Friday, May 27, 2016

Shmitta and business

In Parshas Behar, we get  a mention of the mitzvah of shmitta (25:2) and of how to work out the deal on selling land. (25: 14). The latter extends (25:17) to the injunction velo tonu ish eth amito not to exploit the other in the terms of the sale. A couple of verse s later (25:20-21) we're back to a reference to shmitta and the assurance of a blessing for sufficient food for those who fear that they will fall short of their needs if they don't work the fields during the seventh year:  
 וְכִי תֹאמְרוּ, מַה-נֹּאכַל בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת:  הֵן לֹא נִזְרָע, וְלֹא   
 נֶאֱסֹף אֶת-תְּבוּאָתֵנוּ
וְצִוִּיתִי אֶת-בִּרְכָתִי לָכֶם, בַּשָּׁנָה הַשִּׁשִּׁית; וְעָשָׂת, אֶת-הַתְּבוּאָה, לִשְׁלֹשׁ, הַשָּׁנִים. 
My grandfather asks  why was that not placed next to the earlier mention? Why the disruption of the flow from one point on shmitta  to this one with the point about not cheating or misleading someone when making a sale of property?

He suggests that the question  ?מַה-נֹּאכַל is the motivation behind the attempt to cheat others. It is only made explicit in the context of shmitta because there it is spoken overtly. When it comes to seeking to get the better of someone else in a business deal, though, the same concern drives the action. The difference is that with respect to beyn adam lechavero, the person usually does not articulate it and may not even be conscious of it.

In fact, though, the blessing Hashem extends to people who act with faith with respect to shmitta also extends to acting in good faith in business.  In my grandfathers's word, "Aval be'emeth al ha'adam lada'as shebirchath Hashem ta'ashir gam beyachso livney adam im rap ya'ase hayahar vehatov." 
And the entire parsha's intent is to teach us middat habritachon behashgachas Hasehm.

Related post: http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/10/dvar-yehudah-parsha-points-from-my.html
http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/10/sarahs-internal-laughter.html
http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2008/06/taking-spiritual-advantage-rather-than.html


No comments: