by Dr. Meir Tamari
IN THE MARKETPLACE
It is impossible to talk about business ethics or business behavior unless the purpose and role of property and wealth are first made clear. A society where property is unimportant, or is considered something evil, will have no problem with business ethics at all. At the other extreme, a society where people believe that wealth is the sole purpose of human existence will find it almost impossible to maintain any form of economic morality; their obsession with wealth is so great that it will ride roughshod over any ethical system. The primary question, therefore, is, “What is the Jewish attitude toward wealth. Is wealth intrinsically evil? Is wealth something that is permitted? Is wealth something that is the be-all and end-all of men?”
In one of his anti-Semitic writings, Karl Marx depicted the Jew as a creature whose sole interest in life is the acquisition of wealth. This canard has been repeated by many anti-Semites, and sometimes, self-deprecatorily, by Jews as well. Intellectually, the main reason for this has been the ignoring, by Jewish and non-Jewish scholars, of authoritative Jewish sources, or even more prevalent, the misreading of these sources. All too often, the researchers’ own biases– pro-socialist, secular, nationalist, l9th-century liberalist– have led, willfully or innocently, to squeezing a Torah system into the straight-jacket of one of these social philosophies.(l) Today, a similar attempt is being made to equate Torah with the unlimited free market. The only way to define a truly Jewish attitude to wealth is to study Jewish sources in the light of Jewish law and the written works of the Torah scholars. The following mishnah or talmudic teaching from Ethics of Our Fathers serves as a basis for this study.
MINE AND YOURS
– Talmud, Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 5, Mishnah 10
OUR MISHNAH talks about the characteristics of different types of people with regard to wealth. There is no mention of a system based on poverty, nor is there in Judaism any- thing particularly spiritual about being poor. This in itself is an admission that there is nothing wrong per se with earning, having, or keeping economic goods or financial assets.
Unlike the founders of other religions, the Forefathers were not poor people. The sections of the Torah dealing with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, show that they were extremely wealthy men, with flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. So too, the Land of Israel, part of the bargain in the Abrahamic covenant made at the very inception of our People, is not a desert but a fertile place. The blessings showered upon the Jewish Nation for keeping God’s laws are all material ones, as are the punishments for violating them.(1) In their Promised Land, the Jews were not to earn their living by miraculous means, but in normal, prosaic ways. The manna stopped when they crossed the Jordan; they did not drink any more from the miraculous Well of Miriam, nor could they rely on the Divine Clouds of Glory to protect them any longer. In that Land, they had to build houses and dig wells, to plow, to sow and to reap.
Similarly, when the High Priest emerged from innermost chamber in the Temple in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, after obtaining salvation for the Jews and forgiveness of their sins, he recited a prayer which forms part of our present prayer service on that day. One would expect this prayer to be pure spirituality: thanks to God, thanks to the people for doing penance, and so on. Yet all the High Priest asked for was that God give the Jews a decent livelihood, which they would be able to earn honestly, and that they should not be dependent on other people for charity.
Actually, the possession of wealth presents a greater spiritual challenge than does poverty. Throughout Jewish history, from the earliest beginnings in Egypt up until the present day, one may perceive a cycle of events which clearly demonstrates this. The Jewish nation becomes prosperous, neglects its religious obligations, assimilates, and finally becomes subject to punishment and exile. In exile, it then suffers abject poverty and disgrace, slowly regains economic strength until it reaches prosperity, and the cycle recommences. In his farewell address to the People of Israel, Moses says, “But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked…” (2) –sad but prophetic words.
Recognition of the spiritual issues flowing from the possession of wealth, even though economic activity is legitimate, is shown by the large number of Jewish laws associated with having, earning or spending money. Just as with man’s needs for food, sex, and clothing, so too, in regard to his material possessions, the Torah provides parameters within which economic needs may be satisfied and elevated. There is no Jewish textbook on how to make money, but there is a comprehensive framework for sanctifying the drive for wealth so as to make it holy. This framework encompasses the commentaries on the Torah, classical works on Jewish law, and the philosophical literature. No less important are the life stories of the sages and the rabbinic leaders of each generation, which in effect represent role models for the Jewish attitude towards economic life.
The Jewish legal treatment of wealth has created a Jewish economic person whose business affairs, despite the myths perpetuated by detractors and enemies, have been conducted according to the highest demands of morality and ethics. During the three days of darkness in Egypt, when all the wealth of Egypt lay unprotected before them, our ancestors did not succumb to the temptation to steal, and for this they were rewarded by the Egyptians when they left. (3) In the days of Mordechai and Esther in Persia, Jewish self-defense was untainted by looting. Throughout the Middle Ages, in both the Christian and Moslem worlds, the Jew served as banker and financier, a tradition continued into l9th-century Western Europe and even in our own day. Of course, one of the prime requisites of banking is the integrity and honesty of the banker– further evidence of the high moral regard accorded the Jew.
Our excerpt from Ethics of Our Fathers and the ensuing discussion are part, therefore, of a fabric which has clothed Jewish life and thought ever since the days of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
” ‘MINE IS MINE AND YOURS IS YOURS,’ THAT IS THE MARK OF THE AVERAGE PERSON.”
Actually, there seems to be nothing negative about this statement. All that this man is saying is that he respects his property, does not use it to injure others, and will not steal other people’s possessions. He undertakes to look after his property and expects others to look after theirs. Viewed in terms of present-day economic behavior, one would expect the rabbis to say, “That’s a very good person.” Yet all they could credit him with is “the mark of an average man”–not criminal, but not very exciting spiritually.
Even though the Torah has laws protecting property from theft and damage, Judaism never accepts the concept that there is unlimited private property. A person’s property is his, but not merely his. It is meant to provide for one’s needs and those of one’s family, but it is also meant to be used to assist others. This Jewish obligation to help others is not left up to the free will of the individual; it is not a question to be solved solely on the basis of compassion, mercy, or personal feelings. Just as prayer or sexual morality is not left to the judgment of the individual, to be observed whenever or if ever the spirit moves one, but is translated into permitted and forbidden actions, so too, assistance to the weak, the poor and the inefficient cannot be relegated to the sphere of individual conscience.
The community has the right to tax the individual for that purpose and to introduce legislation that forces him to part with some of his private wealth. The moral basis for taxation for this purpose lies in the belief that this is one of the reasons why God gives men wealth. The German Jewish 19th century scholar, Samson Raphael Hirsch, comments that the reason we are not allowed to take interest on money which we lend to other Jews is that God gave us such money so we should be able to help others. In a way, our money is not only ours, even if only morally, and for this reason, we are not allowed to charge interest for something we were given, inter alia, to give to others. (4)
Legal action alone, however, cannot create a moral and ethical society. It requires an educational basis and a commonly accepted value structure to be efficient and effective. One example, which demonstrates the spiritual purpose of Jewish laws concerning assistance to others, may be found in the talmudic order of Pe’ah, dealing with agricultural laws. Here, the Jewish farmer is obligated to leave part of his field unreaped for the benefit of the poor and the stranger. This positive injunction is repeated and expressed in the Torah in a negative form: “You shall not reap to the last edge of your field.” All recognize that the field is undoubtedly the farmer’s, yet the poor are given the legal right to harvest a corner of the field after he has finished harvesting the rest. The simple reason is to provide the poor with something to eat. That is obvious, yet the Sefer Hachinuch (written in 13th-century Barcelona, Spain), which provides ethical, spiritual, and ideological reasons behind all the mitzvot that God gave us, points out that there is more to it:
“God wanted the Jews to develop merits of mercy, that they should become accustomed to helping others, to develop an instinct to give away something which actually belongs to them. [This has to be done by continually teaching the practice of mercy. At the same time, the educational process alone is not enough to guarantee assistance to the poor. Education may simply create good but unfulfilled intentions.] Therefore, we are obligated to perform actions which will train us until these merits become second nature. A person who actually leaves the corner of his field for the poor acquires a generous soul; through this mitzvah he learns to be generous to people.” (5)
In Leviticus, the list of the festivals beginning with Passover and Shavuot is interrupted with the mitzvah of Pe’ah (leaving the corner of the field for the poor), even though there is no festival related to it, then continues with the festivals of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. The discussion of Pe’ah occurs between the festival of Shavuot, the festival of the ripening of the first fruits, and Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment. There is an important lesson concerning the Torah’s attitude to property to be learned from this intrusion of Pe’ah into the list of festivals.
On Shavuot, the festival of first fruits, one tends to be proud of seeing one’s economic success demonstrated by the first fruits of the year’s labor; one is very conscious of his ability to make money and confident in the use of his property. Yet these first fruits had to be brought to the Temple, and “viduy” (confession), in which the Divine origin of wealth is acknowledged, was recited. The next festival in the calendar is Rosh Hashanah, the day when God sits in judgement of the world. In between those two festivals, one emphasizing thanks for prosperity, the other an awe of judgment, another idea had to be introduced: the mitzvah of Pe’ah.
The Pe’ah is not the property of the owner of the field; he cannot harvest it and give it to somebody of his choice, as he can do with other forms of charity. The corner has to be left ownerless so that anybody can come and harvest it. In effect, Pe’ah is a rejection of the farmer’s private property rights. If the Torah did not teach that there was a certain necessity to waive his property rights, it could not bring the individual from the self-satisfaction of Shavuot, with its first fruits, to the humility of the Day of Judgment. (6)
” ‘MINE IS MINE AND YOURS IS YOURS’ … SOME SAY THAT THIS IS THE MARK [OF THE PEOPLE] OF SODOM.”
The Torah relates that the people of Sodom “were evil unto the Lord, exceedingly,” (7) yet we are not told what they actually did. The Midrashim tell of their refusal to welcome guests and the punishments meted out in Sodom by the community to those, who in fact, were hospitable. “Yours is yours and mine is mine” is saying that in Sodom the people refused to acknowledge that they had an obligation to help others. In Sodom they said, “I do not care what happens to you, whether you are poor, or you are old or weak. While I will not steal from you, neither will I help you.”
There’s a Chassidic story about a man who was very pious and charitable and became wealthy. Gradually his charitable actions grew fewer, his contributions smaller. One day, during the festivals, he visited his Rebbe. The Rebbe took him to a window and asked, “What do you see?”
“I see people in the streets, men and women, young and old.”
The Rebbe then gave him a mirror and said, “Now tell me what you see.”
“What do you mean? I see myself.”
The Rebbe said, “Both the mirror and the window are made of glass. The only difference between them is that the window is clear and the mirror is backed by silver. Before you had silver, you were able to see other people’s needs and other’s problems. Since the glass became coated, you are only able to see yourself. That’s the mark of the people of Sodom.”
When an individual says, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours; I have no financial obligation to you,” society can exist. But when everybody says, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours,” that society has accepted a concept of absolute private property. In Sodom, economic evil went far beyond the selfishness or crimes of marginal individuals–the whole society became corrupt and had to be destroyed. It was not the individual act of inhospitality which characterized Sodom, but the collective refusal to utilize wealth to alleviate suffering. They refused entry to poor immigrants, but welcomed Lot, who was a wealthy man. This is a parallel to wealthy countries today, which have free immigration for “capitalist” immigrants, but turn away poor people seeking to better themselves, maintaining rigid immigration laws to prevent their entry. So the whole society of Sodom abandoned the concern for the unfortunate, and the inefficient. In the Jewish view, such a selfish society is doomed.
The effect of “what’s mine is mine,” however, goes beyond mere selfishness, individual and communal. When a society maintains absolute private property, it rejects the Divine source of its wealth and frees itself for widespread economic immorality since man sees himself as the sole owner of his property, until in fact the two become integrated. Then the acquisition of wealth by any means, moral or immoral, becomes a major purpose of his life, a lust to be satisfied at all costs. “What’s mine is mine” is the ideological preparation for a society in which institutionalized theft and legalized inhumanity flourish.
In the Book of Amos, the prophet talks about those who sell the poor for a pair of shoes.(8) Some commentators explain this to mean that they sell everything the poor have, even their shoes, or that they sell the poor themselves, even for something as cheap as a pair of shoes. The eleventh century Sage Rashi, however, understands the Hebrew word “naal,” shoe, to connote “to lock” “or to close” something, as distinct from “sandal,” which is open. He comments that the rich men did not steal the poor people’s fields; instead, they bought up the fields around them, then forced them to sell. So, too, in Sodom. The Medrash informs us that the people of Sodom were careful not to steal anything which was a “sheveh prutah”–the minimum value for legal action. Instead, each man, woman, and child took only one item from a field, until the farmer lost his whole crop. Perfectly legal perhaps, but immoral.
” ‘MINE IS YOURS AND YOURS IS MINE,’ [THAT IS THE MARK OF] AN IGNORANT MAN.”
This attitude sounds basically like a very moral one, and indeed it has been the basis of many utopian seeking societies, including the Israeli kibbutz movement and European communist economies. While the sages did not see it as wrong, they maintained in the mishnah that it is not characteristic of the ideal Jewish economic society. They viewed it, in- stead, as the mark of an ignorant man, not evil or wrong but ignorant.
Proposing a society which rejects the concept of private property goes against human nature. Rather than attempting to destroy man’s selfish tendencies, Judaism has always aimed at educating and sanctifying man’s nature. Philosophically, attempting to destroy a selfish trait, rather than shaping it to operate in a spiritually elevated framework, calls into question God’s creation of these tendencies, as well as the Torah He gave to educate it. Practically, such attempts have shown themselves to be failures, usually creating new abuses to replace those they came to correct. The experience of the last fifty years has shown that changes in the economic system brought by socialism and communism in various countries do not eliminate moral problems. These changes have admittedly solved some social problems, but they have also given rise to other, no less serious moral issues.
Private property rights not only make for economic efficiency, as evidenced by the performance of free market economies relative to socialist ones, but also have been shown to be necessary for a viable economic morality. Morality presupposes rights and obligations. So private property rights mean that the individual is responsible not only for earning his wealth, but also for preventing it from damaging others, and for the way he spends it. In this way, the owner cannot escape responsibility for the social and communal effects of wealth, nor can he transfer this responsibility to some amorphous, group possession.
For example, the modern corporation represents a form of economic organization in which there is a separation of identity between the shareholders and the corporation, thus permitting such a transfer of moral responsibility. The result has been that shareholders feel they have no role in supervising illegal or immoral acts of the directors. So, too, in the commune, the average member, being in practice a non-owner, frees himself from bearing responsibility for the acts of the commune. Experience has shown, for example, that children in the kibbutz have no concept of personal charity since this need is cared for, like everything else, through the communal purse.
Private property also creates a direct link between earning and spending, the lack of which has been shown to create serious moral problems. The lack of such a link leads people to demand a standard of living which has no relationship to what they create. It makes the satisfaction of their wants a function of the acts of others rather than their own. Sometimes this may be the result of factors such as the pleasure of a government official or the decision of one’s peers. Such factors may often lead to injustice or, what is worse, the necessity of bribing the decision-making officials.
Similarly, although unemployment may be immoral, it has been found that removing this link through full-employment policies, which in effect disguise the unemployment, leads to people not working. People thus receive wages for a job they have not done, which is also immoral.
Before people can give charity to others or help others with their wealth, they have to own property so that what they are giving away is something of their own. The individual’s parting with wealth as a result of his own active decision means that he is consciously giving up that which is actually, legally and morally, his own. This means that he is able to overcome the human tendency of selfishness, of greed, of ignoring the needs of others. The overcoming or spiritual education of these negative traits is the basis of economic morality.
” ‘MINE IS YOURS AND YOURS IS YOURS,’ [THAT IS THE MARK OF] A GODLY [MAN].”
The voluntary renunciation of private property, lacking in the ignorant man, characterizes the godly personality while his ability to say, “Enough,” distinguishes him from the evil person. His saying, “Mine is yours,” separates him from the people of Sodom and places him higher than the mediocre. He does not abandon his property, but is willing to place it at the disposal of others. There is no idealization of poverty here, no otherworldly philosophy, but rather, a correct use of wealth.
The godly person’s statement is an imitation of God. God created the world, it belongs to Him, yet, in His kindness, He provides for the needs of all creatures. The talmudic Rabbi Simlai taught that the Torah begins with an act of kindness and ends with an act of kindness. It is written, “And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them” [Genesis 3:21], and at the conclusion of the Torah, “He [God] buried him [Moses] in the valley in the land of Moab” [Deuteronomy 34:6]. (9)
Yet there is more in the mishnah’s statement than mere acts of kindness and righteousness. He is prepared to give up claims against others, despite the fact that he is not legally obligated to do so. His business actions are “lifnim meshurat hadin”–beyond the demands of the law. Our Sages said that one of the reasons for the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE was that the people of that generation insisted on exerting the full measure of their legal rights. (10)
The most significant Jewish legal expression of this moral stance is the dictum ze nehene ve ze lo chaser–one has a benefit and the other does not lose [by a transaction]. (11) This dictum permits one to benefit from another’s property provided that the owner does not suffer a loss thereby. When Joshua crossed the Jordan River, the Tribes of Israel agreed to ten decrees. One of them was that a person could not be prevented from picking weeds (herbs) from another’s field; the one benefits from picking herbs for his own use, while the other suffers no loss, since they are worthless. If, however, the crop is meant for animal consumption, in which case weeds and herbs are used as cattle fodder, one is not permitted to gather them, since the owner suffers a financial loss.
The law of bar metzrah, whereby owners of adjacent property have the right of first option to buy when a neighbor intends selling his field, is another application of ze nehene. The neighbor has a benefit, since this gives him a larger unified tract of land with all the consequent efficiencies, while the owner suffers no loss, since he receives the market price for his field.
In all these cases, one person is doing another person a favor with his property. The people of Sodom, the rabbis taught, refused to do each other favors with their money, and whoever acts like them causes us to doubt their descent from Avraham.
What a contrast between this Jewish attitude and the property rights prevalent in our society, where laws of trespass forbid people to use our property, even when we suffer no loss from their use.
Modern examples of this dog-in-the-manger attitude are manifold. A few should suffice to show how being selfish, even when it does not cost anything, is very prevalent. In family-owned corporations, where various proportions of the share capital are held by the members of the family, it is often difficult for one member to buy shares from the others, even at their market price. Usually, the purchase of these shares would give him greater control, a benefit which the other members of the family are unwilling to grant him. The common solution is to go public, that is, selling the stock to anybody else but the family member. Similarly, owners of real estate find it emotionally difficult to offer their property to their neighbors because of the additional benefit the latter will enjoy, even though the sale is at market price. One of the reasons for registering corporations in the Caribbean Islands, Luxembourg, or the Channel Islands is to hide the true identity of the owners. Over and above the consideration of income tax benefits, there is the suspicion that were this to be common knowledge, it would hinder the activities of the owners. In many cases people would refuse to sell them real estate or stock in other companies, owing to the benefits that would accrue to them from the increased control.
By his declaration, the godly person is demonstrating that the real source of wealth is God, who gives this wealth to mankind under certain conditions and for certain purposes. This idea that one’s property does not primarily flow from one’s own cleverness, luck, or diligence, but is granted by the mercy of the Creator, appears in many of the mitzvot. One example should suffice here. Fruit of new trees are called orlah–“uncircumcised” fruit–until the fourth year. Just as a newborn boy must be marked with the covenant of Abraham by the removal of the foreskin, so too, the fruit of new trees, the addition to our economic wealth, have to be sanctified before they can be enjoyed. By waiting the required period which, so to speak, removes the orlah, we demonstrate that wealth flows from God.
Similarly, every seventh year–shmitah–the Jewish farmer is told to let his land lie fallow and to declare it ownerless, so that the animals, the poor, and whoever wishes to do so may eat of its fruit. Then in the yovel–the 50th Jubilee year–the land reverts to its original owner, once again demonstrating the Divine ownership.(13)
The rabbis said that one may not eat or have benefit from anything in this world without first making a blessing, thanking the real Source for it. (14)
Self-made men cannot really be pious since they ascribe all their success to their own greatness. Perhaps this is why the commandment of honoring one’s father and mother, an act between man and man, is placed in the Ten Commandments alongside those acts between man and God. It has been argued that honoring one’s parents expresses gratitude for one’s birth and for their contribution to our lives. This, in turn, is a prerequisite for being able to admit that there is a God and that everything, including our wealth, flows from Him. This is the mark of the pious and the godly.
” ‘YOURS IS MINE AND MINE IS MINE,’ [THAT IS THE MARK OF] AN EVIL MAN.”
Here, the thought process behind robbery and exploitation is presented. It is important to note that in describing the evil man, the mishnah tells us not of one who takes other people’s property, but only of one who considers other people’s property his own. This is paralleled by an injunction in the Ten Commandments, “You shall not covet,” which is also an injunction against a thought process.
Usually, the Torah is primarily concerned with actions, not thoughts. For instance, one has to give charity, not merely think that it is a good thing to do. Intentions not followed by actions are something society cannot control, nor are they easily detected by outside factors; it seems strange, therefore, that coveting, a frame of mind rather than an action, should be proscribed as a negative precept. In this case, however, the coveting of another’s property is actually the real beginning of immoral economic acts, since it is that need, that lust, that jealousy that leads one to steal or injure another’s wealth.
This may be illustrated from the story of the vineyard of Navot. (15) King Achav wanted to buy this vineyard and when Navot refused to sell it, he sulked, refusing to eat or drink, thus expressing his powerful lust for the property. To satisfy this lust, Navot was falsely accused and put to death, with his property reverting to the king. Coveting led to murder, and murder preceded theft. The thief’s punishment is, therefore, always twofold, once for coveting and once for theft, both realized when the thought is translated into action. This is an expression of the conviction that unless we have a moral attitude towards our neighbor’s property, we cannot have moral actions or a moral society.
There is a story in the Medrash that when Alexander the Great came to a certain foreign country, the people there asked him to listen to the following court case:
A man bought a field from another man and found a treasure in it. He argued that the treasure belonged to the seller since he had only bought a field, not a treasure. On the other hand, the seller maintained that the treasure belonged to the person who bought it, since he had sold him the field and everything in it.
The case was decided in a very Jewish way. The judge ruled: “The seller has a daughter and the buyer has a son, so let them marry and the treasure will become the dowry.”
Alexander was so surprised at the judge’s decision that his hosts asked him, “What do you think of our justice?”
“In my country a case like this would probably never even come to court, because the buyer would make sure that nobody heard that he had found a treasure. If, however, it did come to court, the roles would be reversed. The seller would argue, ‘I sold a field, I did not sell a treasure, and therefore the treasure belongs to me.’ The buyer would argue, ‘I bought a field and everything in it, and therefore the treasure belongs to me.'”
In reply to the question of how he would rule if he were the judge, Alexander replied, “The king would kill both of them and take the treasure for himself.”
The hosts were puzzled. “Your country sounds strange. In your country does it rain? In your country does the grass grow? Are there animals?”
Hearing that this was so, they told him, “The only reason it rains, and the grass grows, is for the animals, because the people in your country don’t deserve rain or grass.” (16)
Basically, theft, robbery, and exploitation flow from coveting the wealth of our neighbors, rather than from actual abject poverty. The need to keep up with the neighbors is often the primary factor in determining the individual’s pattern of consumption, and, therefore, that which sets the pace and morality of the economic activity which comes to pay for that consumption. This, together with the status, power, and satisfaction which come from having and earning more than others, can prevent people from distinguishing between what is moral and immoral, permitted or forbidden.
Even a casual glance at our surroundings will show that, irrespective of their wealth, people suffer from an inability to know when they have enough. People do not decide to defraud, embezzle, or exploit others on the spur of the moment. These actions are essentially the result of social pressures, accepted norms of behavior, and the need to always have more of “mine.” It is only by educating people to restrain material appetites, by voluntarily limiting the standards of living, and by teaching the difference between real needs and imaginary wants, that it is possible to achieve a moral economic society.
1. Vayikra 26:3-26; Devarim 28:3-14.
2. Devarim 32:15.
3. S. R. Hirsch, Shemot 11:2-3.
4. Shemot 22:24.
5. SeferHachinuch, mitzvot 216, 217.
6. Vayikra 23:22-23 and S. R. Hirsch ad loc.
7. Genesis 13:3.
8. Amos 2:6.
9. Talmud Bavli, Sotah 14a.
10. Talmud Bavli, Baba Metzia 30b.
11. Talmud Bavli, Baba Kama 20a.
12. Ibid., 80b-81a.
13. SeferHachinuch, mitzvah 330.
14. Talmud Bavli, Berakhot 35b.
15. I Kings 21:1-16.
16. Vayikra Rabbah, K’doshim.
17. Takkanot of the Rhine Communities, enactment 17; Synod of Castillian Jews, enactment 11. L. Finkelstein, Jewish Self-Government in the Middle Ages (New York: Feldheim, 1964). Also see Pinkas Va’ad Arba Aratzot, ed. Israel Halperin (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1954), enactment 90.
Dr. Tamari is the former chief economist of the Office of the Governor at the Bank of Israel, and the founder of the JCT Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility.
Reprinted with permission from In The Marketplace: Jewish Business Ethics Targum/Feldheim Publishers, l991