(By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com)
Season’s Supermarket. Chapter Eleven bankruptcy. Rashi on Moshe Rabbeinu’s bracha regarding Shaivet Levi.
What do they have to do with each other?
The pasuk tells us, וּלְלֵוִ֣י אָמַ֔ר תֻּמֶּ֥יךָ וְאוּרֶ֖יךָ לְאִ֣ישׁ חֲסִידֶ֑ךָ אֲשֶׁ֤ר נִסִּיתוֹ֙ בְּמַסָּ֔ה תְּרִיבֵ֖הוּ עַל־מֵ֥י מְרִיבָֽה – “And of Levi he said: Your Thummim and Your Urim be with Your holy one, whom You did prove at Massah…at the waters of Meribah.”
Rashi explains that the tribe of Levi did not complain with the other murmurers.
We see here a remarkable insight. Neither did Shaivet Levi complain nor did they join with other murmurers. There appears to be a special yetzer hara to join in with others in murmuring and complaining.
Shaivet Levi didn’t do that. They remained davuk bashem. Many meforshim explain that it was because of this quality that they earned the Urim v’Tumim and the title of ish chasidecha.
We are now right after the elevation and purification of the aseres yemei teshuvah. We are about to enter into Hashem’s inner sanctum according to the Nesivos Shalom. “HeviAni HaMelech Chadarav – The King has brought me into His inner room (Shir HaShirim 1:4).” The Sukkah’s holiness is a revelation of Hashem’s intense love for His people – a love comparable to the love demonstrated when He was with us in the Bais HaMikdash itself.
In regard to Seasons, let’s try to be the Shaivet Levi here.
Seasons did run into some difficulties. They did file for bankruptcy. But, Boruch Hashem, they were able to secure what is called DIP financing. They have restocked their shelves and by Wednesday they should be fully restocked. Both Chrysler and General Motors obtained this type of financing and they have emerged as healthy entities.
LET’S SHOP FROM THERE
Let’s make our best effort to support them and to shop there. We should do this for a number of reasons:
- There are many frum employees that work for Seasons.
- There are numerous frum vendors, investors, and creditors who will avoid serious losses if Seasons becomes successful again.
- The owners and investors are community minded people who give heart and soul to Klal Yisroel’s needs. They do so without fanfare.
There is a fourth reason too. Rashi (Vayikra 25:14) cites a Sifra (Parashas Behar, 3): “From where do we know that when one makes a purchase, he should purchase from his fellow? The pasuk therefore tells us “v’chi sikneh m’yad amisecha or when you purchase, from the hand of your fellow.”
What might be the reasons for this mitzvah? A cursory examination will reveal three fundamental issues: (1) It is an expression of the mitzvah of Ve’ahavta lerei‘acha kamocha, loving thy neighbor as thyself; (2) It supports our mosdos and economy; and (3) it creates a stronger bond among Klal Yisroel.
This mitzvah of ki sikneh miyad amisecha is cited by numerous halachic authorities: the Sefer HaChinuch (end of mitzvah #337), the Chofetz Chaim in Ahavas Chesed (5:7), the Rama in his Responsa (#10), and the Chasam Sopher (C.M. V #79), among many other authorities (Tashbatz Vol. III #151; Maharam Shick C.M. #31; Minchas Yitzchok III #129).
What happens if, from a logistical perspective, we encounter difficulties? The mitzvah applies even if it is more difficult to make the purchase at an establishment owned by one’s fellow than at one owned by other vendors (Maharam Shick, C.M. #31). Thus, distance, a lack of adequate parking, and just general inconvenience – are not factors that exempt one from the mitzvah.
WHAT ABOUT PRICE?
Most authorities (Rama, Tashbatz, Chofetz Chaim) rule that the obligation to purchase miyad amisecha exists even if his price for the item is higher than that of the other vendor. There is a distinction, however, when there is a significant difference in the price.
When the price of the other vendors is significantly less, some authorities rule that there is no obligation to purchase miyad amisecha. Other authorities rule that even in such a case one must still do so (Minchas Yitzchok’s reading of the Rama).
Certainly if the fellow citizen is having difficulty making ends meet, all would agree that one must purchase from him even if there is a significant difference in price (Ahavas Chesed 6:10).
The Ahavas Chessed was written by no less an authority than the Chofetz Chaim. There is no question that Seasons would fit into the Chofetz Chaim’s criterion here. This is not to take away from any of the other excellent stores that service our community. But if we can redirect our shopping away from some of the bigger national superstore chains that will go along way. May we all share in the Yom tov of zman simchasainu where those that are struggling will also see yeshuos venechamos too!
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