Question:

  1. If you use an item without the owner’s permission, and then return it, does this count as theft if they never find out?
  2. If so, does the rule of num 5;7 come into play, and what if this has occurred multiple times, would multiple repayments be required for each unauthorized use?

Thanks

Answer:

 

  1. Using someone else’s item without permission is a form of theft, even if the person doesn’t find out about it. We are commanded by G-d not to steal, and therefore the person would have to repent, because he didn’t listen to G-d’s commandment. In retrospect, if the item was already used, and he owner was not negatively affected by his using the item, (it wasn’t ruined in any way, and the owner wasn’t inconvenienced by it, then we would not have to ask the owner forgiveness, since he wasn’t negatively affected).
  2. Regarding Numbers 5:7 that is referring to when a person stole money etc. and swore that he didn’t take it, which is not applicable to regular stealing.

 

Sources:

 

 

  1. Rambam Hilchos Gezeila 3-15, Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 359-5, 355-1.
  2. See Rashi Numbers 5-7.

Tags: borrowing stealing

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