The Gemora in Sanhedrin 57a states:

אלא אמר רב אחא בריה דרב איקא לא נצרכה אלא לכובש שכר שכיר כותי בכותי וכותי בישראל אסור ישראל בכותי מותר
Rather, Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, says that there is a different explanation: It is necessary only to teach the halakha of one who withholds the wages of a hired laborer; for a gentile to do so to another gentile and for a gentile to do so to a Jew is prohibited, but for a Jew to do so to a gentile is permitted. This case is less obvious than other types of robbery, as instead of taking an item from the victim, the robber withholds money that is due to the victim.

Based on other passages nearby about killing and theft, it is clear that "permitted" in those passages are talking from a דאורייתא perspective, but that it is forbidden דרבנן for a Jew to kill or steal from gentiles.

My question is whether this applies to the aforementioned passage about withholding wages. In short, is it forbidden דרבנן to withhold the wages of a gentile labourer?

1 Answer 1


I believe the rabbis were wrong on this. Its wrong to steal from anyone whether they be Jewish or Non-jewish. Unless its specifically in war time; when people lives can be saved when we steal from the enemy or anyone to save a life via stealing to help us on our mission to kill "bad" people.

  • 2
    That's not relevant to the question. Feb 22 at 10:34
  • 1
    The question states that the Rabbis forbade stealing from non-Jews. So you are agreeing with the Rabbis? Note that the common trope that halacha permits stealing from non-Jews is an antisemitic line that tends to surface once in a while, no matter how much it is debunked.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 22 at 11:25
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    This is not an answer. The question was whether it's forbidden Rabbinically, not whether you think it's bad. There are lots of things that are technically permitted but demonstrate bad character. This is why there are entire categories of Jewish study (mussar, chakirah, chassidus) dedicated to conduct outside of halacha. Feb 22 at 15:30
  • If something is rabbinically forbidden but, its bad doesn't that make the rabbinically incorrect? Feb 22 at 23:47

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