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Counterfeit Money (+ Raffle Guidelines) [#76]
[As you may know, we recently had (and continue to run) a Rosh Chodesh raffle/giveaway for all the Money Halacha members to win family passes at American Dream attractions. In running such giveaways/raffles, we learned that there’s A LOT of halachos involved, especially now in the year 2020, where most of the raffles re done digitally. We would just like to make a small notice here to everyone about how according to halacha to run raffles (hopefully we will dedicate a full video to the subject in the future). Before anyone will venture to try and do any raffle, you should make sure that you have all the halachos down pat and be prepared beforehand with the language that you’re going to use throughout the campaign, the way you advertise it, and then the way the numbers are picked. Many people use computer generated raffle services that may not be so accurate and leave out many numbers. As well, I’ve been seeing a lot that when many people do other raffles, they have not done them properly according to halacha. It’s very important that these things get done right, and I myself would like to ask everyone mechilla just in case we may have erred in the raffle process]
Today’s topic is about counterfeit money, which is fake money that was made illegally and is used by criminals. Unfortunately, this money makes its way into the publics hands and is only discovered much later that it is fake money. We’re using the sefer, called Cases in Monetary Halachah, by Rabbi Tzvi Spitz. He brings here a specific case that, let’s say you gave somebody cash to buy something and a few days later, the person comes back to you and he says that when he went to deposit the money in the bank, the bank rejected a few of the bills saying that they were counterfeit bills.
Now, of course you say that you have no idea what he’s talking about, and also, this guy doesn’t have any proof of what he’s telling you in the first place, its not possible really to know that the fake money was that money given over in the transaction a few days ago. The question is, are you liable? Do you have to replace the money when this guy doesn’t have any proof that you gave him counterfeit bills, or not?
He brings over here in the sefer, that according to halacha, you don’t have to exchange those counterfeit bills with new, real currency. He says over here that what you would be obligated to do in this exact case is, you would have to actually make a shavu’a, you’d have to actually swear in beis din that you do not have any knowledge about those bills coming from you. That would work. So you wouldn’t have to pay. You’d just have to make a shavu’a in beis din. Now, it’s not such a simple thing to make a shavu’a in beis din, but that’s what the halacha is.
He says over here that even though you would be legally exempt from replacing those counterfeit bills, in this case (of uncertainty), you would have an ethical duty, however, to exchange the bills in question.
As in all other cases that we bring, any change in the details of the case will change the outcome of the halacha. In this case specifically was when the money was used for a purchase, where there was no prior money owed to the person who received the money. In a case where the money was given to repay a debt (and subsequently found to be counterfeit money), the halacha would be different.
He also says over here that it’s irrelevant how those counterfeit bills may have come into your possession before you gave it to him. It doesn’t matter if you actually illegally made counterfeit money (we do not promote making counterfeit money, obviously), or if it unknowingly got to your hands through other innocent exchanges of money. It doesn’t make any difference to the halacha over here.
In regards to what a person should do if they find out that they have counterfeit money in their possession, the halacha is that you must destroy it immediately so that you will not inadvertently come to use it as a payment in the future, to someone else.
That’s the halacha of today. I just wanted to give a heads up about making raffles and giveaways that you should be very careful and speak to a Rav beforehand and go over all the details to make sure its run according to halacha.***
***Please note that these halachos are intended to inform and educate the reader/listener in general. For any specific questions which arise, it is recommended to speak over the exact case with a competent halachic authority in order to assess the halacha accordingly as any small change will greatly affect the final halacha. You can send your questions in to us as well by replying via WhatsApp to our halacha Q & A number on the group, sending an email to Ask@MoneyHalacha.com, or via our contact page at MoneyHalacha.com/contact-us
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