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How Can I Return What I Stole From My Employer?

By Baruch Gordon
8/19/2010, 12:00 AM

The Ask the Rabbi section of the Bet El Yeshiva site has become the main venue for secular Israelis to reach out for rabbinical guidance. The letters provide a fresh perspective on Israelis seeking the spiritual roots of the Jewish nation.

Dear Rabbi,

I am a woman who recently became a Baalat Teshuva (returnee to Jewish observance), and I have many items that I stole from companies that I worked for. My question is, how can I return money for things that I stole? My particular concern is that I no longer know who runs or owns the company, and I am afraid that if I send a check to the company, it might reach the wrong hands, and then my teshuva (rectification) will not be complete.

I am sorry to bother you with this but I have no one else to ask, and Rosh Hashana is approaching, and I want to resolve this beforehand. What practical steps should I take?

Revital

Dear Revital,

What a merit it is for me to hear of the path you have embarked upon, and the transformation you have made in your life. I encourage and bless you to continue in this way, and reveal the exhilarating light that is hidden in every mitzvah, and in every righteous act.

According to halacha, a person must return what he stole. The best way to perform this is to return the money directly to the person you stole from. In your case, you can return money to the company, without their knowledge. Since the manager doesn't know that you stole from the company, you can rectify your deeds also without his knowledge.

If you want to send the company a check, you can send it in registered mail, so that the manager himself, or someone reliable will open the letter. Even though this costs a bit more, it is worth it to ensure that the check reaches the right hands.

Good luck Revital, and I will be happy to help you in any way I can. Feel free to turn to me, and I am always glad to assist.

With blessings,

Yitzhak