430. Honesty in Business

61:10 What bracha does one recite when it rains following a drought? If one does not own a field, he says, “We give thanks to You, Hashem our G-d, for each and every drop that You have brought us,” continuing with the prayer “Nishmas” from “Were our mouths to be filled with song” until “May they sanctify and proclaim the sovereignty of Your name, our King.” He concludes, “Blessed are You, the Almighty G-d of many thanks and praise.” If one owns a field jointly with another Jew, he recites haTov vehaMeitiv, that G-d has been good to him and done good things for others. If he does not own the field with a Jewish partner, he says shehechiyanu, even though he may have a family that also benefits. (Mishnah Brurah 221:4 says that if he has a wife or family, he says haTov vehaMeitiv rather than shehechiyanu.) One may recite shehechiyanu or haTov vehaMeitiv even if he did not personally see the rain but merely heard the news of rain from others. The “modim” prayer (“We give thanks…”), however, may only be recited by a person who actually saw the rain.

62:1 Every person must be extremely careful not to take advantage of another person in business. It makes no difference whether one is the buyer or the seller in a transaction; it is equally prohibited to take advantage of the other party. Leviticus 25:14 tells us explicitly, “When you sell anything to your fellow or buy anything from another person’s hand, do not cheat one another.” The Talmud in tractate Shabbos (31a) tells us that the first question we will be asked in the Next World is whether or not we were honest in business.