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Counterfeit Currency

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Counterfeit Currency

A person who works on Shabbos assumes he is earning money on Shabbos. This is an erroneous fact as we will explain below.


The Shulchan Aruch[1] writes that one who performs melacha from Mincha onward on Erev Shabbos will not see bracha from it. The Mishna Brura[2] explains that even if he gains profit from it, he will lose it elsewhere. To this we can apply והמשתכר משתכר אל צרור נקוב, whoever earns money earns it for a purse with a hole.[3]


Imagine a person finds money in public on Shabbos and desecrates Shabbos in order to keep the money. Then later he finds out the money is counterfeit. What a waste he thinks to himself.


The same applies to a person that does an act against the Torah such as keeping his store open on Shabbos in order to earn more money. Even if he gains a profit, that money is counterfeit because that money will be lost in some way whether through doctor bills, repairing appliances and the like.


In this way we can understand לא תגנבו, you shall not steal, and לא תגזל, you shall not rob[4] as it is written in the future tense. This makes it a statement, not a commandment. This means that there will never be a situation of stealing ever since everyone receives what is due to them.  


Let us conclude with the words of R’ Moshe Kassover.[5] “No one will ever gain or lose money — from the beginning of the world’s existence until its end. Whatever money one has, cannot be taken from him by anyone. Whatever he is supposed to earn, he will. What about if one steals from him? The truth is that the stealer in essence stole from himself because he will lose that money some other way. If one steals $1,000 from another, he will lose the money elsewhere.”[6]

[1] Orach Chaim 251:1.

[2] 251:2.

[3] Chagai 1:6.

[4] Vayikra 19:11,13.

[5] Amud Havoda, Drush Habitachon, 9-13.

[6] Likewise, if one gives for example $5, the recipient did not gain because he would have received that money from elsewhere if that person didn’t give it to him.

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