Gezel Hagoiy-Stealing from a Gentile-Part 1

Gezel Hagoiy-Stealing from a Gentile:[1]

A. The general law:

It is Biblically forbidden to steal anything even from a Gentile.[2] It is forbidden to steal even less than a Peruta’s worth.[3] This applies whether the Gentile is a child or an adult.[4] This applies even if the Gentile has caused pain to the Jew (which did not incur any monetary loss).[5] [This applies even if the Gentile is an idol worshiper.[6] Furthermore, from a certain perspective stealing from a Gentile is even more severe than stealing from a Jew, as by doing so one also performs a Chilul Hashem, desecrates God’s name before the Gentiles.[7] The Kabbalists state that whoever steals from a Gentile causes the angelic minister of the Gentiles to steal from Holiness and bring it to the side of evil.[8]]

Coming up in parts 2 and onwards:

  1. Cheating a Gentile in business:
  2. Not repaying a gentile for a loan or service [i.e. employee, rent]:
  3. Recollecting a paid loan:
  4. Returning a lost object to a gentile:


[1] See Admur Hilchos Gezeila Ugeneiva Halacha 1, 4; Hilchos Onah Halacha 11-12; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Gezel Hagoy

[2] Admur ibid Halacha 1 and 4 and 23 and Hilchos Metzia Upikadon 38; Michaber C.M. 348:2 [Geneiva]; 359:1 [Gezeila]; Tur 348 and 359; Rambam Gezeila Veaveida 1:1-2; Geneiva 1:1-2; Rebbe Akiva in Bava Kama 113a; Shach C.M. 348:2; Rashal in Yam Shel Shlomo Bava Kama 10:20; Nesivos Hamishpat 348:1; Chelkas Mechokeik and Beis Shmuel E.H. 28:1; Biur Hagr”a E.H. 28 and C.M. 348:8; Shut Rashba 1:852

Other opinions: Some Poskim of the opinion that there is no prohibition to steal from a Gentile. [Raban Gamliel and Tana Kama a Bava Kama 111b; Yireim Hashaleim 124] Others learn that even according to this opinion it is only permitted if the Gentile has caused him pain. [Semag Lavin 152] Others learn that even according to the stringent opinion, the prohibition is only rabbinical. [Rashi Sanhedrin 57a]

[3] Admur ibid

The reason: Although less than the value of a Peruta is not considered money, and there’s no need to return it, nonetheless, even half of a measurement is biblically initially forbidden [and hence it is biblically forbidden to steal even less than a Peruta worth]. [Admur ibid]

[4] Admur ibid Halacha 1; Michaber 348:2; Rambam Geneiva ibid

[5] Admur ibid; Semag L.S. 152; Hagahos Maimanis Geniva 7 Os 2

[6] Michaber 359:1; Rambam Gezeila 1:2; Semag Lavin 156

[7] Tosefta Bava Kama 10:15; Semag Lavin 152; Hagahos Maimanis Gezeila 1:2; Pela Yoeitz Erech Gezel

[8] Pela Yoeitz

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