[Avodah] economics 101

Akiva Miller kennethgmiller at juno.com
Wed Jan 9 12:38:47 PST 2013

R' Eli Turkel wrote:

> In Baba Mezia 40 the gemara states that one cannot make a
> profit of more than 1/6. Ritva adds that a talmid chacham
> should charge the maximum 1/6 and it is better that he make
> his own living and not live off of charity
> ...
> I am at a loss to explain these opinions. As one learns in
> economics, prices are set by supply and demand. If a TC
> charges higher prices than others (but allowed by halacha)
> he won't have business.

I reached different conclusions, which led to different questions.

The way I hear this Ritva, as presented by RET, the idea is that people will willingly sidestep Supply and Demand, supporting the TC by knowingly paying him above-market prices.

My question is that with such a setup, the TC effectively *is* living off charity. The question might be answered by pointing out that it is a kavoddik non-blatant sort of charity, but I don't know if that makes such a difference, especially if it is well-known.

Akiva Miller
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