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Returning stolen money

Question:

Hi Rabbi, I have a friend who I went to school with when I was younger, I didn’t have money, and I fell into the temptation, and stole a $100 dollars from his wallet. Now years have passed, I’m still friends with this person, and I would like to return the money, and would like to get forgiveness, yet if I tell him the story, I don’t think we will be able to have the sam friendship (it would be extremely embarrassing for me and I don’t know how he would take it), what can I do?

Another part to this question, my friend thought someone else took the money from him, (I’ll call him person B) and he harbored bad feeling against him, and the guys in school gossiped that person B steals. How do I rectify the situation with Person B, and correcting the feelings my friend incorrectly has against Person B for stealing his money?

Thank you for taking your time to read this message.

 

Answer:

Thank you for question.

I respect you, for your yiras shomayim and courage to deal with this uncomfortable situation.

When returning the stolen money, since that owner doesn’t know that you are the person who stole it, you are not obligated to notify him who you are. Therefore you can simply send your friend the money back and type him and anonymous letter, stating that if he remembers, years ago $100 was stolen from him… the person who stole it was me…. I am embarrassed of what happened, therefore I am not saying who I am. However, I want to ask you forgiveness for the stress that this caused you. Additionally, I know that you blamed B that he stole the money, and this caused him a lot of stress. I am further embarrassed, that my stealing your money caused him to be blamed. I am sending him a letter asking him to be forgive me for the embarrassment that his caused him, and I hope that both of you will forgive me for what I did and caused.

With Hashem help, both people will accept you letter and forgive you for what was done.

Best wishes

Sources:

Choshen Mishpat 355-1, Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat 1-88.

 

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