by Rabbi Yaakov Menken
"When you sell a product to your fellow, or purchase from the hand of your
fellow, one man shall not wrong his brother." [25:14]
Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki explains that this refers to one hurting the other
financially, by setting a price which is too high or too low.
The Maor Einayim writes that when a person engages in business in a
completely honest manner, and avoids such things as price-fixing, charging
interest (without a special agreement called a Heter Iska), and inaccurate
weights and measures, then this itself is called a great and Holy act of
He further notes that the father of Chassidic philosophy, the Ba'al Shem
Tov, said that this is obvious: we know that one who learns about "One who
exchanges a cow for a donkey" (in the Mishnah in Bava Metziah) has
performed a great Mitzvah by engaging in the study of Torah. All the more
so, when someone performs the actual exchange (be it a cow for a donkey, or
money for goods), and in the process recalls and concerns himself with all
the relevant Torah laws, is it not obvious that this is a great and Holy
act of Service before G-d?
It is all too easy for us to forget that apparently "mundane" matters can
be filled with holiness. We expect to find religion in the synagogue and
when performing certain rituals. But when viewed properly, our days are
filled with opportunities to serve G-d to the utmost. Honesty in business,
raising children, little acts of kindness - all of these are also Torah
commandments, and are also great and Holy. We cannot even imagine how many
Mitzvos a person can perform in a day...
Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis,
The author is the Director of Project Genesis.