Giving Precedence to a Jew
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
There is a value in Jewish Law to do business with a fellow Jews.
Choosing Where to Buy
- There are four opinions as to when a Jew must be given precedence.
- Rabbi Yitzchak Weiss says must choose a Jew even if there is a significant difference in price.
- Chofetz Chaim says you don't have to take a significant loss. What is considered a significant loss? Some say that it is up to one sixth of the price., while others say it depends on what you consider to be a significant amount.
- Others say you only have to give precedence to a Jew if they are equal price.
- It is just a kind deed, but not an obligation to give precedence to a Jew. This position isn't the mainstream one.
- If the non-Jew's store is closer, one should still make an effort to go to the store owned by the Jew.
- This law does not apply to a Jewish retailer as his income is based on him getting the best price. However, if they are the same price, the Jew should be given precedence.
- If there is a Torah Scholar selling goods, nobody is permitted to compete until he sells his goods. This is only true if there are no non-Jews selling, but if there are non-Jews selling, then anyone may sell.
Choosing Who to Hire
- There is an obligation to hire a Jew over a non-Jew. See NY Human Right Laws about the laws about not discriminating between workers based on religion and the relevant Dina D'Malchusa Dina halachot.
- This is an extension of choosing where to buy, so see Choosing Where to Buy for how much one must spend.
- One can use charity funds to pay the difference if hiring a Jew is more expensive.
Choosing Who to Lend
- One must lend a Jew interest free rather than a non-Jew with interest.
- Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Shopping at Jewish Stores
- Rashi Vayikra 25:14 quotes from the Sifra a preference to buy and sell from fellow Jews. Gemora Avoda Zara 20a says if you have a carcass, it is better to give if to a Ger Toshav for free then to sell it to a non-Jew. Gemora Bava Metziah says if you can only lend one person, it is better to lend to a Jew interest free than to a non-Jew with interest
- See source sheet from Rabbi Ari Wasserman
- Chasam Sofer C.M. 134 notes that precedence is given to a Torah observant Jew as the Torah uses the word עֲמִיתֶךָ, your nation who is with you in the performance of mitzvos. Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 1:805 quotes that the Chazon Ish was strict to buy from a Shabbos observant Jew, even if it was further away.
- Minchas Yitzchak 3:129:3 based on a Shut Rama 10 discussing the story of the Maharam Padua's printing of the Rambam where Rama says must buy from the Jew despite the higher cost. Shaarim Hametzuyim Bhalacha (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 62:1 Kuntres Acharon) agrees.
- Sefer Ahavas Chesed 5:5 where he explains that the Rama only meant when it was not a significant amount of money. This is based on Tosfos Avodah Zara s.v. V'Rebbe Meir who explains that the Gemora in Avodah Zara talks specifically about a carcass that doesn't have significant value. Ateret Paz 1:3:10 agrees.
- Teshuvot Vhanhagot 1:805, Ateret Paz 1:3:10 citing Minchat Yitzchak 3:129
- Igrot Moshe YD 3:93
- Shevet Halevi 11:322 and Shut Toafos Reim O.C. 22. Ateret Paz 1:3:10:8 citing Yaskil 4:6:2:8. Maharsham in Mishpat Shalom C.M. 189
- Chikray Lev C.M. 1:139 explains that it is for this reason that the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch never cite this as halachic because it is only a nice deed. This position is supported by the Pesikta Behar. See Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 1:805 and 2:724 where he tries to justify the custom of always searching for the cheapest price by saying it isn't an obligation, but just a kind deed. Ateret Paz 1:3:10 cites the Maharsham in Mishpat Shalom 189 as agreeing.
- Both Tashbetz 3:151 and Sht Rama 10 writes that it is obligatory. Din.org.il summarizes that the consensus of poskim is that it is an obligation.
- Maharm Shik C.M. 31. Rav Shternbach in Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 1:805 notes that the poskim do not discuss how far of a distance one must go, and suggests that it is a Mil just like how far one must go to find a minyan. He does not this is by large or regular purchases, but a one time or small purchase can go to the closer store. Ateret Paz 1:3:10 accepts the distance of a mil.
- Maharam Shik C.M. 31. The same is implied by Chafetz Chaim (Ahavat Chesed 5:5).
- Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 243:4
- Shut Piskay Uziel 48 adds that it is also one of the highest levels of charity to give a fellow Jew a way to earn money and says there is no limit on the cost.
- Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 2:477
- Gemora Bava Metziah 70A
- Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:93) says the Gemora Bava Metziah 70A that says a Jew goes first is only referring to a small amount
- Sefer Ahavas Chesed 5:5 quotes both opinions. Ateret Paz CM 1:3:10:6 writes at length on this topic. He explains that the dispute between these opinions is whether there's a limit to the amount of lost profit one must incur just like there's a limit to actual losses one must incur. He sides with the opinion that there's no limit for a loss of profit which would exempt one from the mitzvah. One proof for this position is the Ritva, Ran, and Tosfot Harosh on Kiddushin 31b that a son isn't obligated to do kibbud av at his own expense and suffer a loss. Yet, he must be ready to loss a profit even if it is very significant. Rama YD 240:8 cites the Ran.