Yisro: I Stole???

“You shall not steal” (Shemos 20:13). 


Rav Aryeh Levin once told over a certain story that occurred in his day.


Every day a certain rav would daven mincha at his shul.  The chazon would wait for the rav to finish his Shemoneh Esrei, which usually took around 8 minutes, before he would start his repetition.  But, on one particular day, this rav was davening longer than usual.  In fact, in the middle of his davening, he signaled the chazon to begin without him.  Even when mincha ended, the rav was still davening.  In fact, his davening went on for several hours, and only close to sunset, did he finish.


Later, the rav explained what happened.  Before mincha, the rav was part of a beis din dealing with a complicated divorce case that was going on for several months.  Finally, everything was ready and the get was ready to be signed.  Just then, the rav noticed one of the witnesses writing something on a paper that was clearly from the “Anglo-Palestine Bank."  Being that such papers in those times, were worth something and not given out for public use, the rav was concerned that this witness stole it from the bank.


He immediately called the beis din to recess, explaining that he needed to daven mincha.  And he kept "davening," until sunset, when one cannot write a get, hence postponing the get writing until the next day.  The next day, he found proof that this witness was not kosher and was able to find a new, kosher set of witnesses, hence allowing the get to be kosher.


Unfortunately, certain "minor" sins regarding money, such as stealing things worth very little, or not paying workers on time, are common.   People either don’t think about it, or find excuses for their behavior.  However, according to halacha, people who steal a pen have the same status of somebody who steals a car, and cannot be considered a kosher witness!


Hence we see the importance of trying our best to have some knowledge of what is and what is not considered stealing, and making sure that we are not guilty of ANY of it, as much as possible.


Have a great Shabbos!