Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/231

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Paragraph 1- One who measures or weighs deficiently to his fellow Jew, or even a gentile, violates the biblical comment of “You shall not falsify measurements of size, weight or capacity.”

Paragraph 2- The courts are required to appoint officials who will go around to the stores. If anyone is found to have deficient measurements, weights or balances, the officials are permitted to strike and fine as seems appropriate to the court.

Paragraph 3- A person is prohibited from keeping a deficient weight in his home, even if he does not use it to measure and even to use as a urine pitcher, because someone who is unaware may come and measure with it. If the city has a custom not to measure other than with measurement with a known symbol and this measurement does not have the symbol, he is permitted to keep it.

Paragraph 4- What sizes should the measurements be made? 1 seah, ½ seah, ¼ seah, 1 kav, ½ kav, ¼ kav, 1/8 kav and 1/32 kav. One should not make a 2 kav measurement, however, so that it not get confused with a ¼ seah, which is the equivalent of 1.5 kav. Liquid measurements are made 1 hin, ½ hin, 1/3 hin, ¼ hin, 1 lug, ½ lug, ¼ lug, 1/8 lug and 1/64 lug.

Paragraph 5- One cannot make a leveler from gourd because it is light and bad for the seller. One cannot make it of metal because it is heavy and bad for the buyer. Rather, he should make it from nuts, sycamore or boxwood. He should not make one side thick and the other side narrow. He should not level little by little because that would give the buyer less. He should not level quickly in one shot because that would give the seller less. Rather, he should level one time deliberately.

Paragraph 6- When one measures liquid, he should not do it in a way that the liquid will bubble and appear as if it was full, even if the bubbling was very small and not worth a perutah. He must even out the liquid once the flow stops so that he can pour out three drops. When is this true? With a homeowner-seller. A storekeeper, however, does not need to pour out drops.

Paragraph 7- A wholesaler who purchases a lot at once and sells to storekeepers must clean his liquid measurements that he measures with once every 30 days. A homeowner that does not sell as much only has to clean once every 12 months. A storekeeper who is not required to pour three drops and a lot of liquid gets stuck must clean twice a week.

Paragraph 8- In a place where the custom is to measure with a small measurement, one may not measure with a large one, even if he gives three large measurements for the four small ones. Similarly, in a place where the custom is to measure with large measurements, he may not measure with small ones. In a place where the custom is to heap, he may not level, even if he wants to give him three leveled in place of two heaps. Even in a place where they sell a heaping seah for 3 dinar and he says give me a level seah for 2 dinar, it would be forbidden. Similarly, in a place where the custom is to level, one may not heap.

Paragraph 9- Weights should be made in sizes of 1 litra, ½ litra, ¼ litra. One should not make 1/3 litra, 1/5 litra or ¾ litra because one can mislead with them.

Paragraph 10- One may not make weights from metal, but should make them from hard rock. There are those who say that weights of silver, gold and any dry item can be made from metal if they want. This is indeed the custom for small weights that weigh silver and gold. One should cover it in leather because with any scratching significant damage can occur.

Paragraph 11- One may not cover his weights in salt.

Paragraph 12- A storekeeper who weighs liquid items must clean his weights once a week and must clean his scales after each time he weighs.

Paragraph 13- One’s scales must each be aligned based on what it is. How so? One who sells large lumps of iron or something similar must have the chords of the scales that the person weighing holds in his hand suspended three tefachim in the air and three tefachim off the ground. The length of the lever where the pans of the weights are suspended from both its heads must be 12 tefachim. The length of the chords where the pans are hanging must be 12 tefachim. Scales of wool-salesmen and glass-salesmen must be two tefachim off the ground. The chord where they hang from must be 12 tefachim. The length of the chord and lever must each be nine tefachim. The scales of a storekeeper and homeowner must be one tefach off the ground. The chords that they hang from must be a tefach. The length of the lever and chords must be six tefachim each. Scales of silver-salesmen, gold-salesmen, good purple wool-salesmen and salesmen of other thin items should be three fingerbreadths off the ground. The length of the chord they hang from must be three fingerbreadths. The length of the lever and chord were not given a size and can be whatever they want.

Paragraph 14- In a place where the custom is to tilt, one must tilt one tefach. In a place where the custom is not to tilt, he must weigh exactly. He must add 1/100 for liquid and 1/400 for solid. If he was weighing 10 litra, the buyer may not say weigh each litra by itself with tilt. Rather, he weighs all of them together and one tilt for all of them. If he was weighing ¾ litra for him, the buyer may not say to weigh him each ¼ by itself. Rather, he would weigh a litra for him and place ¼ litra with the meat because if you were to say he should give ½ litra and ¼ litra in one pan, the ¼ litra may fall over and the buyer will not see.

Paragraph 15- If the people in a jurisdiction want to add to their measurements or weights, they may not add more than 1/6. If the kaf was five and they want to make it six they may do so. They may not make it more than six.

Paragraph 16- With respect to measuring real property, regardless of whether brothers or partners are measuring, they must be exact in calculating the measurements based on the science of land division because even one fingerbreadth of real property is viewed as if it has saffron.

Paragraph 17- The four amos that are adjacent to an irrigation channel can be treated lightly when measuring them. The area adjacent to the riverbank is not measured at all because it belongs to the public.

Paragraph 18- If one is measuring real property, he may not measure for one person in the summer and the other in the rainy season because the rope shrinks in the summer. Thus, if he measures with a reed, chain or something similar, there is no issue.

Paragraph 19- The punishment for illegal measures and weights is very severe because it is impossible for one who has measured or weighed falsely to properly repent and it is as if he denies the Exodus.

Paragraph 20- The courts are required to appoint officials on prices so that each person does not profit whatever he wants. A person should not profit on items that are needed to live, such as wine, oil, fine flour, any more than 1/6. When is this true? Where one sells his merchandise together without any burden. With respect to a storekeeper who sells his merchandise little by little, however, we evaluate his burden and all his expenses and add 1/6. When is this true? Where the market rate has not gone up. If the market rate went up, however, he may sell at whatever the rate went up to. This is only true where there is a court that specifies to all sellers to sell at such rate. If everyone sells at whatever he can, however, this person is not required to be the only one selling cheap.

Paragraph 21- If anyone violates the price regulations by selling for what is more than appropriate, the courts are permitted to whip him and punish him accordingly.

Paragraph 22- One may not profit twice from the sale of eggs. The first merchant sells the eggs at a profit, and the one who buys from him sells at the cost he paid. There are those who say one is permitted to profit on eggs up to double what he paid, but no more.

Paragraph 23- One may not engage in commerce in Israel on matters that are needed to live. Rather, this person brings from his threshing floor and sells and this person brings from his threshing and sells, so that it can be sold at a low cost. In a place where oil is abundant, one may profit on oil.

Paragraph 24- One may not hoard fruits that are needed to live in Israel. The same would apply in any area that is majority-Jewish. When is this true? Where one buys from the market. With respect to hoarding what he personally grows, however, he is permitted. In a time of hunger, one may not hoard more than what is needed to support his family for the year.

Paragraph 25- Anyone who price gouges or hoards fruits in Israel or a place that is majority-Jewish is as if he has lent with interest.

Paragraph 26- One may not remove fruits that are needed to live from Israel to the Diaspora or Surya, or from the jurisdiction of one king to another within Israel.

Paragraph 27- The residents of the city may set prices for anything they want and make a condition among them that anyone who violates them should be penalized such and such amount.

Paragraph 28- The individuals in a profession are permitted to implement regulations on their profession, such as by agreeing amongst them that one many not work on a day that other is working or anything similar and that anyone who violates the condition will receive such and such punishment. This that people of a trade may create regulations is where all of them do it together. If only two or three of them create them, however, it would not be effective. When is this true? In a jurisdiction that does not have a prestigious scholar appointed to oversee the public. If they do have such an official, however, their condition or the condition of the people of the city would be of no effect and they would not have the power to punish or cause a loss to anyone who does not fulfill the condition unless they created the regulation with the knowledge of the official. If there is no loss to anyone, however, they may create whatever regulations they want amongst themselves.