It is forbidden for a seller or a purchaser to take unfair advantage of a colleague, as Leviticus 25:14 states: "When you sell an entity to your colleague or purchase an entity from a colleague, one man should not take unfair advantage of his brother."

Even though such a person transgresses a negative commandment, he is not punished by lashes, because the funds can be returned. Whether the person intentionally deceived his colleague or did not know that this transaction involved taking unfair advantage, he is obligated to pay the unwarranted gain.


אָסוּר לַמּוֹכֵר אוֹ לַקּוֹנֶה לְהוֹנוֹת אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כה יד) "וְכִי תִמְכְּרוּ מִמְכָּר לַעֲמִיתֶךָ אוֹ קָנֹה מִיַּד עֲמִיתֶךָ אַל תּוֹנוּ". וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּתָּן לְהִשָּׁבוֹן. וּבֵין שֶׁהוֹנָה בְּמֵזִיד בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא יָדַע שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּמֶכֶר זֶה הוֹנָיָה חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם:


How much unfair gain must there be in a transaction for the one who profits to be required to return it? An even sixth.

What is implied? If a person sold an article worth six zuz for five, or for seven, or one worth five zuz for six, or one worth seven zuz for six, it is considered to be unfair gain. The transaction is completed, and the person who profited is required to return the entire amount of unfair gain to the one who suffered the loss.


וְכַמָּה תְּהֵא הוֹנָיָה וְיִהְיֶה חַיָּב לְהָשִׁיב. שְׁתוּת בְּשָׁוֶה. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁמָּכַר שְׁוֵה שֵׁשׁ בְּחָמֵשׁ. אוֹ שְׁוֵה שֶׁבַע בְּשֵׁשׁ. אוֹ שְׁוֵה חָמֵשׁ בְּשֵׁשׁ. אוֹ שְׁוֵה שֵׁשׁ בְּשֶׁבַע. הֲרֵי זֶה הוֹנָיָה וְנִקְנֶה הַמִּקָּח וְחַיָּב הַמְאַנֶּה לְשַׁלֵּם אֶת הַהוֹנָיָה וּלְהַחֲזִירָהּ כֻּלָּהּ לַמִּתְאַנֶּה:


If the unfair gain was even the slightest amount less than that - e.g., the person sold an article worth sixty dinarim for fifty dinarim and a p'rutah, he is not required to return anything. For it is common for people to waive any loss less than one sixth of the article's value.


הָיְתָה הַהוֹנָיָה פָּחוֹת מִזֶּה בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא. כְּגוֹן שֶׁמָּכַר שְׁוֵה שִׁשִּׁים דִּינָר בַּחֲמִשִּׁים וּפְרוּטָה. אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר כְּלוּם. שֶׁכָּל פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁתוּת דֶּרֶךְ הַכּל לִמְחל בּוֹ:


If the unfair gain was even the slightest amount more than one sixth - e.g., one sold an object worth 60 dinarim for 50 minus a p'rutah, the transaction is nullified. The purchaser may return the object without the transaction being completed at all.

The person who took the unfair gain, however, is not entitled to retract if the purchaser desires and seeks to maintain possession of the article, even though the transaction is nullified. The person who received the unfair gain is not obligated to return it unless the unfair gain exceeds a p'rutah. If the unfair gain was exactly a p'rutah], he is not obligated to return it, because the laws of ona'ah do not apply with regard to a p'rutah.


הָיְתָה הַהוֹנָיָה יְתֵרָה עַל הַשְּׁתוּת בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא. כְּגוֹן שֶׁמָּכַר שְׁוֵה שִׁשִּׁים בַּחֲמִשִּׁים פָּחוֹת פְּרוּטָה. בָּטֵל מִקָּח. וְהַמִּתְאַנֶּה יָכוֹל לְהַחְזִיר הַחֵפֶץ וְלֹא יִקְנֶה כְּלָל. אֲבָל הַמְאַנֶּה אוֹתוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר אִם רָצָה זֶה וְקִבֵּל. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבָּטַל הַמִּקָּח. אֵין הַמְאַנֶּה חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר עַד שֶׁתִּהְיֶה הַהוֹנָיָה יֶתֶר עַל פְּרוּטָה. הָיְתָה פְּרוּטָה בְּשָׁוֶה אֵינוֹ מַחְזִיר שֶׁאֵין הוֹנָיָה לִפְרוּטוֹת:


Until when does the purchaser have the right to demand the return of the unfair gain or the nullification of the transaction? Until he has time to show the article to a merchant or to a relative. If he waits longer, even if he purchased an article worth 100 zuz for 200, he may not nullify the transaction.


עַד מָתַי יִהְיֶה לוֹ לַחְזֹר וְלִתְבֹּעַ הַהוֹנָיָה אוֹ לְבַטֵּל הַמִּקָּח. עַד כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּרְאֶה לְתַגָּר אוֹ לִקְרוֹבוֹ. וְאִם שָׁהָה יוֹתֵר מִזֶּה אֲפִלּוּ לָקַח שְׁוֵה מֵאָה בְּמָאתַיִם אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר:


With regard to whom does the above apply? To a purchaser. For the article he purchased is in his possession, and it is common for him to show it to others.

The seller, by contrast, always has the opportunity to demand the return of the unfair gain. Needless to say, this applies with regard to the nullification of the sale. For he does not know the correct price of the article he sold until he sees a comparable article being sold. Accordingly, if the merchandise was a standard article that does not vary -e.g., peppers, or the like - he is given merely the time it takes to check the current market price.


בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּלוֹקֵחַ שֶׁהֲרֵי הַמִּקָּח בְּיָדוֹ וּמַרְאֵהוּ. אֲבָל הַמּוֹכֵר חוֹזֵר בְּהוֹנָיָה לְעוֹלָם. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בְּבִטּוּל מִקָּח שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ דְּמֵי זֶה שֶׁמָּכַר עַד שֶׁיִּרְאֶה כְּמוֹתוֹ שֶׁנִּמְכַּר בַּשּׁוּק. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיָה הַמִּקָּח דָּבָר שֶׁאֵין בְּמִינוֹ שִׁנּוּי וְהוּא כֻּלּוֹ שָׁוֶה כְּגוֹן פִּלְפְּלִין וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר אֶלָּא עַד כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּשְׁאַל עַל שַׁעַר שֶׁבַּשּׁוּק בִּלְבַד:


Similarly, if it is known that an article comparable to the one he sold came into the seller's possession, he realized that he had erred regarding the initial sale, but he did not protest, he can no longer protest, for he has already waived his claim.


וְכֵן אִם נוֹדַע שֶׁבָּא לְיָדוֹ כְּמִמְכָּרוֹ וְיָדַע שֶׁטָּעָה וְלֹא תָּבַע אֵינוֹ יוּכַל לַחְזֹר וְלִתְבֹּעַ שֶׁהֲרֵי מָחַל:


Just as the laws of ona'ah apply with regard to an ordinary person, so too, they apply with regard to a merchant, although he is knowledgeable concerning prices.

Just as the laws of ona'ah apply with regard to produce and animals, so too, they apply with regard to coins.


כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהוֹנָיָה לְהֶדְיוֹט כָּךְ הוֹנָיָה לְתַגָּר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא בָּקִי. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהוֹנָיָה בְּפֵרוֹת וּבִבְהֵמָה כָּךְ יֵשׁ דִּין הוֹנָיָה בְּמַטְבְּעוֹת:


What is implied? If a golden dinar was valued at 24 silver dinarim, and it was exchanged for 20 dinarim or 28 dinarim, the unfair gain must be returned. If the unfair gain was more than that, the exchange is nullified. If it is less than that, it is considered as if the other party waived his right to that money.


כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁהָיָה דִּינָר שֶׁל זָהָב בְּעֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה דִּינָר שֶׁל כֶּסֶף וְצֵרְפָה בְּעֶשְׂרִים דִּינָר אוֹ בְּעֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁמוֹנָה הֲרֵי זֶה מַחְזִיר אֶת הַהוֹנָיָה. הָיָה יָתֵר עַל זֶה בָּטֵל הַצֵּרוּף. פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן מְחִילָה:


Similarly, if a sela was lacking a sixth of its weight, and sela'im were being exchanged by number, rather than by weight, the unfair gain should be returned.


וְכֵן אִם הָיָה הַסֶּלַע חֲסֵרָה שְׁתוּת וְהָיוּ מוֹצִיאִין הַסְּלָעִים בְּמִנְיָן וְלֹא בְּמִשְׁקָל מַחְזִיר הַהוֹנָיָה:


Until when is the recipient obligated to return a dinar or a sela'im large cities, the amount of time necessary to show the coin to a money-changer. In villages, where a money-changer is not frequently found, until the end of the week. The rationale is that only a money-changer recognizes sela'im, whether they are lacking, and their worth.

Similar concepts apply with regard to sellers of books, and sellers of gems and pearls. The purchaser has the right to retract if the seller took unfair advantage of him until he has time to show the article he purchased to a merchant who is expert in such matters, wherever such an expert may be found. For not everyone is expert in the appraisal of such matters.

Therefore, if there was no expert available in that country, and after a considerable amount of time the purchaser took the object to another place, or an expert came and stated that the price was in error, the purchaser may retract.


עַד מָתַי חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר הַדִּינָר אוֹ הַסֶּלַע. בַּכְּרַכִּים עַד כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּרְאֶה לַשֻּׁלְחָנִי. בִּכְפָרִים שֶׁאֵין הַשֻּׁלְחָנִי מָצוּי שָׁם יֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַחְזִיר עַד עַרְבֵי שַׁבָּתוֹת. שֶׁאֵין מַכִּיר הַסֶּלַע וְחֶסְרוֹנָהּ וְדָמֶיהָ אֶלָּא הַשֻּׁלְחָנִי. וְהוּא הַדִּין לְמוֹכֵר סְפָרִים אֲבָנִים טוֹבוֹת וּמַרְגָּלִיּוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לַלּוֹקֵחַ לַחְזֹר עַד שֶׁיַּרְאֶה אוֹתָם לְתַגָּרִים הַבְּקִיאִים בָּהֶן בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁהֵן. שֶׁאֵין הַכּל בְּקִיאִים בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם לֹא הָיָה מַכִּיר בְּאוֹתָהּ מְדִינָה וְהוֹלִיךְ הַמִּקָּח לְמָקוֹם אַחֵר. אוֹ שֶׁבָּא הַבָּקִי לְאַחַר זְמַן מְרֻבֶּה וְהוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁטָּעָה. הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹזֵר:


The following rules apply when a person gives a sela that is lacking in weight to a colleague. Should he be able to identify it, even after twelve months, the recipient may return it. If it will be accepted as currency, albeit with difficulty, the recipient may not return it after a lengthy time has passed, unless the giver accepts it as an expression of commitment beyond the measure of the law.


הַנּוֹתֵן סֶלַע חֲסֵרָה לַחֲבֵרוֹ אִם הָיָה מַכִּירָהּ אֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ הֲרֵי זֶה מַחְזִירָהּ. וְאִם הָיָה אֶפְשָׁר לְהוֹצִיאָהּ עַל יְדֵי הַדְּחָק אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַחְזִירָהּ לְאַחַר זְמַן אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן קִבְּלָהּ מִמֶּנּוּ בְּמִדַּת חֲסִידוּת:


The following rules apply in a situation where a person sold a colleague an article worth four zuz for five. As mentioned above, ordinarily, the transaction would be nullified. In this instance, however, before the purchaser had the opportunity to show the article to a merchant or to a relative, its price rose to seven zuz. The purchaser has the right to retract, and not the seller. For the purchaser will tell the seller: "If you had not taken unfair advantage of me, you would not have the right to retract. Now, because you have taken unfair advantage, do you think you should have the right to retract? Should a sinner receive reward?"


הַמּוֹכֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ שְׁוֵה אַרְבַּע בְּחָמֵשׁ שֶׁהֲרֵי הַמִּקָּח בָּטֵל כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ וְלֹא הִסְפִּיק לְהַרְאוֹת לְתַגָּר אוֹ לִקְרוֹבוֹ עַד שֶׁהוּקַר וְעָמַד בְּשֶׁבַע. לוֹקֵחַ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ וְלֹא הַמּוֹכֵר. שֶׁהֲרֵי הַלּוֹקֵחַ אוֹמֵר לַמּוֹכֵר אִלּוּ לֹא הוֹנֵיתַנִי לֹא הָיִיתָ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר וְעַתָּה שֶׁהוֹנֵיתַנִי תַּחְזֹר הֵיאַךְ יִהְיֶה הַחוֹטֵא נִשְׂכָּר:


Similarly, if one sold an object worth five zuz for four, and then its value decreased to three, the seller has the right to retract and not the purchaser. For the seller will tell the purchaser: "By deceiving me, you did not gain the right to retract."


וְכֵן מוֹכֵר שֶׁמָּכַר שְׁוֵה חָמֵשׁ בְּאַרְבַּע וְזָל וְעָמַד בְּשָׁלֹשׁ. מוֹכֵר יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ וְלֹא לוֹקֵחַ. שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר לוֹ הַמּוֹכֵר לַלּוֹקֵחַ לֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוֹנֵיתַנִי תַּחְזֹר בְּךָ:


If a person sold an article worth five zuz for six, and before the purchaser had the opportunity to show the article to a merchant, its value increased to eight, the seller is obligated to return the zuz of unfair gain. For the transaction is completed and the seller is obligated to reimburse the purchaser for the unfair gain. When the article increased in value afterwards, it increased in value while in the possession of the purchaser.

Similarly, if a person sold an article worth six zuz for five and its value decreased to three, the purchaser is obligated to return the zuz of unfair gain. For the transaction is completed, and the article decreased in value while in the possession of the purchaser.


הַמּוֹכֵר שְׁוֵה חָמֵשׁ בְּשֵׁשׁ וְלֹא הִסְפִּיק לְהַרְאוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁהוּקַר וְעָמַד בִּשְׁמוֹנֶה. הֲרֵי הַמּוֹכֵר חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר הָאַחַת שֶׁל הוֹנָיָה שֶׁהֲרֵי נִקְנָה הַמִּקָּח וְחַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר וּכְשֶׁהוֹקִיר בִּרְשׁוּת לוֹקֵחַ הוּקַר. וְכֵן אִם מָכַר שָׁוֶה שֵׁשׁ בְּחָמֵשׁ וְהוּזְלוּ וְעָמְדוּ עַל שָׁלֹשׁ. הֲרֵי הַלּוֹקֵחַ חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר סֶלַע אַחַת שֶׁל הוֹנָיָה. שֶׁהֲרֵי נִקְנָה הַמִּקָּח וּבִרְשׁוּת הַלּוֹקֵחַ הוּזַל: