Moving the boundaries (on Shoftim)
"You shall not move the boundary of your neighbour, which the first ones made his boundary when you inherited the inheritance in the land which the Lord your God has given you to possess it."
In ancient times people would put a stone between their land and their fellow's to ensure that there was no encroachment. This was a way of avoiding boundary disputes. Moving such a stone was a way of stealing the land, and is criminal.
In later years this was extended to other situations. Taking a person's livelihood away from him by setting up a business in competition is one form of what the Rabbis call הסגת גבול Hassagat Gevul or moving the boundaries. This may seem anti-competitive, but is designed to ensure that no person acts unfairly to drive their fellow out of business. In Hendon a supermarket recently opened up next to another and did exactly this. The original shopkeeper was driven out of business because the competition was cleaner and brighter. They were literally next door.
Similar offences would involve changing the terms of a contract without consulting the other party. This is another way of gaining a dishonest advantage. We are supposed to be honest in business.
This week’s article by Jeremy Rosen on Rav Lichtenstein is available from http://jeremyrosen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/rav-lichtenstein-zl.html
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Rabbi Zvi Solomons
The only Orthodox Rabbi in Berkshire