In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Buying stolen goods

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q. I suspect a store in my neighborhood sells stolen merchandise, especially since the prices are so low. Is it permissible to buy from them?

A. Fencing stolen goods is a serious crime in Jewish law. The book of Proverbs (29:24) states:

    Whoever shares with the thief hates his own soul; [even if] he is subject to an oath, he will not reveal.

The particular issue raised by Scripture is that the fence will fail to disclose the theft, even under oath, and thus will subject himself to a curse. This would apply particularly to someone who actually knows about the theft, and not to a customer who really has no direct knowledge of the crime. But Maimonides, basing himself on a Talmudic passage, gives a reason that greatly expands the scope of the prohibition:

    It is forbidden to buy a stolen object from a thief, and it a serious sin, for he thereby abets the wrongdoer and causes him to steal in the future. For if he can't find anyone to buy, he won't steal. And of this it is said, "Whoever shares with the thief hates his own soul".(1)

Maimonides views this with great severity. Not only is the customer guilty of not bringing the thief to justice for what he did in the past, as is implied by the verse in Proverbs; he is responsible for encouraging, even causing, him to steal in the future. In another place, Maimonides connects this with the specific Biblical prohibition of putting an "obstacle before the blind":

    It is forbidden to buy a stolen object from the thief, and forbidden to help him alter it in order that it should be bought. For anyone who does these or similar things abets wrongdoers and violates (Leviticus 19:14) "And do not place an obstacle before the blind".(2)

The Talmud explains this idea with an analogy. In a particular case where the customer in an illegal sale is fined, the Talmud asks: Why should we fine the buyer? Why don't we fine the seller? The reply: "It is not the mouse which steals, it is the hole that steals." The reply is that the hole is harmless without the mouse, so letting the thief off the hook is not a valid response, but the basic insight that the hole (the customer) is what enables the mouse (the thief) remains valid. (3)

The prohibition is not limited to cases where there is certainly that the object is stolen; it extends to any case where the circumstances are suspicious. For example, the mishna states that one shouldn't buy wool, milk or ewes from a shepherd, meaning someone who works as a shepherd for others.(4) While it is possible that he bought these goods on his own, the fact that his main job is shepherding other people's flocks and that he has come into possession of wool, milk or ewes is quite suspicious, justifying the limitation on buying from him.

If you want to buy from this store, it would be a good idea to ask the seller where the merchandise comes from and make sure you are convinced his explanation is convincing before you buy.

SOURCES: (1) Maimonides' Code Laws of theft 5:1. (2) Maimonides' Code, laws of stolen and lost objects 5:1. (3) BT, Gittin 45a (4) Mishna, Bava Kamma 10:9.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology.


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