Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Consumer Protection

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

And Avraham rose from beside his dead and spoke to the Bínei Cheth saying, ďÖSell me property for a burial place.Ē (Bereshith 23:3, 4)

The Zohar discusses Avrahamís approach to purchasing the burial plot at length, explaining business techniques that we can learn from this encounter. Avraham realized that if he would have spoken directly to Efron (the owner of the plot he wanted) first, showing Efron that he was interested in buying a specific piece of land for Sarahís burial, Efron would have driven the price considerably higher before consenting to sell it. This is why Avraham initiated his dealings with the Bínei Cheth, the residents of the city. Once the Bínei Cheth agreed that Avraham should have the plot he sought, Efron no longer had the upper hand in the bargaining, and he was not in a position to ask an exorbitant price for his land (1).

How ethical was Avrahamís approach in this instance? Wasnít he on some level tricking Efron into selling the land for a cheaper price? The Zohar tells us that Avrahamís behavior was proper and even praiseworthy. Knowing that Efron was money-hungry, Avraham took action to save himself from being swindled. Had Efron realized initially how much his land was worth to Avraham, he certainly would have demanded an exorbitant price, confident that Avraham would have paid him what he asked. The fact that someone wants or needs a certain item, even if it has tremendous sentimental value, does not give the seller the right to charge a higher price for it. Avraham had every right to protect himself (2).

When faced with similar situations, we are allowed to take steps to protect our financial interests. When Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld was missing the Tractate Eruvin from his set of Gemara, he realized that if he asked for that particular volume in a bookstore, it was likely that the storekeeper would charge him double or triple its actual worth. He therefore entered a store and asked if the storekeeper had an individual volume of Gemara Brachoth for sale. The storekeeper replied that he didnít, but that he did have a single copy of Gemara Eruvin, and since he didnít think Rav Zonenfeld wanted that volume, he offered it at a low price. In this case, Rav Zonenfeld was not cheating the storekeeper; rather he was preventing himself from being cheated, and his behavior is considered completely honest (3).


1. Zohar 127a.
2. Heard from Rav Tzvi Shpitz.
3. Hizharu BíMamon Chavrechem, p. 198.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Father-on-Loan
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

A New Outlook
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5763

ArtScroll

To Be Chosen Again
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Pesach Questions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

The Eternal Impact of the Exodus
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5763

> Relating the Chain of Events: Part 2
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

What's With the Number Four?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Worth the Struggle
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Great Shabbos
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

The Servants of G-d
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Ha Lachma Anya
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Pesach Selections
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

The Missing Question
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

All Alone
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Hagadah Shel Pesach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information