The Torah Portion Ki Teitzei has many interesting nuggets, but I am particularly drawn to the command of righteous business. We find the following passage of Scripture in Deuteronomy 25:13-16 (Stone Chumash):

You shall not have in your pouch a weight and a weight – a large one and a small one. You shall not have in your house a measure and a measure – a large one and a small one. A perfect and honest weight shall you have, a perfect and honest measure shall you have, so that your days shall be lengthened on the Land that HaShem, your G-d, gives you. For an abomination of HaShem, your G-d, are all who do this, all who act corruptly.

The P’shat (or simple) interpretation of these verses tells us that when we do business with others, we are not to cheat with weights. A person who uses a large weight when he purchases would receive a large quantity of goods. If this same person uses a small weight when he sells, then the purchaser would get less than what he deserved. This is corrupt business. We are to deal honestly, or in other words, righteously in business transactions. The promise attached to this command is lengthened days. The negative is to be an abomination to G-d.

How often do we carry around two weights and cheat our brothers and sisters of G-d’s goods, specifically His mercy and forgiveness? When we look into someone’s life, we can make the mistake of not using a righteous measurement. Is it our standard of measurement? Or is it the L-rd’s that we use?

We may see a shortcoming or a sin in a person’s life, and without hesitation we equate a heavy weight, a huge block of cement, to that sin. Yet, the very shortcoming or sin in our own lives, we excuse and equate it to a light weight, a pebble – a pebble that we are sure G-d overlooks because our own sin doesn’t carry as much weight. In fact, sometimes it is so light, we don’t even know it is there.

Let’s take a look at what Yeshua says on the matter of judgment and we will see another example of righteous measurement. In Matthew 7:1-5 (AENT), it says:

You should not judge that you be not judged. For by the judgment that you judge, you will be judged. And by the measure that you measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you see the twig that is in the eye of your brother, and you not observe the beam that is in your eye? Or how do you say to your brother, Allow me to remove the twig from your eye, and behold a beam is in your eye? Hypocrite! First remove the beam from your eye, and then decide for yourself to remove the twig from the eye of your brother.

Here Yeshua explains that if we judge with our own judgment, the same judgment will come back to us. Likewise, whatever measurement we use will be measured to us. So there is a warning to be careful not to use our own judgment. Reading further, Yeshua states a condition to judging which requires that we have a mirror handy. He says to first remove the beam – or pebble as in the comparison above – out of our own eye, before removing the twig – or block of cement as in the comparison above – out of our brother’s eye. It is interesting how Yeshua makes note of the larger object “beam” being the flaw we don’t see, or ignore; yet we clearly see the twig, the smaller object, as if it carried more weight.

When we cheat our brother of G-d’s goods of mercy and forgiveness, we need to ask ourselves, why do we place a heavier weight on our brother than we put on ourselves? Do we believe our L-rd pours out any less mercy or forgiveness to our brother?

The L-rd’s judgment is righteous and perfectly measured. That is the judgment we should bring forth, first examining ourselves before considering our brother’s ways. Our shortcoming may be identical to our brother’s, just wrapped in a different package. And most assuredly, an error in how we judge will come back to us. It may be a merciful “aha” moment when we have not spoken or acted upon it. However, when we move on our judgment and cause offense, we may then find ourselves begging for G-d’s mercy or forgiveness – the same of which we didn’t extend. I like to think sometimes the L-rd has a sense of humor in showing us our error. A mirror is a wonderful tool.

Let us empty our pockets of the various stones we carry. Let us walk with one stone, one foundation, G-d’s righteousness … and keep a mirror in our pocket. Just don’t break it.