When his [Yosef’s] brothers realized that their father loved him more
than he loved the other children, they began to hate him. They could not
say a peaceful word to him. (Bereshith 37:4)
The previous article described how important it is for one’s speech to
correspond to the thoughts in one’s heart. Rav Shraga Feivel Frank once
demonstrated this attribute when he was approached regarding a large
purchase of furs. Rav Frank quoted a price, and the potential buyer
immediately asked him for a discount. Rav Frank said that he could not
lower the price, but assured his customer that he would not find a better
price elsewhere. To enable him to verify this for himself, Rav Frank gave
him the addresses of the other merchants in town.
A short time later, the buyer returned to Rav Frank, interested in making
the purchase. To his customer’s surprise, Rav Frank offered him a lower
price than he had originally quoted. Rav Frank explained that after the
customer had left the store, Rav Frank had calculated that because the
intended purchase was so large, he could afford to lower his price. Since
he had then decided in his heart to sell at the lower price, he would not
consider accepting more money.(1)
While the halachah does not obligate one to act as Rav Frank did in this
situation, all authorities agree that such conduct is certainly admirable.
Some explain that this behavior is only praiseworthy when financial issues
are at stake,(2) while others explain that this is the case regarding any
decision a person makes.(3) According to some halachic authorities, even
in a case in which one may lose money, if someone makes a decision in his
mind, he should abide by it.(4)
1. Derech Etz Chaim, p. 71.
2. Ya’avetz, Migdal Oz, Derech Eretz, Ch. 2.
3. Masecheth Derech Eretz as cited in Migdal Oz ibid.