Must you inform someone if you know you could save them from losing money? For example, if you work in an office building, and you realize a window which should be shut is open and resulting in significantly higher heating bills for the office building, must you inform the owner of this?


According to R Tzvi Spitz in his book, Cases in Monetary Halacha, yes you do. He brings the following points

  • Just as there is a mitzvah to return lost objects to their owner, so it is obligatory to save a fellow Jew from incurring a loss of any kind if one is able to do so
  • One acting in this manner has fulfilled a Torah commandment and, conversely, if he has an opportunity to do so and and doesn't he has transgressed a positive mitzvah of the Torah (according to the Rambam's Sefer Hamitzvot [negative 297] it is a transgression of "You shall not stand by idly over your fellow man's blood")
  • Therefore whenever one sees an air conditioner [...] left on when not needed he is obligated to remedy the situation or notify the owner
  • The only limitation is if it will result in monetary hardship or physical suffering as one is not obligated to sacrifice his own money to save the property of someone else. But mere unpleasantness is not enough to exempt oneself from following a mitzva.
  • money is blood?
    – ray
    Jan 9 '16 at 21:43
  • @ray that is how the Rambam understands it. Protecting another's money is included in that mitzva
    – mbloch
    Jan 9 '16 at 21:52
  • @ray The words in Hebrew are similar, (and people care about them to the same degree)
    – hazoriz
    Jan 10 '16 at 2:13
  • @mbloch Is this also the case if the building owner is non-Jewish?
    – Uncle
    Jan 10 '16 at 3:13
  • @Uncle if the only analogy here is with returning lost objects, then in that case the passuk says to return it to your brother, i.e., a Jew. The Rambam extends a number of mitzvot meant for Jews (by memory tsedaka, burying the dead, visiting the sick) to non-Jews in the ways of "darkei shalom". The SA CM 266:1 says to return an object if it would create a kidush Hashem or avoid a hillul Hashem.
    – mbloch
    Jan 10 '16 at 4:17

Maybe you should close the window (that is what I will do).
(But it might be open for a reason, so maybe ask him (but obviously do not teach him how to run his building (it is disrespectful, not nice)))

Misha ovois 2.12.

Rabbi Yosi says: The money of your friend should be as dear to you as your own.

You must log in to answer this question.

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