Some of Bernie Madoff's property is up for auction. While selling his wares to raise money to repay those he scammed is a good thing, isn't it kind of unsettling for people to want to own things formerly used by a fraudster? What does Judaism say about this?
It would be a violation of Jewish ethics to obtain such materials directly from Madoff. However, since the items were confiscated by the government, and the proceeds will go to benefit those from whom he stole. there is no ethical problem.
First, if it's unsettling for anyone to be connected to Bernie Madoff, I would suggest that they not purchase any of his goods. Fundamentally, though, while Jewish law attaches sacred significance to certain goods that were sanctified for Temple use, such a concept does not apply to cotemporary chattels (a fancy name for goods, just to mix it up). People may attach sentimental value to goods, but we cross over into superstition, a very un-Jewish idea, when we believe that Bernie Madoff's or any other criminal's goods bear some sort of "kooties".
It is also important to briefly note that Jewish law does not recognize the legal construct of bankruptcy, whereby one can absolve oneself of various debts with such a declaration. According to Jewish law, one must pay back one's debts to the best of one's abilities, and can not be absolved of this obligation until one has completely paid off the debt or the creditors forgive such debt (there may be some exceptions to this rule in the commercial context based on Jewish law's interaction with secular law - i.e. the concept that "the law of the land is the law", but that is a much larger discussion). Thus, while Madoff will never be able to undo most of the terrible damage that he inflicted upon hundreds of people, using his goods to repay part of his debts is a start. Were he not in prison, he would be obligated to work and funnel all of his earned money to his debtors. Even after his death, the obligation to pay off his debts would enjoin his estate until every last penny is repaid.
In Judaism we believe that there is a holiness attached to material things. For instance, in the Talmud (Mas. Megillah) there is a long discussion about what can be purchased with the proceeds after selling certain things that possess holiness like chumashim (Torah books) or Torah scrolls; even the bricks from a torn down synagogue. Ultimately, the sages reason that we must elevate our holiness. Thus, proceeds from the sale of items of holiness can only be used to purchase items that are of an even higher grade of holiness.
So, while there certainly may be the "unsettling" factor when someone purchases material possessions that once belonged to Bernie Madoff, there is also the fact that the holiness value will increase. For instance, if Bernie Madoff used his office desk to conduct fraudulent business transactions that milked unsuspecting people out of their financial portfolios and someone now buys that desk and uses it to write self-help books, write checks to charitable organizations, or to create beautiful and inspiring works of art, then that is an increase in the utility and value of the material good. Additionally, one could purchase some of Bernie Madoff's property on auction and then sell it for a profit, donating the proceeds to charity. That is certainly a positive value.
If you're asking about the karma factor of Madoff's property, I don't think Judaism places a value on that concept. The closest thing I can think of in Judaism is the superstition of not taking food out of a shiva house. I've also heard the Jewish superstition of not wearing the shoes of a deceased person. These seem like bubbemeisas (old wive's tales)to me and if someone thinks it would be odd or unsettling to have a piece of furniture in their home that was once owned by Bernie Madoff, then they shouldn't buy it.
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