Bava Kama 79 - 85
Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai answered his students: Because he (the “ganav”) did not equate the honor of the ‘servant’ (the victim of the theft) to the honor of his Owner (G-d), whereas the he (the “gazlan”) equated the honor of the servant to the honor of his Owner.
A ganav is one who steals in a way that he thinks he will not be caught by his fellow man, such as sneakily at night. A gazlan is one who steals openly and brazenly, such as snatching an item from another in broad daylight. They share the fact they are both thieves, although they steal in a different manner. The students of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai asked their teacher why the Torah was stricter in regard to the payments the Torah associates with ganav, more so than with a gazlan. Why does a ganav pay double if he is caught with the theft, and four or five times the value of the theft if he stole or slaughtered an ox or a sheep after stealing it, while a gazlan is not subject to any of these fines? Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai answered them that the ganav is worse since he is more afraid of man than he is of
A ganav steals in stealth since he is afraid of the punishment a human court might impose on him if he is caught. However, he shows no regard for the fact that
- Bava Kama 79b