Do I pay back double?
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- This topic has 15 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 7 years, 7 months ago by zogt_besser.
August 16, 2015 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm #616217teshuva5776Member
Hi. I’m sorry if I am posting in the wrong section but I can’t figure out exactly which to post this question in.
I had a shidduch who ended up in a bad breakup. We were close to being engaged and there was some jewelry purchased. The situation turned out with infidelity (disloyalty). The jewelry was quite expensive and at the time, I demanded it back and used intimidation to get it back. When I received them back, I felt that I had made an avera by using threat of legal trouble to have them returned. I returned some of it but I still have one fairly expensive piece.
Given that these were given as gifts, one may interpret it as given in an unconditional nature which may make me guilty of g’neivah. Since it’s now Elul and I’m somewhat ashamed of the way I handled the situation, I am planning on a written apology and returning the piece along with some additional belongings that I have in my possession.
I’m wondering what the Halacha is in terms of returning the item. As some have told me it can be considered g’neivah, am I required to pay double? i.e. return the item and the monetary value of another one of the same item; Or, is that up to the woman I took the item from?
I have no intention of speaking to this woman again but would like to make Teshuva as I am now in the process of being engaged and want to ask Mehila before my engagement.
What is the halacha?
Thanks in advance to everyone who read this and takes the item to answer.August 16, 2015 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm #1096055
How do you conduct shidduchim? Do you have long term “dating”, meet on your own, etc., or do you have third-party redt shidduchim that have relatively quick dating timelines? How long were you dating prior to engagement and how long were you engaged?
Also, why did you return to her some (and only some) of the jewelry she returned to you?
Were the jewelry only given to her because you were engaged for marriage?
How many of these questions are relevant and how many are just your curiosity?August 16, 2015 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm #1096056NeutiquamErroParticipant
Ask your LOR.
Seriously. An online forum cannot be relied on for halachic advice, although I’m sure you will get deserved approbation for your thoughtful intentions.August 17, 2015 12:37 am at 12:37 am #1096058–Participant
This isn’t the forum to determine who is the proper owner of the jewelry, It boils down to whether the gift was conditional or not.
One thing I can say is that double payment is only required in cases which can be best translated as burglary, not robbery or extortion (and only when found guilty by a Beth Din).August 17, 2015 12:48 am at 12:48 am #1096059teshuva5776Member
To put this behind me, I’m willing to agree that the gift was not conditional and that I am not the owner.
Thank You, Dash. That’s really all I wanted to know. I will return it with a few other belongings still in my possession and a sincere one-sided apology not mentioning anything she did.August 17, 2015 1:19 am at 1:19 am #1096060
What is unusual is that there seems to have been quite some quantity of jewelry gifted to her even though they were never engaged. Usually jewelry is only given after engagement, and even then prior to the wedding it typically is mostly an engagement ring and a bracelet.
Being that this was gifted prior to engagement, it might indicate it was not contingent upon getting engaged. More likely it was him hoping it would encourage her (but not obligate her) to agree to engagement.August 17, 2015 1:22 am at 1:22 am #1096061oomisParticipant
A gift is a gift. BUT if given in the promise or premise that it is to mark an engagement or near-engagement, as opposed to say, a birthday or yom tov gift, the proper etiquette is to return it, if the relationship dissolves prior to a wedding. Speak to your ROV regarding any halachic aspects of this. The mesnchlech thing for either party to do, is to return ALL expensive gifts that were clearly given in consideration of the relationship, i.e. bracelets, watches, earrings, etc. I know of young women who refused to give back the diamond ring when the engagement was broken, and personally, that appalls me, and does not look too good for the girl who appears to be that mercenary.August 17, 2015 1:29 am at 1:29 am #1096062
Unrelated to the OP, are divorced women expected to return their engagement or wedding ring?August 17, 2015 1:56 am at 1:56 am #1096063oomisParticipant
Unrelated to the OP, are divorced women expected to return their engagement or wedding ring? “
Nope. Married is married. They get to keep all the jewelry (or sell it, if they so desire). Only possible exception IMO (and here the wife or husband has to be really sensitive and fair-minded) is if the jewelry is a family heirloom of some type. If a man gives his wife his grandmother’s ring that was passed down for generations, the RIGHT thing to do is either to give it back, or give it to one of their children. I don’t believe there is a law about this (though I am not a lawyer, obviously), but it seems to be the right thing to do. If a father-in-law gives his son-in-law his gold watch, or one once belonging to his own father, it makes no sense for the ex-husband to hold onto it. Hold it for a son or son-in-law, or just give it back, IMO. These things have great sentimental value to the original gifters.August 17, 2015 2:56 am at 2:56 am #1096064iBump 2.0Participant
to answer the op-im pretty sure the halacha of paying kefel(double) is a knas which can only be levied by a bes din while in eretz yisroel
🙂 Bump 🙂August 17, 2015 7:11 am at 7:11 am #1096065Abba_SParticipant
Double Payment isn’t relevant today even in cases of theft because the Jewish courts aren’t authorized to collect it. Also double payment can only be imposed by a Jewish court in cases of theft, also in this case since it was returned voluntary ( without it being brought to court) no fine (double payment) is imposed.
I do think that both parties should apologize to each other.
Wishing everyone a Happy & Healthy New YearAugust 17, 2015 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm #1096066mazaltovMember
Please do all you can to make sure there is NO bad feelings before you embark on your new engagement. – The consequences for not receiving true mechila is awful. I have a neighbour who will testify to thisAugust 17, 2015 2:33 pm at 2:33 pm #1096067
mazaltov: What was the story with your neighbor?August 17, 2015 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #1096068zogt_besserParticipant
if the jewelry was given “in contemplation of marriage” (this is a real legal concept), then the girl must return all of it to you, under NY state law and many other states. You were entirely within your rights to threaten legal action had she refused to give it back to you. that is also dina d’malchusa, which we generally follow when it comes to choshen mishpat. if you yourself feel guilty about how you acted, then by all means apologize and return the stuff, but don’t feel like you have to.August 17, 2015 3:41 pm at 3:41 pm #1096069
Dina d’malchusa is inapplicable to choshen mishpat issues. We follow Shulchan Aruch for choshen mishpat, especially (but not only) when halacha and dina d’malchusa conflict. Generally the only possible exception to that is regarding a business transaction where we follow normative business practice, even if different than strict halacha, if the two parties operate where given normal business practices or understanding apply. But in a non-business situation, such as the OP, between two people, we follow straight halacha. Otherwise you might as well as throw out Choshen Mishpat from the S”A and just buy your State’s law books.August 17, 2015 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #1096070zogt_besserParticipant
While I could make a case that dina d’malchusa applies here, at least according to the Rema, I don’t have to. Just saw that SA Even Haezer 50 states this: ????? ??????? ???? ????, ??? ?????? ???? ??????, ??? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ??? ???, ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ???, ?? ???? ?? ????, ????? ???????? ???? ??? ?????? ??????. (?) ?] ??? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ????, ?? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ????, ???? ???????; ??? ?? ??? ??????, ???? ???
To put it simply, all gifts (except for food and drink) have to be returned. I wonder what the sevara is behind this halacha- is this what the American concept of ‘in contemplation of marriage’ is grounded in?
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