Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Corruption of Judgment

The author of the Sefer HaChinuch explains that reasoning behind the mitzvos which ensure we do not cheat should be obvious to any thinking person. “The root of not cheating another in business is self-evident; every person understands this from his intellect. Even if this halachah had not been recorded, everyone would understand that it is fitting to write it. It is obvious that it is improper to use deceit to deprive our fellow human beings of their property. Everyone must earn money by working with whatever skills and opportunities Hashem sends his way—honestly and with integrity. He continues, “Everyone benefits if people don’t cheat. Just as one can cheats, he can also be cheated. Although a certain person may be exceptionally adept at deception, it is still not worthwhile to engage in the practice. He may be a skilled swindler but perhaps his children will be less skilled and will be robbed. Clearly this mitzvah is for the public good and is essential for the maintenance of civilized society. Hashem, blessed is He, created the world so that it would be a settled and civilized place.” The Panim Yafos, zt”l, offers food for thought for the person who does cheat others. “The verse states, 'לא תעשו עול במשפט'—‘Do not do corruption in judgment.’ This prohibition is also directed at the person who falsifies his weights and measures. Every person who weighs or measures merchandise is like a judge, since he must fairly calibrate how much he dispenses to his customers. Failing to give the exact amount even by a slightly is also a corruption of judgment.”

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