּיתוֹ לִמְקוֹמוֹ אִם יָדְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים בִּגְנֵבָתוֹ וְלֹא יָדְעוּ בַּחֲזִירָתוֹ עֲדַיִן הַגַּנָּב חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּמְנֶה אֶת מְעוֹתָיו:

11

When the owner counts his wallet and discovers the full amount, the thief is no longer liable. Moreover, if the owner did not know that the article was either taken or returned, it is not even necessary for the owner to count his money. As soon as the thief returned the money to its place, he is no longer responsible for it.

יא

מָנָה אֶת כִּיסוֹ וּמְצָאוֹ שָׁלֵם הַמִּנְיָן פָּטוּר. וְאִם לֹא יָדְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים לֹא בִּגְנֵבָתוֹ וְלֹא בַּחֲזִירָתוֹ אֲפִלּוּ מִנְיָן אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ אֶלָּא כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֶחֱזִירוֹ לִמְקוֹמוֹ נִפְטַר מֵאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ:

12

When does the above apply? With regard to an article that is not alive. When, however, a thief steals a lamb from a colleague's herd, the owner discovers the theft, the thief then returns it to the herd without informing the owner, and afterwards, the lamb dies or is stolen, the first thief is still liable. If, however, the owner counted his sheep, and the herd was complete,the thief is no longer liable.

If the owner did not know that the lamb was stolen or returned, the thief is liable until he informs the owner, so that he will pay more attention to the stolen lamb. This is necessary, because the thief taught it a way other than that followed by the other sheep in this herd.

יב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּדָבָר שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ רוּחַ חַיִּים. אֲבָל הַגּוֹנֵב טָלֶה מֵעֵדֶר חֲבֵרוֹ וְיָדְעוּ בּוֹ הַבְּעָלִים וְהֶחֱזִירוֹ לָעֵדֶר שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת הַבְּעָלִים וּמֵת אוֹ נִגְנַב חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ. וְאִם מָנוּ אֶת הַצֹּאן וְהִיא שְׁלֵמָה פָּטוּר. וְאִם לֹא יָדְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים לֹא בִּגְנֵבָתוֹ וְלֹא בַּחֲזִירָתוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמָּנוּ אֶת הַצֹּאן וְהִיא שְׁלֵמָה חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ עַד שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ אֶת הַבְּעָלִים כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּשְׁמְרוּ אֶת הַטָּלֶה הַגָּנוּב שֶׁהֲרֵי לִמְדוֹ דֶּרֶךְ אַחֶרֶת חוּץ מִדֶּרֶךְ שְׁאָר הַצֹּאן שֶׁבְּעֵדֶר זֶה:

Genevah - Chapter Five

1

It is forbidden to buy a stolen article from a thief. This is a severe sin, for it reinforces a transgressor and motivates him to steal in the future. For if he did not find a person who would purchase a stolen article from him, he would not steal. With reference to this, Proverbs 29:24 states: "A person who shares profits with a thief hates his own soul."

א

אָסוּר לִקְנוֹת מִן הַגַּנָּב הַחֵפֶץ שֶׁגָּנַב. וְעָוֹן גָּדוֹל הוּא שֶׁהֲרֵי מַחֲזִיק יְדֵי עוֹבְרֵי עֲבֵרָה וְגוֹרֵם לוֹ לִגְנֹב גְּנֵבוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת שֶׁאִם לֹא יִמְצָא לוֹקֵחַ אֵינוֹ גּוֹנֵב וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר (משלי כט כד) "חוֹלֵק עִם גַּנָּב שׂוֹנֵא נַפְשׁוֹ":

2

When a thief steals and sells the stolen article before the owner despairs of its return, the thief is discovered, and witnesses come and testify that so and so stole this particular article in their presence, the stolen article shall be returned to its owner. The owner must reimburse the purchaser for the money that he paid the thief. This measure was ordained to enable uninhibited trade in the marketplace. The owner then sues the thief for the money he paid.

If the thief's reputation was known, our Sages did not ordain any leniency. The owner is not required to pay the purchaser anything, and instead, the purchaser must sue the thief and collect the money he paid from him.

ב

הַגּוֹנֵב וּמָכַר וְלֹא נִתְיָאֲשׁוּ הַבְּעָלִים וְאַחַר כָּךְ הֻכַּר הַגַּנָּב וּבָאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁזֶּה הַחֵפֶץ שֶׁמְּכָרוֹ פְּלוֹנִי זֶה הוּא גְּנָבוֹ בְּפָנֵינוּ. חוֹזֵר הַחֵפֶץ לִבְעָלָיו וְהַבְּעָלִים נוֹתְנִין לַלּוֹקֵחַ דָּמִים שֶׁשָּׁקַל לַגַּנָּב מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת הַשּׁוּק. וְהַבְּעָלִים חוֹזְרִין וְעוֹשִׂים דִּין עִם הַגַּנָּב. וְאִם גָּנַב מְפֻרְסָם הוּא לֹא עָשׂוּ בּוֹ תַּקָּנַת הַשּׁוּק וְאֵין הַבְּעָלִים נוֹתְנִין לַלּוֹקֵחַ כְּלוּם אֶלָּא חוֹזֵר הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְעוֹשֶׂה דִּין עִם הַגַּנָּב וּמוֹצִיא מִמֶּנּוּ דָּמִים שֶּׁשָּׁקַל לוֹ:

3

Different laws apply when the owner despairs of the article's return, regardless of whether he despairs before the thief sold the article or afterwards. The purchaser acquires the article because of the owner's despair and the transfer from one domain to another. He is not required to return the article itself; instead, he must reimburse the owner if he purchased the article from a thief whose reputation was well known.

If the thief was not known to steal, the purchaser is neither required to give the owner the article, nor to reimburse him. This was ordained to enable uninhibited trade in the marketplace.

ג

נִתְיָאֲשׁוּ הַבְּעָלִים מִן הַגְּנֵבָה בֵּין שֶׁנִּתְיָאֲשׁוּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ מָכַר הַגַּנָּב בֵּין שֶׁנִּתְיָאֲשׁוּ אַחַר שֶׁמָּכַר. קָנָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ בְּיֵאוּשׁ וְשִׁנּוּי רְשׁוּת וְאֵינוֹ מַחְזִיר הַגְּנֵבָה עַצְמָהּ לִבְעָלֶיהָ אֶלָּא נוֹתֵן לָהֶם הַדָּמִים אִם לָקַח מִגַּנָּב מְפֻרְסָם. אוֹ אֵינוֹ נוֹתֵן כְּלָל לֹא חֵפֶץ וְלֹא דָּמִים מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת הַשּׁוּק אִם לֹא הָיָה זֶה הַמּוֹכֵר גַּנָּב מְפֻרְסָם:

4

The following rule applies when the purchaser sues the original owner for the return of the money he spent. If there are no witnesses who can testify regarding the price, the trader must take an oath while holding a sacred article, stating the price he paid. He then collects this sum from the original owner.

Whenever a person takes an oath before he collects, the oath is a Rabbinical ordinance. He must take the oath while holding a sacred article, as will be explained in the appropriate place.

ד

בִּזְמַן שֶׁהַלּוֹקֵחַ עוֹשֶׂה דִּין עִם בַּעַל הַבַּיִת. אִם אֵין עֵדִים בְּכַמָּה לָקַח הֲרֵי הַתַּגָּר נִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ בְּכַמָּה לָקַח וְנוֹטֵל מִן הַבְּעָלִים. וְכָל הַנִּשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל שְׁבוּעָתוֹ מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם וְנִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ:

5

If, when the purchaser sues the thief for the return of his money, the thief claims that he received a lesser sum, the trader must take an oath while holding a sacred article. He may then collect this sum from the thief. He is required to take the oath because the thief is not given the option of taking the oath, since we suspect that he will take a false oath].

ה

בִּזְמַן שֶׁהַלּוֹקֵחַ עוֹשֶׂה דִּין עִם הַגַּנָּב וְהוּא אוֹמֵר בְּכָךְ וְכָךְ לָקַחְתִּי מִמְּךָ וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לֹא מָכַרְתִּי לְךָ אֶלָּא בְּפָחוֹת מִזֶּה. הַתַּגָּר נִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ וְנוֹטֵל מִן הַגַּנָּב. שֶׁאֵין הַגַּנָּב יָכוֹל לִשָּׁבַע מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא חָשׁוּד עַל הַשְּׁבוּעָה:

6

If a thief stole and gave the stolen article as payment for a loan or as payment for a debt owed a merchant, our Sages did not ordain any leniency to encourage trading. Instead, the owner of the article shall take his article back from the thief's creditor without paying him, and the thief remains responsible for the debt as before.

When the stolen article was given as surety for a loan, regardless of whether the loan was given for more or less than the worth of the article, the original owner shall pay the person holding the surety and then sue the thief for the money, unless the reputation of the thief was public knowledge, as explained above.

ו

גָּנַב וּפָרַע בְּחוֹבוֹ גָּנַב וּפָרַע בְּהֶקֵּפוֹ אֵין בָּזֶה תַּקָּנַת הַשּׁוּק אֶלָּא הַבְּעָלִים נוֹטְלִים הַגְּנֵבָה בְּלֹא דָּמִים וְיִשָּׁאֵר חוֹב אֵלּוּ עַל הַגַּנָּב כְּשֶׁהָיָה. מִשְׁכֵּן הַגְּנֵבָה בֵּין שֶׁמִּשְׁכְּנָהּ בְּיֶתֶר עַל דָּמֶיהָ אוֹ בְּפָחוֹת מִדָּמֶיהָ הַבְּעָלִים נוֹתְנִין לְבַעַל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן וְחוֹזְרִין וְעוֹשִׂין דִּין עִם הַגַּנָּב אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה הַגַּנָּב מְפֻרְסָם כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

7

When a person purchased a stolen article from a thief whose reputation is not public knowledge, he is entitled to collect the amount he paid from the original owner. Only then must he return the stolen article.

This applies regardless of whether he paid 100 zuz for an article worth 200, or 200 zuz for an article worth 100. Our Sages ordained this rule to allow for uninhibited trade, as explained above.

ז

הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִגַּנָּב שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְפֻרְסָם בֵּין שֶׁלָּקַח מִמֶּנּוּ שְׁוֵה מֵאָה בְּמָאתַיִם אוֹ שְׁוֵה מָאתַיִם בְּמֵאָה הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹטֵל הַדָּמִים מִבַּעַל הַבַּיִת וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַחְזִיר הַגְּנֵבָה מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת הַשּׁוּק כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

8

The original owner is not required to reimburse the recipient of the stolen article in the following situation. A person was owed 100 zuz by a thief. The thief stole an article and gave it to his creditor, who gave the thief another 100 zuz. The stolen article must be returned to its original owner, and we tell the creditor: "Demand payment for 200 zuz from the thief. For you did not give him the second hundred only because of the article that he gave you. Just as you trusted him with regard to the first hundred, so too, you trusted him with regard to the second."

ח

הָיָה נוֹשֶׁה בְּגַנָּב מֵאָה זוּז וְגָנַב וְהֵבִיא לְבַעַל חוֹבוֹ וְנָתַן לוֹ מֵאָה אַחֶרֶת הֲרֵי הַגְּנֵבָה חוֹזֶרֶת לִבְעָלֶיהָ וְאוֹמְרִין לָזֶה לֵךְ וּתְבַע הַגַּנָּב בְּמָאתַיִם שֶׁלֹּא נָתַתָּ לוֹ הַמֵּאָה הָאַחֶרֶת מִפְּנֵי הַחֵפֶץ שֶׁהֵבִיא לְךָ בִּלְבַד כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהֶאֱמַנְתּוֹ בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה הֶאֱמַנְתּוֹ בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה:

9

Torah law does not allow profit to be made from the sale of a stolen article. For example, if a person purchased a stolen article from a thief whose reputation was not public knowledge, for 100 zuz and sold it to a colleague for 120, and afterwards the thief was apprehended, the original owner must pay the second purchaser 120 zuz. He then may take his article. Afterwards, he shall be reimbursed for 20 zuz by the seller and then collect 100 zuz from the thief.

If the reputation of the thief was public knowledge, the original owner shall pay the second purchaser 120 zuz and collect that amount from the trader who purchased the article from the thief. The trader shall then collect the principal, 100 zuz, from the thief.

The same principles apply if the second purchaser sold the stolen article to a third, or the third to a fourth. Even if the stolen article changed hands one hundred times. The final purchaser is reimbursed completely by the owner, who takes the profit from each of the middle men and collects the principal from the thief. All of this applies before the owner despaired of the return of the stolen article, as we have explained.

ט

לָקַח מִגַּנָּב שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְפֻרְסָם בְּמֵאָה וּמָכַר לְאַחֵר בְּמֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים וְהֻכַּר הַגַּנָּב. בַּעַל הַגְּנֵבָה נוֹתֵן לְזֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים וְנוֹטֵל גְּנֵבָתוֹ וְחוֹזֵר הַבַּעַל וְנוֹטֵל עֶשְׂרִים שֶׁל שָׂכָר מִן הַמּוֹכֵר וְנוֹטֵל הַמֵּאָה מִן הַגַּנָּב. וְאִם גַּנָּב מְפֻרְסָם הוּא נוֹטֵל הַמֵּאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים מִן הַתַּגָּר שֶׁלָּקַח מִן הַגַּנָּב וְהוֹלֵךְ הַתַּגָּר וְתוֹבֵעַ הַגַּנָּב בְּמֵאָה שֶׁל קֶרֶן. וְהוּא הַדִּין אִם מָכַר הַשֵּׁנִי לִשְׁלִישִׁי וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁי לִרְבִיעִי אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה שֶׁהוּא נוֹטֵל מִכָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מַה שֶּׁנִּשְׂכַּר וְנוֹטֵל הַקֶּרֶן מִן הַגַּנָּב. וְכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ לִפְנֵי יֵאוּשׁ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

10

The following rules apply when there is a report that goods belonging to a person who was not known to sell his personal property were stolen, and that person recognizes his utensils and books in the possession of another person. They also apply when the person would frequently sell his personal property, but the utensils he recognized as his own were utensils that are made to lend or to rent out.

If witnesses come and testify that these utensils belong to the said individual, the person in possession of the utensils shall take an oath, stating the price he paid for the utensils, and collect this sum from the the owner and then return them to him.

י

בַּעַל הַבַּיִת שֶׁאֵינוֹ עָשׂוּי לִמְכֹּר אֶת כֵּלָיו וְיָצָא לוֹ שֵׁם גְּנֵבָה בָּעִיר וְהִכִּיר כֵּלָיו וּסְפָרָיו בְּיַד אֲחֵרִים. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה עָשׂוּי לִמְכֹּר וְהָיוּ כֵּלִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁהִכִּיר מִכֵּלִים הָעֲשׂוּיִין לְהַשְׁאִיל וּלְהַשְׂכִּיר. אִם בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁזֶּה כֵּלָיו שֶׁל זֶה יִשָּׁבַע זֶה שֶׁהֵן בְּיָדוֹ בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ בְּכַמָּה לָקַח וְיִטּל מִבַּעַל הַבַּיִת וְיַחְזִיר לוֹ כֵּלָיו:

11

Different rules apply if the owner of the house would frequently sell his personal property, and the objects in question were not utensils that are made to lend or to rent out. In such an instance, even if there is a report that his property was stolen, the original owner is not entitled to claim it back from the purchasers, for it is possible that he sold it to others.

The house-owner's word is, however, accepted in the following situation. People came and lodged in his home. At night, he arose and called out: "My utensils and my scrolls have been stolen." His neighbors found a tunnel dug from his home and saw the people who lodged in his home leaving, carrying bundles of utensils on their shoulders. The thieves were not apprehended, but afterwards, the house-owner claimed to have discovered the stolen articles in the possession of another person, and everyone agreed, saying: "These are the house-owner's utensils and scrolls."

Under such circumstances, the house-owner's claim is accepted. The person in possession of the articles shall take an oath, stating the price he paid for the articles, and collect this sum from the house-owner and then return them to him.

יא

הָיָה בַּעַל הַבַּיִת עָשׂוּי לִמְכֹּר אֶת כֵּלָיו וְלֹא הָיוּ מִדְּבָרִים הָעֲשׂוּיִין לְהַשְׁאִיל וּלְהַשְׂכִּיר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיָּצָא לוֹ שֵׁם גְּנֵבָה בָּעִיר וְהֻכְּרוּ כֵּלָיו אֵינוֹ מַחֲזִירָן מִיַּד הַלָּקוֹחוֹת שֶׁמָּא הוּא מְכָרָן לַאֲחֵרִים. אֲבָל אִם בָּאוּ בְּנֵי אָדָם וְלָנוּ בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ וְעָמַד וְזָעַק בַּלַּיְלָה נִגְנְבוּ כֵּלַי וּסְפָרַי וּבָאוּ בְּנֵי אָדָם וּמָצְאוּ מַחְתֶּרֶת חֲתוּרָה וּבְנֵי אָדָם שֶׁלָּנוּ בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ יוֹצְאִין וּצְרוֹרוֹת שֶׁל כֵּלִים עַל כִּתְפֵיהֶם וְהַכּל אוֹמְרִים הַלָּלוּ כֵּלָיו וּסְפָרָיו שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי הֲרֵי זֶה נֶאֱמָן. וְיִשָּׁבַע זֶה שֶׁהַכֵּלִים בְּיָדוֹ בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ כַּמָּה הוֹצִיא וְיִטּל מִבַּעַל הַגְּנֵבָה וְיַחְזִיר לוֹ כֵּלָיו:

12

If a person whose reputation as a thief is public knowledge entered a person's house, and witnesses testify that he left with utensils hidden under his cloak, his word is not accepted even though the house-owner was present. Although the thief claims to have purchased the articles, since the house-owner claims that they were stolen, the house-owner's claim is accepted, provided he was not known to sell his personal property, the articles in question are not generally carried hidden, and the person in possession of the articles does not ordinarily carry them under his cloak. The house-owner must take an oath while holding a sacred article that they are his. He then may take his property.

If the person in possession of the articles is not known to be a thief, the house-owner's word is not accepted. Instead, the person in possession of the articles must take a Rabbinic oath that he purchased the articles. He may then depart.

יב

גָּנַב שֶׁהֻחְזַק וְנִתְפַּרְסֵם שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְתוֹךְ בֵּית חֲבֵרוֹ וְעֵדִים מְעִידִים שֶׁיָּצָא וְכֵלִים טְמוּנִים לוֹ תַּחַת כְּנָפָיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיָה שָׁם בַּעַל הַבַּיִת וְטָעַן וְאָמַר לְקוּחִין הֵן בְּיָדִי וּבַעַל הַבַּיִת אוֹמֵר גְּנוּבִים הֵם. אִם הָיָה בַּעַל הַבַּיִת שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכּוֹ לִמְכֹּר אֶת כֵּלָיו וְאוֹתָם כֵּלִים אֵין דֶּרֶךְ בְּנֵי אָדָם לְהַטְמִינָן וְאֵין דֶּרֶךְ אוֹתוֹ הַמֻּחְזָק לְהַצְנִיעַ כֵּלָיו תַּחַת כְּנָפָיו. הֲרֵי בַּעַל הַבַּיִת נֶאֱמָן וְיִשָּׁבַע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ וְנוֹטֵל כֵּלָיו. וְאִם אֵין אָדָם זֶה מֻחְזָק בִּגְנֵבָה אֵין בַּעַל הַבַּיִת נֶאֱמָן אֶלָּא נִשְׁבָּע זֶה שֶׁהַכֵּלִים בְּיָדוֹ שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת שֶׁהַכֵּלִים הָאֵלּוּ לְקוּחִים בְּיָדוֹ וְהוֹלֵךְ:

Genevah - Chapter Six

1

Whenever the prevailing assumption is that an article is stolen, one is forbidden to purchase it. Similarly, if the majority of a particular substance is stolen, one is forbidden to purchase it. Therefore, one should not purchase wool, milk or kids from shepherds. This applies within a settled community. In the desert, by contrast, one may purchase milk and cheese from them.

Similarly, one may purchase four sheep or the shearing of four sheep from the shepherd of a small herd, or five from the shepherd of a large herd, for we do not presume that an amount of this size is stolen.

א

כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁחֶזְקָתוֹ שֶׁהוּא גָּנוּב אָסוּר לִקַּח אוֹתוֹ. וְכֵן אִם רֹב אוֹתוֹ הַדָּבָר שֶׁהוּא גָּנוּב אֵין לוֹקְחִין אוֹתוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין לוֹקְחִים מִן הָרוֹעִים צֶמֶר אוֹ חָלָב אוֹ גְּדָיִים. אֲבָל לוֹקְחִין מֵהֶן חָלָב וּגְבִינָה בַּמִּדְבָּר אֲבָל לֹא בַּיִּשּׁוּב. וּמֻתָּר לִקַּח מִן הָרוֹעִים אַרְבַּע צֹאן אוֹ אַרְבַּע גִּזּוֹת שֶׁל צֶמֶר מֵעֵדֶר קָטָן אוֹ חָמֵשׁ מֵעֵדֶר גָּדוֹל. שֶׁאֵין חֶזְקָתוֹ שֶׁהוּא גָּנוּב בְּדָבָר זֶה:

2

To state the general principle: Whenever a shepherd sells an article that would be noticed by the owner, it may be purchased from the shepherd. If the owner would not notice it, it is assumed to be stolen and may not be purchased from the shepherd.

ב

כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר כָּל שֶׁהָרוֹעֶה מוֹכְרוֹ אִם הָיָה בַּעַל הַבַּיִת מַרְגִּישׁ בּוֹ מֻתָּר לְלָקְחוֹ מִן הָרוֹעֶה. וְאִם אֵין בַּעַל הַבַּיִת מַרְגִּישׁ בּוֹ אָסוּר לְלָקְחוֹ:

3

We may not purchase wood or produce from the watchmen of produce unless they sit openly and sell with baskets of produce and scales in front of them. In such an instance, the matter is overt and will be spoken about; therefore, we can conclude that theft is not involved.

We may purchase from the entrance to a garden, but not from its rear. And whenever a seller says: "Hide the goods," it is forbidden to purchase from him.

One may purchase from a sharecropper, for he has a share in the produce and the wood.

ג

אֵין לוֹקְחִין מִשּׁוֹמְרֵי פֵּרוֹת עֵצִים אוֹ פֵּרוֹת אֶלָּא בִּזְמַן שֶׁהֵן יוֹשְׁבִין וּמוֹכְרִים וְהַסַּלִּים וְהַפֶּלֶס לִפְנֵיהֶם. שֶׁהֲרֵי הַדָּבָר גָּלוּי וְיֵשׁ לוֹ קוֹל וְאֵין זֶה גְּנֵבָה. וְלוֹקְחִין מִפֶּתַח הַגִּנָּה אֲבָל לֹא מֵאֲחוֹרֵי הַגִּנָּה. וְכֻלָּן שֶׁאָמְרוּ הַטְמֵן אָסוּר לָקַחַת מֵהֶן. וּמֻתָּר לָקַחַת מִן הָאָרִיס שֶׁהֲרֵי יֵשׁ לוֹ חֵלֶק בַּפֵּרוֹת וּבָעֵצִים:

4

We should not purchase articles from married women, servants or minors unless the prevailing assumption is that they were granted these articles by their owner; for example, women who sell linen garments in the Galilee or calves in the Sharon. In all instances, if they say "Hide the goods," it is forbidden to purchase from them, for we assume that the goods were stolen.

We may purchase eggs or roosters anywhere, from any person. If, however, one says "Hide what was sold," it is forbidden.

ד

אֵין לוֹקְחִין מִן הַנָּשִׁים וּמִן הָעֲבָדִים וּמִן הַקְּטַנִּים אֶלָּא דְּבָרִים שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן שֶׁהֵן שֶׁלָּהֶן מִדַּעַת הַבְּעָלִים. כְּגוֹן נָשִׁים שֶׁמָּכְרוּ כְּלֵי פִּשְׁתָּן בַּגָּלִיל אוֹ עֲגָלִים בַּשָּׁרוֹן. וְכֻלָּן שֶׁאָמְרוּ הַטְמֵן אָסוּר לִקַּח מֵהֶן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן בְּחֶזְקַת גְּנֵבָה. וְלוֹקְחִים בֵּיצִים וְתַרְנְגוֹלִים בְּכָל מָקוֹם מִכָּל אָדָם. וְאִם אָמַר הַטְמֵן אָסוּר:

5

One may purchase a large measure of olives or oil from an owner of an olive press. One may not, however, purchase a small amount of olives or oil, for the prevailing assumption is that these would be stolen goods. Similar laws apply in other like situations.

ה

לוֹקְחִין מִן הַבַּדָּדִין זֵיתִים בְּמִדָּה וְשֶׁמֶן בְּמִדָּה אֲבָל לֹא זֵיתִים מוּעָטִים וְלֹא שֶׁמֶן מוּעָט שֶׁחֶזְקָתוֹ גְּנֵבָה הֵם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶם:

6

A launderer of a new woolen garment is entitled to the fluff that he removes. The strands that the comber removes, by contrast, belong to the owner of the wool.

The launderer may take three strands. Anything more belongs to the owner of the garment. If the additional strands were black against a white garment, the launderer may take all of them.

ו

מוֹכִין שֶׁהַכּוֹבֵס מוֹצִיא הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ וְשֶׁהַסּוֹרֵק מוֹצִיא הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת. הַכּוֹבֵס נוֹטֵל שְׁלֹשָׁה חוּטִין וְהֵן שֶׁלּוֹ יֶתֶר מִכֵּן שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת. אִם הָיָה שָׁחוֹר עַל גַּבֵּי לָבָן נוֹטֵל אֶת הַכּל וְהֵם שֶׁלּוֹ:

7

When a tailor leaves more thread than necessary to sew with a needle, and a piece of cloth that is more than three fingerbreadths by three fingerbreadths, he is obligated to return it to the owner. Anything less than that, he may keep as his own.

ז

הַחַיָּט שֶׁשִּׁיֵּר מִן הַחוּט כְּדֵי מְשִׁיכַת מַחַט וְשִׁיֵּר מִן הַבֶּגֶד מַטְלִית שֶׁהִיא שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת עַל שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת חַיָּב לְהַחְזִירָן לַבְּעָלִים. פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן שֶׁלּוֹ:

8

A carpenter may keep the shavings of wood that he produces with a plane. The chips he produces with a hatchet, by contrast, belong to the owner. If he is working for the owner as a hired hand, even the shavings belong to the owner.

With regard to all these matters, the prevailing local custom is followed.

ח

נְסֹרֶת שֶׁהֶחָרָשׁ מוֹצִיא. בְּמַעֲצָד שֶׁלּוֹ. בְּכַשִּׁיל שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת. וְאִם הָיָה עוֹשֶׂה אֵצֶל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת אַף הַנְּסֹרֶת שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת. וְכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הוֹלְכִין בָּהֶן אַחַר מִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה:

9

Whenever a craftsman sells items to which he is not entitled according to the local practice - e.g., strands of fluff sold by a comber where it is customary that they are returned to the owner - it is forbidden to purchase from him, for we assume that they are stolen. If, however, he sells a pillow filled with wool, one may purchase it from him.

If a craftsman sells articles to which he is entitled according to the local practice, it is permitted to purchase them from him. If, however, he says, "Hide it," purchase is forbidden.

ט

כָּל אֻמָּן שֶׁמָּכַר דָּבָר מִן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ כְּהִלְכוֹת הַמְּדִינָה. כְּגוֹן מוֹכִין שֶׁמְּכָרָן הַסּוֹרֵק בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת. אָסוּר לִקַּח מִמֶּנּוּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן בְּחֶזְקַת גְּנֵבָה. אֲבָל לוֹקְחִין מִמֶּנּוּ כַּר מָלֵא מוֹכִין. וְאִם מָכַר הָאֻמָּן דְּבָרִים שֶׁהֵן שֶׁלּוֹ כְּהִלְכוֹת מְדִינָה לוֹקְחִין מִמֶּנּוּ. וְאִם אָמַר הַטְמֵן אָסוּר:

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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