Do I Need to Buy My Products From a Jew?
Rav Eliezer Cohen
Case: I buy a lot of supplies for my business. I can buy from a local Jewish hardware store, or from one of the big box stores. The local store has average prices, and the big box stores are cheaper.
Question: Do I need to buy the products from the Jewish store?
Answer: There is a pasuk that says, “Vechi simkiru mimkar l’amisecha oy kana miyad amisecha, al tinu ish es achiv” (When buying or selling to other Jews, don’t overcharge your fellow Jew). Rashi brings a Medrash that asks, why does the Torah say it in this format, that if you are selling or buying from a Jew you shouldn’t overcharge, instead of simply stating, “Don’t overcharge your fellow Jew”? Rashi explains that the Torah is teaching us that we are supposed to buy and sell to Jews and give them preference in order to help support them. This holds true only if the price difference between the two is small.
Question: How much more should I pay to buy from a Jew?
Answer: The Minchas Yitzchok brings multiple opinions. One opinion says that one should pay up to 1/6 more to buy from a Jew. The Chafetz Chaim brings down the same thing as well. This would fit very well with the pasuk, as that pasuk is referring to ona’ah, which means charging a Jew more than 1/6 of the market value for a product.
Sometimes Jewish stores do not have easy return policies, and then one may be stuck with the item if it doesn’t work for him. If that is the case, one has no obligation to buy from the Jewish store.
However, it is very important to try to buy from a Jewish store whenever possible, even if that may cause some slight inconveniences, such as spending a bit more or traveling a bit further.
This month’s shiur has been sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Avigdor Fried, in memory of שלמה בן אביגדור משה ז”ל, מלכה בת משה ע”ה, יצחק יעקב בן אליהו ז”ל, רבקה בת גבריאל חיים ע”ה