Halachicly, Is armed bank robbery, in working hours, where the robbers wear masks and are unidentified, considered Gezel or Gnevah?

I'm confused with Rambam's definitions in Hilchos Gnevah 1.


1 Answer 1


See BK 57a

א"ל ליסטים מזויין גזלן הוא א"ל שאני אומר לסטים מזויין כיון דמיטמר מאינשי גנב הוא

Rav Yosef said to him: The reason that only a thief pays the double payment and not a robber is that a thief denigrates God by exhibiting fear of people by stealing surreptitiously while not exhibiting fear of Heaven. This is in contrast to a robber, who robs openly. Accordingly, the reason that I say that an armed bandit is considered as a thief, is since he hides from people rather than stealing openly. Although he in fact does steal openly, since he does so by employing a weapon he also exhibits fear of people, and is akin to a thief. Therefore, armed bandits are liable to pay a double payment as is a thief, and a claim that the deposit was seized by armed bandits is considered to be the same as a claim that it was stolen by thieves. Consequently, since a paid bailee is absolved by means of such a claim, if it is determined that his claim was false he must pay double.

That's a machloket in a couple of Gemarot. Rambam rules as the conclusion of this Gemara. Geneva 4.4

הטוען טענת גנב באבידה ונשבע ואחר כך באו עדים שהאבידה ברשותו ושקר טען משלם תשלומי כפל שנאמר על כל אבידה. והוא שיטעון שנגנבה בליסטים מזויין שהוא אנוס ופטור. אבל אם טען שנגנבה בלא אונס פטור מן הכפל מפני שהוא חייב לשלם על פי טענתו ששומר אבידה כשומר שכר הוא כמו שיתבאר: ‏

See Magid Mishne in first chapter. He makes two catégories of listim mezuyan. The first uses à priori violencei and , and arms. He is a gazlan. And a second category who try à priori to stell secretly but is armed for the case he would be discovered. He is a ganav. But his Geneva is an ones because it's impossible to resist.

So following this explanation a bank robery is a way of gazlan.

  • OK, that's the Machlokes, what's the resolution? Did Shu"A pasken on it?
    – Al Berko
    May 14, 2019 at 16:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .