Tilting The Scales
Last Shabbat, my son and I were learning a Mishnah in Bava Batra (5:11), which discusses selling items by weight.
The Mishnah says that beyond the highly stressed obligation to make sure that the weights are accurate, the seller (on any purchase larger than 1 liter) actually has to tilt the scales 1 tefach in favor of the buyer.
This ensures that the buyer gets everything they purchased, as it’s possible that the measuring cup has accumulated residue on its sides, or because some of the produce will stick to the sides of the measuring cup when pouring it out into a vessel.
I think this is an important point to internalize in a broader sense, when discussing all negotiations, and especially around those dealing with checks and balances.
We need to find a balance – between left and right, between the courts and the knesset, between “our” wants and “their wants”. And we need to do our best to make sure that the end result is really balanced.
But then we need to say “You know what? Maybe I’m not really being fair. Let me give just a little bit more.”
I think this small gesture, tipping our scales ever so slightly towards the other, could make a world of difference when applied on a grand scale.