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What is Considered to be Stealing?
#1
Hello Rabbi(s),

Thank you for this fantastic forum!

I have a question about what constitutes stealing. I was staying at my brother's house and I used things without asking his or his wife's permission, for my own personal use (e.g. matches, sandwich spreads). I'm sure the answer would have been yes if I'd asked, but I just took things for my own personal use without thinking. Is that technically a violation of the commandment not to steal or is it OK?

Thank you!
Eve
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#2
Quoting from "The Divine Code." 2nd Edition, Part VII, topic 1:7 -
"It is also forbidden to steal from relatives or to take something of theirs without their knowledge, to use it without permission. This applies even if one knows with certainty that if his relative learned that he did this, the relative would be happy that he benefited in this way. As long as permission has not been given, this is forbidden as theft."

Therefore what you should do is speak with your brother or write to him, and mention that you remembered that while you were staying at his house, you used some things of his (e.g. matches, food items, ... - can you name the other things?) without realizing that you should have asked him first if it was OK. Now you want to apologize for that, and if there are any of those things you used that he wouldn't have given you permission to do so, he should please let you know, and you'll be happy to reimburse him for them.
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#3
(01-19-2017, 03:48 PM)Director Michael Wrote: Quoting from "The Divine Code." 2nd Edition, Part VII, topic 1:7 -
"It is also forbidden to steal from relatives or to take something of theirs without their knowledge, to use it without permission. This applies even if one knows with certainty that if his relative learned that he did this, the relative would be happy that he benefited in this way. As long as permission has not been given, this is forbidden as theft."

Therefore what you should do is speak with your brother or write to him, and mention that you remembered that while you were staying at his house, you used some things of his (e.g. matches, food items, ... - can you name the other things?) without realizing that you should have asked him first if it was OK. Now you want to apologize for that, and if there are any of those things you used that he wouldn't have given you permission to do so, he should please let you know, and you'll be happy to reimburse him for them.

Thank you for this detailed reply and instructions! I will definitely try to be more careful in future too.
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#4
Shalom!

Is inflation a form of stealing according to Noach's Law?
Please give personal opinion if the topic was not investigated.
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/purchasingpower.asp
Thanks!
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#5
Regarding fluctuations in the buying power of a nation's currency that result from economic circumstances, changing national conditions, and governmental economic policies, the Torah Sages treated inflation as a fact of life to be dealt with. The Torah Law principle that "the law of the land is the law" has limited scope, but it does include a nation's economic matters.

As such, the extensive Rabbinical writings that deal with the issues of inflation and currency devaluation are focused on the impact which they have over time upon monetary transactions between the citizens. For example, between people, it can impact on:

- payment of debts with a contracted fixed interest rate
- payment of debts that are contracted as interest-free
- using physical commodities that fluctuate in value as the means to pay debts
- delayed payment of contracted wages
- making restitution for a past theft, when it is no longer possible to return the stolen goods
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#6
B^H

Sh-lom dear Rabbis!

An access to www.asknoah.org was temporarily restricted from my IP-domains (country).
So I hacked this route by using proxy-servers.
Is peaceful hacking for the sake of informational education forbidden?

B^H
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#7
Simply gaining that access which is open to many other people, without stealing any restricted physical or intellectual property in the process, does not appear to be forbidden within any of the specific Seven Noahide Commandments. It may be that some liability has been legislated about it within the restricting country's civil code, but it is doubtful that a country would have legal jurisdiction over the citizens of another country in this matter. As you said, the restriction was only temporary, and if a government wished to block the possibility of gaining access through proxy-servers, I'm sure that they could find a way to do it.
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#8
Question received:
Quote:Are all property acquisitions gotten by coveting theft?

Here is the text in the topic on coveting in "The Divine Code," 4th edition, near the end of Chapter 1 in the section on "The Prohibition of Theft":

18. It is forbidden for a Gentile to covet the money of other people.[1] The definition of one who covets is one who not only desires another person's belonging or his house, etc., but he also pressures the other person to sell the item to him, until the point that the owner does sell it to him (or the owner may be pressured to give it as a gift, until he finally does). Even if he gives him a large amount of money for the item, he is still considered to be one who covets. However, if an object is designated for sale, and the person pressures the seller to reduce his price in the way of all buyers and sellers who haggle back and forth over a price, there is no prohibition involved.
Even if one has transgressed the prohibition of coveting, the sale is not cancelled. **The one who coveted retains the object, and it is his according to the law, for the final result was that the seller was appeased, and it was not taken from him by force.**
Similarly, one who pressures his friend to give him a certain gift has the status of one who covets his friend's money, and this is prohibited.

19. It is also forbidden for a Gentile to desire another person's belongings. This refers to anyone who desires his friend's house, field, vessels, or any other item (which could possibly be purchased), and he mentally plans or desires in his heart to gain that physical item.
The reason for these prohibitions is that they are included in the prohibition of theft, for the result of coveting and desiring is theft.[2] (Desiring another man's wife is also forbidden, since it can lead to the sin of adultery, which is also related to theft; see Chapter 10...)

[1] See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Laws of Robbery topic 23: "A Gentile is prohibited to rob and extort as is a Jew." (Extortion is forbidden based on the prohibition of coveting.)
[2] ...it is also forbidden for a Gentile to lust after another man's wife. For even though he obviously will not be able to "acquire" her as this applies to property, it is possible that he could offer enough money to convince the couple to divorce, and he would then be able to marry her (this is the transgression of coveting, which is prohibited within the Noahide commandment regarding theft). The main point is that whenever there is a possibility of theft, there is also a prohibition to covet...

-----end quote-----

So the answer is that coveting is forbidden for Gentiles as an offshoot of the commandment not to commit theft. If a Gentile has coveted something from another person, he has therefore transgressed, but he is not guilty of the capital sin of theft.
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#9
Question received:
Quote:Is taking thing without permission from a relative capital stealing?

The following is quoted from "The Divine Code," 4th edition, in Chapter 1 of the section on The Prohibition of Theft:

7. It is also forbidden to steal from relatives or to take something of theirs without their knowledge, to use it without permission. This applies even if one knows with certainty that if his relative learned that he did this, the relative would be happy that he benefited in this way. As long as permission has not been given, this is forbidden as theft...

8. In addition, one may not steal from a person who is not careful in guarding his money or other belongings. This applies even if the intention of the thief is only to teach the careless person a lesson (that he should pay more attention and be careful in guarding his belongings), and not to take something to keep for himself, but rather he intends to return it at a later time. [1]
But if a person is not mentally or physically able to guard his wealth, it is permissible for his family members to take his possessions in order to watch them for him (even if they must be taken in a manner of theft), or to appoint a guardian who will take care of his possessions, in order that they will not go to waste (for example, in the case of a person who lost his mental abilities and is wasting his wealth). It is thus permissible for a debilitated person's spouse or mature child to take the person's possessions (without permission and in a manner of theft) [only] in order to guard them, if the debilitated person is not watching these things properly, and they are in danger of being lost or stolen. [2]

[1] ...it is forbidden to steal even from one who is not careful about guarding his possessions, in order to teach him to be careful, even if the intention is to return the item...
[2] ...It is logical that there is no prohibition of theft involved, since (e.g.) a son's intention is only to safeguard the money and possessions of his debilitated father. Presumably the same can be said for any other person who comes with proper intentions to guard a debilitated person's possessions. This is not comparable to one who steals with intent to pay back, when the owner is in full control of his mind and is guarding his possessions. A mentally or physically debilitated person, by contrast, cannot safeguard his possessions, and therefore it is not considered theft if one tries to save those possessions and guard them. (Likewise, a custodian of a minor's funds may spend them for the minor's good as allowed by civil law.)
Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg notes that this is obviously correct in the case where the owner is fully demented. (Regarding someone who is sane, but is just a spendthrift, it is unclear whether one may take and hold his possessions for the purpose of returning them later.) ...
(If possible, one should seek legal permission and authority for this financial guardianship, through the civil court system... More clarification of these issues is needed, and situations must be considered on a case-by-case basis.)
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