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|BAVA METZIA 60 - (24 Cheshvan) - dedicated by Dr. Moshe and Rivkie Snow in memory of Rivkie's father, the Manostrishtcher Rebbe, Hagaon Rav Yitzchak Yoel ben Harav Gedaliah Aharon Rabinowitz Ztz"l, Rav of Kehilas Nachalas Yehoshua in Canarsie, NY. A personification of the Torah scholar of old, the Ukranian-born Rebbe lived most of his life in the United States where his warm ways changed many lives.|
If someone sells produce from one field he may not mix in produce from another field and certainly if he is selling aged produce he may not mix in new produce even if the new produce is more expensive. (1)
If someone is selling hard wine he may mix in soft wine if the wine is still in the wine press because it improves the wine. (2)
R. Acha says in a place where the customers taste the wine before they buy it is permitted to mix in the soft wine into the hard wine even if the wine is no longer in the wine press.
R. Yehudah says a person who is selling wine may not mix in sediment from a different barrel but he may mix in sediment from the same barrel
One may not sell in his store wine mixed with water in unless he notifies the customers and he may not sell it to a merchant even if he notified him because he is only buying it in order to cheat people with it.
In a place where it is the Minhag to do so a person may mix in water with his wine while it is still in the wine press, if the Minhag is to mix in 50% water or 33% water or 25% water he may do whatever the Minhag is.
A merchant may mix up produce from five different fields and he may mix up wine from five different wine presses as long as he is not intentionally trying to fool people. (3)
R. Yehudah says a storekeeper may not distribute toasted wheat and nuts to children because it will take away business from his competitors, while the Chachamim hold it is permitted because the competitors can do the same thing.
R. Yehudah says that a store keeper may not sell below the market price, while the Chachamim hold that it is a good thing because it will drive the prices down.
Abba Sha'ul says it is forbidden for a storekeeper to sift chopped peas because he will charge an exorbitant price as a result, while R. Acha holds that it is permitted because the customer can see it for himself and decide if it is worth the money.
R. Acha agrees that it is forbidden for a merchant to sift only the top section of the grain that is visible to the eye because his purpose is to deceive.
It is forbidden to give a face-lift to an old servant, animal or utensil that is for sale in order to make it look new, but it is permitted if it is new and he is only trying to make it look better.
It is forbidden for a merchant to cause the hair of an animal to stand on its end and it is forbidden to blow up the innards of an animal or to soak meat in water.
A BIT MORE
1. Aged produce is better than new produce and the only reason new produce is sometimes more expensive because at times a person wants new produce because he wants to store it for a while.
2. While the wine is still in the press it doesn't yet have its final flavor therefore when the soft wine is mixed in the flavors fuse into one flavor.
3. As long as he is not intentionally buying most of his produce from one field that produces superior produce so that it will become known that his produce is top quality and than he will mix in some inferior produce from a different field.
R. Acha agrees that it is forbidden for a merchant to sift only the top section of the grain that is visible to the eye because it is tantamount to deception. The Tosfos Yom Tov explains that the Mishnah states that it is only tantamount to deception because it is forbidden even if the seller notifies the buyer that he sifted only the top section because the buyer will still be influenced by the fact that he sees the sifted produce on the top and therefore its is Geneivas Da'as.
UNFAIR BUSINESS PARCTICES
It is permitted to sift the bad from the good of peas or legumes if that they will look good because it is something that is apparent to the onlooker and the buyer can see for himself and decide how much more it is worth as a result that it was sifted. However, he may not sift the top part only and leave the bottom part with the bad mixed in with the good. It is permitted for a storekeeper to distribute toasted wheat and nuts to children in order to attract customers and he may sell produce at an under the market value rate so that people will buy from him and his competitors may not stop him from doing so. (Shulchan Aruch CM 228:17, 18)
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