Gezel Hagoiy-Stealing from a Gentile-Part 2-Cheating a gentile in business

Cheating a Gentile in business:

All scams and trickery are forbidden in business even with a gentle.[1] [Those people who mistakenly think that it is permitted to scam a Gentile are making a grave mistake. All types of trickery and scams are forbidden even towards a Gentile, and certainly if this will involve a desecration of God’s name. Those who do so are considered to be doing an abomination in the eyes of God.[2]] Thus, the following laws apply:

Lihatoso Becheshbon-Tricking a Gentile seller as to the amount that he received in payment:[3] It is forbidden for one to cheat a Gentile when purchasing something from him by tricking him as to the amount of money that he gave him for the item, and one who does so is considered as if he is stealing an item from the Gentile. [Thus, it is forbidden for one to lie and say that he paid the Gentile more than he actually paid him.]

Ona’ah-Tricking a gentile buyer or seller as to how much the item is worth:[4] It is forbidden to trick a Gentile seller or a Gentile buyer regarding the value of an item. [Thus, it is forbidden for one to change the price tags on an item in a store for a lower price.]

Gineivas Daas-Giving false information about the product to a Gentile:[5] It is forbidden for one to scam a Gentile when selling him an item by giving him false information about that item, or purposely placing misleading information about it. This applies even if no monetary loss is incurred by the Gentile due to the misleading information.[6] [All this is considered complete stealing.]

Onah-Withholding important information about the product to a gentile buyer:[7] It is forbidden for one to trick a Gentile to purchasing an item that contains a blemish by withholding this information from him. Rather, he must tell him of the blemish before the purchase even if he is a Gentile. One who does not do so is considered similar to stealing money from him and he transgresses the biblical stealing prohibition.

Taus Hagoy-Correcting a mistake of a gentile buyer or seller:[8] If a Gentile buyer or seller made a mistake as to the value of an item, or as to how much he paid for it or as to how much he received for it, then the Jewish seller or buyer is not obligated to correct him of his mistake in order so the gentile receive or pay the correct amount. Nonetheless, this only applies if not correcting him will not cause a desecration of God’s name. If, however, it will cause a desecration of God’s name [such as if the Gentile will eventually discover that he made a mistake and that the Jew was aware of it and did not tell him], then one is required to correct the Gentile of his mistake. It is therefore proper to explicitly tell the gentile in order to avoid a Chilul Hashem that he is relying on his calculation. [Meaning, that if the Gentile gave him a certain amount of money for the item and one does not have the time to count the bills and coins, then he can tell him that he trusts him to have given him the exact amount, and later on if he discovers that he gave him more he does not have to correct him. Despite the above letter of the law, one who corrects a Gentile in his mistake even when he does not have to, such as if it will go unnoticed by the Gentile, is considered to be performing a Kiddush Hashem, as can be seen from the fact that Yaakov commanded his sons to return the money to the Egyptian Viceroy. Hence, certainly today every person is morally obligated to correct a Gentile of his mistake and make a Kiddush Hashem.[9]]

Coming up in parts 3 and onwards:

  1. Not repaying a gentile for a loan or service [i.e. employee, rent]:
  2. Recollecting a paid loan:
  3. Returning a lost object to a gentile:


[1] Admur Hilchos Onah 11; Michaber C.M. 228:6; Rambam Mechira 18:1

[2] Rambam in Pirush hamishnayos Keilim 12:7; See Semag Asei 74

[3] Admur Hilchos Gezeila Ugeneiva Halacha 4; Hilchos Onah Halacha 11; Rama C.M. 348:2; Rambam Geneiva 7:8; Mordechai Remez 158 in name of Ravayah

[4] Admur Hilchos Onah 11; Rambam Geneiva 7:8; Gezeila Veaveida 1:4; Mordechai Bava Kama chapter 10 Remez 158; See Avnei Nezer O.C. 325:19; Minchas Pitim C.M. 227:6; Chikrei Halachos 4:9; Piscehiy Choshen Geneiva Vehanah 1:8

[5] Admur Hilchos Onah 12 and Hilchos Gezeila Ugeneiva Halacha 4; Michaber C.M. 228:6; Rambam Deios 2:6; Mechira 18:3; Chulin 94a; Semak 262

[6] Admur ibid

[7] Admur Hilchos Onah 11; Michaber C.M. 228:6; Rambam Mechira 18:1

[8] Admur Hilchos Gezeila Ugeneiva Halacha 4 and Hilchos Onah 11; Michaber C.M. 227:6; Rama C.M. 348:2; Rambam Gezeila Veaveida 11:4; Shmuel Bava Kama 113a

[9] Kad Hakemach of Rabbeinu Bechayeh Erech Gezel 1

About The Author

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.