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Genevah - Chapter Six

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Genevah - Chapter Six


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.


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:


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.


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


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.


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:


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.


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:


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.


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


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.


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:


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.


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


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.


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:


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.


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 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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