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Conducting business with soul

חנות ירקות עם אמונה

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Yehuda Ehrenfeld, who operates a chain of fresh produce stores, wrote yesterday as follows:

"In the northern city of Rekhasim, a new fresh produce store with outstanding prices has opened, in direct competition with me. Over the past few days I have received messages such as "Aren't you concerned? How will you react?" My first instinct was to get upset and to fight, to speak with the suppliers of the new store, to lower my prices to the floor, and all sorts of other things that darken the soul.

But then I felt that this is not what the Creator of the universe wants from two Jews who only desire to support their families. The Creator can certainly take care of both of us. So I found the telephone number of the new store owner, whose name is Oded, and introduced myself as general manager of the 'Katuf' stores. I sent him my best wishes for success in his new store since I have no doubt whatsoever that each of us will have his own customers.

No, I am not so righteous. I just recalled that this was how I was treated in the past when the shoe was on the other foot. Two years ago, I opened my first branch in the city of El'ad, the home of Yisrael Greenfeld, who used the same concept as I did to sell produce. In the midst of conducting a massive advertising campaign in El'ad, I received a message from him and I could not believe what I read: 'Mazal tov on the opening of your store. I am reducing my own advertising in the coming weeks in order not to take the spotlight away from you.' People told me that this was a trick and they did not trust what I had been told. But Greenfeld explained to me that he truly believed that there is always plenty for everyone. Today, incidentally, he and I are business associates.

I will conclude with the blessing that Moshe Rabbeinu gave upon completion of construction of the Mishkan: 'May it be God's will that the Divine Presence rest in the work of your hands.' If only all of us could earn our livelihood in such a manner, displaying mutual respect toward one another."

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