Consumer Protection in Jewish Law

The Torah forbids fraud in pricing and in weights and measures. Prophets and sages rail against those who violate these laws.

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The Talmud quotes Rabbi Levi [a third-century sage from the Land of Israel] as declaring that “punishment for [false] measures is more rigorous than for forbidden sexual relations.” This severity, the Talmud explains, derives from the fact that when a merchant consistently uses false measures, he is unable to repent for his wrongdoing, since he can never know the identity of all those he has wronged and therefore cannot make restitution.

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Professor Nahum Rakover, former Deputy Attorney General of the State of Israel, is a leading scholar in the field of Jewish law and has written widely on Jewish legal topics. He compiled The Multi-Language Bibliography of Jewish Law.