Yesterday, I was stung by a bee while walking at the zoo. After icing down the sting for a while, I continued on my way. A few minutes later, however, the bee-sting began to hurt again. I happened to be walking past a vendor selling bottles of water, which were sitting in a large bucket of ice. I don't know what possessed me, but for some reason, rather than asking the vendor if I could please have an ice cube, I just took one and began to ice down my bee-sting.

I recognize that, for a theft of less than a שוה פרוטה, there is nothing for me to repay. I also cannot easily go back and apologize to the vendor and ask for מחילה. Nonetheless, stealing is still a sin. What can I do for כפרה?

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    Have a Refuah Sheleimah!
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 20:59
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    Assuming it is impossible or not required to contact the vendor, perhaps you should donate ice for public usage if the opportunity ever arises (e.g. a communal party or picnic).
    – Fred
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 21:18
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    See Me'iras Einayim (CM 367:3) and Be'er Heitiv (367:4), who discuss a machlokes re. whether a person who stole must go far out of his way to inform the victim that he has the contraband, or whether he only must inform the victim if they ever happen to be in the same town in the future. The Be'er Heitiv maintains that, even according to the Rambam and Sh"A who hold he is not strictly required to go out of his way, he is still liable until he repays the item (at least WRT shamayim) and should therefore make every effort to inform the victim. This is all talking about usual theft, though.
    – Fred
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 21:54
  • Hi Seth J. View the following links: latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/02/01/…. theguardian.com/environment/2012/feb/01/…. Of course there is a difference in terms of quantity and neither article
    – JJLL
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 1:48
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    @JeffreyLevine It's an interesting news item, but the only similarity between that case and this one is that they involve ice. Also, you should be able to delete your first comment if you want to (by clicking on the x that appears when you hold the cursor over the comment).
    – Fred
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 2:06

2 Answers 2


The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in siman 182 seif 2 concerning the laws of stealing says:

Taking a thing of such trivial value, that no one would mind, like taking a splinter from a bundle [of wood], in order to use it as a toothpick, is permitted. However, it is an act of piousness to refrain from this as well.


I would think you had the kaparah before the makka.

In other words you had your punishment the bee sting before your avairo of stealing.

Since you do not have to give back any money as you say the ice cube has no value and no vendor would ever charge for it all you have to atone for is the act of stealing.

For this you have already been richly rewarded I mean punished with a painful bee sting. Unless you can attribute your bee sting to some other misdemeanor which I doubt and by writing this post one can see you have done tshuva I really cant think of anything else you have to do.

I may add the gemoro in shabbos (I forget the daf) allows the act of stealing for someone who is ill. For instance when one has 'let' blood and has to eat, he can in a certain way steal food by not giving proper currency. What you have done is certainly even less than that.

  • That's a good point at the end, but it seems this being refuah kodem lemaka (besides for this not being the context of the term) wouldn't work with bechira, no?
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 3:20

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