All in the Family

Friday, 20 May, 2022 - 7:49 am

In the Torah’s laws against usury and cheating we find an interesting verse in this week’s Parsha of Behar. “And when you make a sale to your fellow Jew or make a purchase from the hand of your fellow Jew, one man shall not wrong his brother.”

There are many details to the laws of interest and ethical business dealings. What’s strange here, however, is the end of the verse. Why is the Torah saying, “One man shall not wrong his brother?”  The Torah already included everyone by saying “your fellow.”


Perhaps there is a greater lesson here as parents, children and extended family members.

It seems that we often put a little extra financial burden on family members.  We would not dare expect a stranger to put up with our stretching a deal to make it more favorable for ourselves.  But if it’s entering into a joint family business or dividing an inheritance, we might be less scrupulous about fairness.  After all, it’s my own parents, who have an obligation to support me.  We may make a calculation about our own commitment to the family business that surpasses other family members.

The Torah is warning us, “Treat family as well as you’d treat others, if not better!”

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