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Daily Mitzvah

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
Not only the tribe of Levi, but any man of all the inhabitants of the earth, whose spirit has moved him and whose mind has given him to understand to set himself aside to stand before G-d to serve Him, to worship Him, to know G-d and walk justly as G-d has created him, and he cast from his neck the yoke of the many calculations that men seek -- this man has become sanctified, a holy of holies, and G-d shall be his portion and his lot forever, and shall grant him his needs in this world, as He has granted the Kohanim and the Levites.
  –Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Shemittah and Jubilee Cycles, 13:13
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