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What is Considered to be Stealing?
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] 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.)

Messages In This Thread
What is Considered to be Stealing? - by Eve7noah - 12-30-2016, 08:58 PM
RE: What is Considered to be Stealing? - by Director Michael - 03-30-2021, 11:08 PM

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