After I left kollel and joined the workforce, it felt strange to that throughout the yeshiva system we had learned the halachos of Shabbos, kashrus, davening, and marriage in depth, but the halachos of business—employing workers, being an employee, sales transactions, commitments, partnerships, etc.—weren’t studied on the same level.
Years later while learning one of the halachos relating to a sales transaction, I saw that the words in the Shulchan Aruch HaRav were “baal nefesh yachmir al atzmo—and sell it for the lower price.” These were the very same words used say for buying an esrog or relating to kashrus! Just as we learn what Hashem wants us to eat or how to daven, He also has rules of how to do business and when one should be stringent.
In addition to making a kiddush Hashem and avoiding a chillul Hashem—Rambam writes this is the greatest height a person can reach—these laws Choshen Mishpat complete the general cycle of life and bring our Creator into what we’re doing most of the hours of the day.
I remember when the weekly pamphlet Business Halacha started. It was fascinating reading the weekly story and using human logic trying to guess what the halachah would be. It’s not as simple as one might think. There are specific rules and general concepts, not simply just about what feels right and makes sense to the human mind.
Living with these halachos throughout the day brings a consciousness of the One above into the mundane part of our lives. It’s the perfect preparation for a time when it says our physical eyes will see Hashem in all of creation. May it happen very soon.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,
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