Mishlei Appendix 01 – Commerce
Weights and Measures
“Having a deceitful hand makes the man a pauper,
but having a diligent hand of honest dealings will enrich him.”
[Mishlei 10-04] Dishonesty. In commerce, a vendor’s deceitful hand, which cheats the customer by falsifying weights, ultimately has the opposite effect, causing that vendor to become a pauper. But a vendor’s hard-working hand, which practices honest dealings, will enrich him.
“Deceptive balance-scales are an abomination to Hashem,
but a perfect weight pleases Him.”
[Mishlei 11-01] Integrity. Effective commerce depends on personal integrity and trust. If an individual violates this trust by falsifying the weights and measures that are used in conducting trade, he is betraying Hashem’s plan for the development of society.
“The scale and just balances are Hashem’s;
His is the workmanship of all the measuring weights in the pouch.”
[Mishlei 16-11] Participation. To emphasize the importance of integrity in business, Mishlei advises us to think of Hashem as being actively involved in every transaction. Nothing is secret from Him. Even the instruments of commerce that we use to negotiate and complete the exchange ultimately belong to Him.
“A stone and a stone, a measure and a measure,
even both are an abomination to Hashem.”
[Mishlei 20-10] Deception. People who practice deception in commerce are using underhanded methods to take advantage of others. The deceivers are demonstrating a conviction that they are justified in what they do because of their superiority. Such an attitude is hated by Hashem and is considered by Him as an abomination.
“Two different weights are an abomination to Hashem,
and fraudulent weights are an abomination in His eyes.”
[Mishlei 20-23] Duality. Having two weights that are different is a metaphor for a deceptive person who presents different faces to the world, pretending to be one personality to some and a different personality to others.