A Question for After 120
By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim
“You shall not commit a perversion of justice with measures, weights, or liquid measures. You shall have true scales, true weights…. I am the Lord, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19, 35-36.) This verse in Parshat Kedoshim speaks of the imperative of being honest and upfront in one’s business dealings.
The Talmud (Shabbat 31a) states that one of the first questions we will be asked when we leave this world, after 120 years is: Did you conduct your business dealings with Emunah (faith or faithfulness)? The simple meaning is obvious. We will be asked whether we were honest and faithful in our business dealings.
A number of Rabbis with a deeper understanding of this explain Talmudic text. The question is not simply whether we dealt faithfully in business but, rather, whether our business dealings were done with faith in God. Did we understand and believe that our successes and failures in our business endeavors were in the hands of God? Did we truly believe that our livelihood was dependent upon God? Did we believe that every person got what he/she needed to accomplish his/her spiritual task on Earth? These are the questions that will be asked of us after our 120 year sojourn on planet Earth.
When one begins to consider the matter more deeply, one realizes that the simple understanding of the Talmud and the deeper understanding of the Talmud are, in fact, strongly correlated. When one truly believes that God is watching over us, that our livelihoods are dependent upon Him alone, and that we will all be blessed according to what is, indeed, best for us, then honesty and integrity in business follows naturally. It is then obvious to us that dishonesty will not benefit us in any way. We become acutely aware that only honest gains carry God’s divine blessing.
Friends, let us together work on infusing our business dealings with faith in God and, thereby, manifest faithfulness, honesty, and integrity towards our fellow man/woman.