NUM390 In addition to the intrinsic sin and violation of ethical behavior by the greedy individual, the greedy Jew also necessarily violates a host of other sins in the process of displaying greed (many of which are discussed in other chapters in this volume). For example, by immorally taking money from others due to greed, a Jew is guilty of stealing, a Torah violation (Leviticus 19:11). Even taking a very minor amount is still considered stealing (Maimonides, Hilchot Genaiva 1:2). And if the person is not aware that he or she is being swindled, this is the classic definition of stealing (Maimonides, Hilchot Genaiva 1:3). Another sin that a greedy person is guilty of (by swindling victims without their knowledge) is that of being a hypocrite. It is a Torah violation not to be "whole with God," i.e. act the same on the inside and on the outside (Deuteronomy 18:13). In fact, Rabban Gamliel would throw out any student from the Beit Midrash-House of Jewish Learning, if he showed any hypocrisy (Berachot 28a). All those arrested for swindling other or cheating the government, at one time, seemed to act legitimately-until they were caught. They all acted hypocritically, especially those who supposedly were Torah-observant Jews. Maimonides states that it is absolutely forbidden to act one way and think another way (or act differently in secret) (Maimonides, Hilchot De'ot 2:6). According to the commentaries, this action is a Torah violation, much like a land that appears fruitful on the surface, but beneath the ground everything is rotten (Numbers 33:35 with Ibn Ezra and Malbim commentaries). When King David specified the formula for a long and meaningful life, he stated that a Jew should not speak with guile. Rabbi David Kimchi understands this to be acting hypocritically, i.e., speaking one way but acting in a different manner (Psalms 34:13-14 with Radak commentary). Thus, an individual can achieve a great life by refraining from being a hypocrite. This is especially true in business, regarding which one's word should be one's bond, and a violation of one's word violates a Torah law (Leviticus 19:36, Bava Metzia 49a). Of the three types of individuals whom God hates most in this world, the number one category is a person who acts hypocritically (Pesachim 113b). Thus, if one's greed leads to speaking to people nicely as he or she cheats them, this is the ultimate sin.
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