Would a person be allowed to give/take bribes to a person responsible for purchasing in a company? Would it be forbidden directly as "shochad" (bribery) or under a general prohibition of Gnevas Daas, etc.

What about paying off politicians?


  1. For example, if company A wants to buy a widget, and there are two companies that can provide it. One ("B") will sell it for $100,000, and another ("C") will sell it for $110,000. Your responsibility is to choose which company will supply you with parts. Being that both parts are equal, you will choose company B. However, Company C gives you $500 as a "gift" and you choose company C.

  2. You work as a bureaucrat in country A. Your job is to check if a company is obeying some law. You could bust them and fine them for $1,000,000, but they pay you off and you overlook it.

    What Torah violations (if any) did you just violate in these two cases?


2 Answers 2


The idea behind a kickback is generally to steal from a third party. For example Reuven is a buyer from XYZ corp, Shimon is a salesman for ABC inc. Shimon wants to sell widgets to XYZ corp so he comes to Reuven and tries to convince him to have XYZ corp buy them for $100 a piece. Reuven says XYZ corp will pay $120 a piece but I want you to give me (Reuven personally) $10 a widget. So Reuven and Shimon are stealing from XYZ corp.

There are many variations but they all boil down to stealing from a third party. With paying off politicians the third party is the government/the taxpayers.

So I would say that kickbacks are just simple theft.

In your revised examples: In example 1 they have stolen $10,000 from Company A. In example 2 they have stolen $1,000,000 from the government.

Stealing and dishonest business dealings are definitely Torah prohibitions. In example 2, bribery would probably be an issue too.


The halacha discusses commission based arangements as far as the question of Ribbis (usery). The use of commission based arangements for to pay salespersons is not in it of itself prohibited. So no, kickbacks are not generally considered Robbery / Gezel or Bribery / Shochad.

You must log in to answer this question.

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