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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Vayiqra: Parashat Qedoshim: Holiness in Business

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

"Lo Taasu Avel Bamishpat BaMidah BaMishqal Uba'Mesurah."
"You shall not commit a perversion in justice, in measures of length, weight or volume"

This pasuk comes to teach us that we should do any wrongdoing in business. If we have a store for example, that we need to measure a product to match a person's payment, we should not use inaccurate measurements in our favor, cheating the customer.

Let us ask a couple of questions:

1. Surely, miscalculating measurements in business is similar to stealing, and the Torah has already warned us many times about stealing- why then does the Torah need to come now and tell us that this is a type of stealing as well? Isn't it obvious? Even more so, the mentioning of "Lo Tigzol" "Do not steal" is earlier in this parasha!

2. Why does the pasuk start, "Bamishpat" (in justice) and then speak about business matters?

Our rabbis come to explain an amazing idea. The main point in this pasuk is to tell you that when you are in the "right", even when you are "just", you are not allowed to cheat in business. Meaning what? If, for example, a person wronged and stole from another person, and now the one who was stolen from is in the position of selling something to the one who wronged him. In such a case, even though according to "justice" the seller is right to technically give the other person less in order to get what is owed back to him. Our rabbis say that the Torah comes to tell us that even then, one is not allowed to cheat in business- even "Bemishpat" "when you are right".

That is asking a lot from us!

Yes, it is. But remember we are to be Qadosh, and we learn in this week's parasha, like Hashem is Qadosh. If Hashem were to take what was owed to Him from us at any moment in our lives, we would not stand a chance. Instead, He allows time to pass and orchestrates the happenings in the world to affect us. We too, should learn from this and never take justice into our own hands. Allow Hashem to do His work and always be honest and straightforward in business regardless of whom you are dealing with.

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