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רמבם, הלכות מתנות עניים י:ז

שמנה מעלות יש בצדקה זו למעלה מזו, מעלה גדולה שאין למעלה ממנה זה המחזיק ביד ישראל שמך ונותן לו מתנה או הלואה או עושה עמו שותפות או ממציא לו מלאכה כדי לחזק את ידו עד שלא יצטרך לבריות לשאול, ועל זה נאמר והחזקת בו

ויקרא כה, לה "וכי ימוך אחיך ומטה ידו עמך והחזקת בו, גר ותושב וחי עמך". ופירוש רש"י, והחזקת בו, אל תניחהו שירד ויפול ויהיה קשה להקימו, אלא חזקהו משעת מוטת היד וממשיך שם ומנין שאם החזקת בו אפילו ד' או ה' פעמים חזור והחזק בו - ת"ל: והחזקת בו.

There is a Mitzva of "VeHechzakta Bo" supporting and helping our brethren and making sure they do not become a Tzedaka case. Is price an issue? Are you required to pay more and still purchase the same item from a Jew? How much more would you be required to pay in order to help someone stay in business?

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A reference to the source for the Mitzva you're citing would be helpful. – Isaac Moses Mar 10 '11 at 3:42
Sifri (Behar 29) derives this from a different verse, וכי תמכרו ממכר לעמיתך או קנה מיד עמיתך (Lev. 25:14), and it's cited in Rashi to that verse. I don't know of anywhere where this is associated with והחזקת בו. – Alex Mar 10 '11 at 5:46
@Gershon, even with the edit, there's some kind of disconnect here. והחזקת בו and Rashi there are saying that if a Jew is starting to experience financial difficulties, you should support him, such as by lending him money so he can stay in business (hence the relevance of the next verse, warning against taking interest on such a loan). It's not really saying anything about buying from him. More to the point, though, would you say that there's no mitzvah to prefer doing business with a Jew if he's doing well financially? Whereas from the Sifri I cited it's clear that there's no difference. – Alex Mar 10 '11 at 17:36
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The To'afos Re'em (Shu"t O.C. 22) cites a Teshuva of the Rema in which he says one must buy from the Jew even when it is more expensive. He argues, and limits the preference of buying from Jews to where there is no difference in cost.

The Chikrei Lev (Shu"t Choshen Mishpat 139) vacillates between limiting it to small expenses or applying the rule to even a great expense, and seems to conclude that it applies to even a great expense.

The Chofetz Chaim (Ahavas Chesed 1:5:7) requires preferring the Jew for a small additional expense, citing the Teshuvas HaRema.

The Minchas Yitzchok, after going through whether one must spend a lot more or only a little more and concluding to only require for a little more (Shu"t 3:129:4), adds that the calculation of "a little" depends on the calculation of what is considered הפסד מרובה, considerable loss, regarding איסור והיתר, prohibitions, namely that it may be a שתות (approximately 18%), or it may depend on a case by case basis depending on the financial situation of the buyer (ibid :5).

(This is all, in reality, regarding the issue of או קנה מיד עמיתך, which is generally assumed to be the source of the requirement to buying from a Jew. והחזקת בו does not really specifically require purchasing from him, although the Chofetz Chaim (Ahavas Chesed 2:21:4) does link the two concepts.)

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How does pas akum factor into this. One Heter to buy it over pas Yisroel is if the goyishe' bread is cheaper. – Mefaresh May 13 '15 at 19:28
@Mefaresh That is a hetter brought by very late acharonim, and seemingly would fit into whatever opinions with which it lines up (as I have heard the hetter, it is always referring to a "big" price difference, in which case it lines up with the majority of views). You wouldn't be able to ask a kashya from that hetter onto any other shitta - it isn't a shitta found in the early poskim that you need to reconcile any opinion with. – Y ez May 13 '15 at 19:57

One of the places it's addressed is the first halachic case of copyright infringement: in the mid-1500s, Rabbi Moshe of Padua (known as "Maharam Padava" in yeshiva circles) put a great deal of effort into typesetting and printing an edition of the Rambam; shortly thereafter, some non-Jewish printers copied his work with slight tweaks and began selling it. Rabbi Moshe wrote to his cousin, Rabbi Moshe Issreles (the Ramah), who responded firstly that they were employing illegal business practices, and additionally that it's a mitzva to buy from a Jew.

The shiur I heard on the subject (recorded several years ago in Kew Gardens Hills) concluded (and I'm afraid I don't recall the source here) that one should be willing to spend "a little more" to give his business to Jews; no good definition of what's called "a little more."

What if the Jewish and non-Jewish sellers have the same price, but the non-Jewish seller is significantly more convenient? Do we say time is money? The shiur quoted an opinion from over 100 years ago that you always must inconvenience yourself to buy from the Jew, and concluded that with our busy lives today where time=money, that's not as clear-cut.

Final caveat, heard from Rabbi Breitowitz: the preference of giving business to Jews is only where it's an identical product. But if it's between the equally-kosher Schmerel's Pizza and Pablo's Pizza (let's assume Schmerel is Jewish and Pablo isn't) and you significantly prefer the taste of Pablo's Pizza, you're not expected to buy something you don't like as much! (I think he then said if Schmerel's Pizza is in the red it would be a mitzva to give him the business.)

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