This week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, deals mainly with the legal relationships between people as they pertain to issues such as robbery, damages, watching over someone else’s property, etc. The punishment given a thief allows us to discern various rankings of punishments that express the severity of the acts.
A person who steals an object from someone else is punished according to the laws of the Torah by paying kefel, meaning twice the value of the object or the sum he stole. If the thief does not have the ability to pay, he can be sold into slavery, limited by the sum he owes. After this time passes, the thief is set free.