Apr 24, 2015

Shabbos versus Theft

I heard a lecture in which Yossi Mizrachi asks why Madoff became a headline for fraud when stealing, in the halachic hierarchy, is a far lesser sin than chilul Shabbos.  For chilul Shabbos you are chayav missa (deserve the death penalty)!

Well, of course, as far as secular headlines go, secular media are not interested in chilul Shabbos.  Not to steal, on the other hand, is one of the Seven Noahide Laws which everyone is obligated to observe. 

There is also the fact that chilul Shabbos doesn't hurt others while stealing does.

Nevertheless, it was intriguing to hear R' Mizrachi pose the question.  We recoil when someone Jewish is caught stealing but we don't recoil when we hear of Jews who don't keep Shabbos, even when they are our own relatives or neighbors. 

Theft is also a most serious sin since, as it says in many machzorim before the Neila prayer, if a person has stolen anything he had better resolve to take care of it immediately after Yom Kippur.  It does not say shemiras Shabbos or kashrus or Talmud Torah, but gezel.

And of course, not stealing is in the category of mishpatim, rational mitzvos that any just society upholds, while the myriad laws of Shabbos are not obviously logical.

1 comment:

  1. The logic goes that anyone who can avoid transgressing Shabbos and has the willpower to avoid melacha, has the willpower not to steal.