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INTRODUCTION TO THE PARAMETERS OF THEFT

בס”ד

  1. Sanhedrin 56a
The Rabbis taught: Bnei Noach were commanded seven laws: establishing courts of law, blasphemy, idolatry, sexual immorality, murder, theft, and eating the limb of a live animal.תנו רבנן שבע מצות נצטוו בני נח דינין וברכת השם ע”ז גילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים וגזל ואבר מן החי  

2. Rambam, Laws of Kings and Wars 9:1

(1) Adam, the first man, was commanded with six commandments: 1) idolatry, 2) “blessing” (euphemistically) the Name (of G-d), 3) murder, 4) illicit sexual relations, 5) thievery and, 6) establishing a system of justice. Even though all of these have been received as a Tradition from Moses our Teacher and we can understand the rationale for them, nevertheless, from (verses in) the Torah (we learn that) it was these that they were commanded. A seventh commandment forbidding the eating of a limb torn from a live animal was added for Noah, as it says, “Even flesh, life is in the blood, do not eat of it” (Genesis 9:4)עַל שִׁשָּׁה דְּבָרִים נִצְטַוָּה אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן. עַל עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה. וְעַל בִּרְכַּת הַשֵּׁם. וְעַל שְׁפִיכוּת דָּמִים. וְעַל גִּלּוּי עֲרָיוֹת. וְעַל הַגֵּזֶל. וְעַל הַדִּינִים. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכֻּלָּן הֵן קַבָּלָה בְּיָדֵינוּ מִמּשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ. וְהַדַּעַת נוֹטָה לָהֶן. מִכְּלַל דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה יֵרָאֶה שֶׁעַל אֵלּוּ נִצְטַוָּה. הוֹסִיף לְנֹחַ אֵבֶר מִן הַחַי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ט, ד) “אַךְ בָּשָׂר בְּנַפְשׁוֹ דָמוֹ לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ”. נִמְצְאוּ שֶׁבַע מִצְוֹת

3. Rambam, Laws of Kings and Wars 9:9

A Noachide is liable for violating the prohibition against theft whether he stole from another gentile or from a Jew.
This applies to one who forcefully robs an individual or steals money, a kidnapper, an employer who withholds his worker’s wages and the like, even a worker who eats from his employer’s produce when he is not working. In all such cases, he is liable and is considered as a robber. With regard to Jews, the law is different.
Similarly, a Noachide is liable for stealing an object worth less than a p’rutah. Thus, if one Noachide stole an object worth less than a p’rutah and another Noachide stole it from him, they are both executed because of it.
בֶּן נֹחַ חַיָּב עַל הַגֵּזֶל. בֵּין שֶׁגָּזַל עַכּוּ”ם בֵּין שֶׁגָּזַל יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְאֶחָד הַגּוֹזֵל אוֹ הַגּוֹנֵב מָמוֹן אוֹ גּוֹנֵב נֶפֶשׁ אוֹ הַכּוֹבֵשׁ שְׂכַר שָׂכִיר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ. אֲפִלּוּ פּוֹעֵל שֶׁאָכַל שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה. עַל הַכּל הוּא חַיָּב וַהֲרֵי הוּא בִּכְלַל גַּזְלָן. מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. וְכֵן חַיָּב עַל פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה. וּבֶן נֹחַ שֶׁגָּזַל פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה וּבָא אַחֵר וּגְזָלָהּ מִמֶּנּוּ. שְׁנֵיהֶן נֶהֱרָגִין עָלֶיהָ

4. Rabbi Yosef Karo, Kesef Mishnah, loc. cit.

When our rabbi stated, “with regard to Jews the law is different”, it seems to me that their status would not be that of a gazlan (thief) in cases such as withholding a worker’s wages (Leviticus 19:13), because that prohibition is separate from that of theft; and a worker cutting his employer’s grain not during the time he is working (Deuteronomy 23:26).ומ”ש רבינו מה שאין כן בישראל. נ”ל דהיינו שאין חיובם משום גזלן אלא כובש שכר שכיר איכא ביה לאו דלא תעשוק שכר וגו’ ופועל שלא בשעת מלאכה מוחרמש לא תניף נפקא וכמבואר בדברי רבינו פרק י”ב מהלכות שכירות

By Rabbi Tani Burton

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