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Daily Mitzvah (Rambam)

Day 254: Positive Commandment 194

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Positive Commandment 194 (Digest)
Returning a Stolen Item

"He shall return that which he stole"Leviticus 5:23.

It is a mitzvah for a thief to return stolen property to its owner. (If the thief denied his crime and falsely swears as to his innocence, he is required to repay the principal plus 25%.)

The obligation to return the actual stolen item only applies if the object has not been substantially altered. If it has, then the thief must make restitution by giving the owner the monetary value of the stolen object.

Translation of (the unabridged text of) Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, member of the Rabbinical Court of Montreal and director of Teacher Training for the Jewish Learning Institute.

From "Sefer Hamitzvot in English," published by Sichos in English.
Daily Quote
For this mitzvah which I command you this day, it is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who shall cross the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it?" For the thing is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.
  –Deuteronomy 30:11-14
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