Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 62:8

ח:כתיב, לא יהיה לך בכיסך אבן ואבן גדולה וקטנה, לא-יהיה לך בביתך איפה ואיפה גדולה וקטנה, אבן שלמה וצדק יהיה-לך, איפה שלמה וצדק יהיה-לך וגו’. ותבת בכיסך וכן תבת בביתך, נראות לכאורה כמיתרות, ודרשו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה, לא-יהיה לך בכיסך, ממון. מה טעם, משום אבן ואבן. לא-יהיה לך בביתך, צרכיך. מה טעם, משום איפה ואיפה. אבל אבן שלמה וצדק אם יהיו בביתך, יהיה לך ממון. וכן איפה שלמה וצדק אם יהיו בביתך, יהיו לך צרכיך. עוד אמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה, מה יעשה אדם ויתעשר. ישא ויתן באמונה, ויבקש רחמים ממי שהעשר שלו, שנאמר, לי הכסף ולי הזהב – נדה דף ע

It is written (Devarim 25:13-15): “You shall not have in your bag weights, a large one [for measuring what you buy] and a small one [for measuring what you sell], you shall not have in your house measures, a large one and a small one, a full and just weight shall you have, a full and just measure shall you have…”.

The word “בכיסך” [in your bag] and also the word “בביתך” [in your house] appear apparently superfluous. Our Rabbis of blessed memory expounded (Bava Basra 89a): “‘you shall not have in your bag’ – money. Why will this be ? Because of [having] one weight and [a different] weight. ‘You will not have in your house’ — your necessities. Why will this be ? Because of [using] one measure and [another] measure. However, [if] ‘a full and just weight will be in your house’ — then you will have money. Similarly, [if] ‘a full and just measure will be in your house’ — you will have your necessities.”

On addition our Rabbis of blessed memory said (Niddah 70b): “What should a person do to become wealthy? He should buy and sell with integrity, and ask mercy from the One Who owns all wealth. As it is said (Chaggai, 2:8), “silver is Mine, and gold is Mine.”

As I mentioned yesterday, Rashi quotes Chazal, explaining this verse in Devarim as being about merely owning the tools for dishonesty. That had it been about actually using them, the verse would be superfluous — theft is already prohibited. And thus when the chapter later (25:16) calls it a “תֽוֹעֲבַ֛ת יְ-הוָ֥-ה אֱ-לֹהֶ֖יךָ כָּל־עֹ֣שֵׂה אֵ֑לֶּה — to’eivah to Hashem your G-d whomever does these things”, it is calling upon us to be so disgusted with fiscal dishonesty that we couldn’t stand be around people who just keep the means for it around the house, never mind those who use them, or our actually misweighing merchandise!

The words from Chazal are difficult that the Qitzur next quotes. The bigger problem is that it raises the question of theodicy (tzadiq vera lo; “Why bad things happen to good people” and visa versa). We all know dishonest people who do thrive, and honest merchants who never seem to be able to make ends meet.

The smaller problem is that Chazal say on the verse “aseir ta’aseir” (you shall tithe a tithing) that on tithing alone one may test G-d. Otherwise, one does not do so — and so one isn’t even permitted to be more scrupulous in business for the sake of “doing to become wealthy”, as it is quoted above from tractate Niddah.

Perhaps their point is about wealth defined as Ben Zoma describes it, “Who is wealthy? One who is happy with his lot.” (Avos 4:1) The person who cheats in business may actually accumulate more objects, however, “one who has one maneh [a coin worth 100 zuz] wants 200″. Why is he violating G-d’s commandment? Because he doesn’t believe that his portion is given to him by Hashem, and designed to best fit the path Hashem is leading him down. He doesn’t accept “his lot” in life. It is only the person who buys and sells with integrity and turns to Hashem for mercy who will ever be content.

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