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Asher Meir

Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir is one of the Jewish world's best-known lecturers and educators in the area of business ethics. Rabbi Dr. Meir is known by a wide audience from his "Ethics@Work" column in the Jerusalem Post, through the popular syndicated column "The Jewish Ethicist," and through his lectures and books. His extensive background includes a Harvard education and obtaining a Ph.D. in economics from MIT. He has worked on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan Administration. His rabbinic ordination is from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. Rabbi Dr Meir's works combine a professional grasp of the detailed workings of the 21st century economy with a highly-developed sensitivity to the eternal ethical messages of Jewish law and tradition. For a number of years he served as a Senior Lecturer in economics and business ethics at the Jerusalem College of Technology. Rabbi Meir's first book, "The Jewish Ethicist," was released in February 2005 and rapidly obtained remarkable reviewer approval. The American Library Association's Booklist applauded it as "an important source of ethical insights for Jews and non-Jews alike," while the Jewish Press noted that the author "combines up-to-the-minute knowledge of his field with thousands of years of Jewish tradition." Rabbi Meir's second book, "Meaning in Mitzvot," distributed by Feldheim, provides insights into the deeper spiritual and ethical meanings of the daily practices of Jewish law, has been warmly received by readers. Dr. Meir is a regular member of the Ethics Committee of the Prime Minister's office and of the Israel Economic Association. He has spoken as an invited expert before the Knesset Law Committee. He is a frequent speaker at professional gatherings on business and economic ethics, as well as a lecturer for popular audiences.

Ki Tavo – S’lichot prior to Rosh HaShana – part one

January 18, 2005, by

S’lichot prior to Rosh HaShana – part one The custom of reciting selichot (penitential prayers) in the days preceding Rosh HaShana is quite ancient, and is mentioned already in the early Rishonim. The custom of the Sefaradim, as mentioned in Shulchan Arukh (OC 581), is to recite selichot from the beginning of Elul; the Rema

Shoftim – Confusing the Accuser – part one

January 18, 2005, by

A theme which we encounter repeatedly in the mitzva of Shofar is “confusing the accuser” (Satan). For instance: 1. The gemara tells us that we blow the shofar on Rosh HaShana both sitting and standing “in order to confuse the accuser” (Rosh HaShana 16b). 2. In the siddur of Rav Amram Gaon and in Machzor

Re’eh – Shofar in Elul

January 18, 2005, by

There is an ancient custom to blow the shofar in Elul. The source is in the Midrash: “On Rosh Chodesh [Elul] the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moshe: Ascend the mount unto Me. And they sounded the shofar in all the camp, that Moshe ascended the mount, so that they shouldn’t further err

Eikev – Plowing in the Land of Israel

January 18, 2005, by

The Mishna in Shabbat enumerates 39 distinct archetypical labors, or melakhot, according to a number of series. The first is the series of making bread, which begins with sowing and is followed by plowing (Shabbat 73a). The gemara objects that in practice plowing precedes sowing; why does the Mishna reverse the order? The answer: the

Va’etchanan – Ilui Neshama – elevation of the soul after death

January 18, 2005, by

Often good deeds done in memory of a dead person are designated as an ILUI NESHAMA – an elevation of the soul or spirit. For example, the Kitzur Shulchan Arukh says that repentance on the anniversary of the death of a parent causes the parent’s soul to ascend in paradise (Ch. 221:1). This concept is

Matot – Delaying Marriage

January 18, 2005, by

The Mishna tells us “Eighteen years of age for the CHUPA” (Avot 5:21). But this is not like “Thirteen years of age for mitzvot”, whereby a Bar Mitzva is automatically celebrated for any 13-year old boy. A person doesn’t routinely get married right after his 18th birthday, rather this is singled out as an age

Matot – Choosing a Spouse

January 18, 2005, by

Last week we discussed the first chapter in Even Haezer, the section of the Tur and Shulchan Arukh dealing with the laws of marriage. That chapter dealt with the obligation to marry and have children. This week we discuss the second chapter, which discusses the ideal spouse whom we should marry. Seemingly, the main consideration

Pinchas – Meaning in Marriage

January 18, 2005, by

What is marriage all about? A first glance at the halakhic sources would give the impression that raising a family is the primary motivation. But a deeper look shows that Shalom Bayit, marital harmony between husband and wife, is just as important. The very first commandment in the Torah, according to Rambam and the Chinukh,

Balak – Audacity in G-d’s Service

January 18, 2005, by

At the very beginning of the Shulchan Arukh, the Rema provides a series of instructions on maintaining a proper attitude in performing the mitzvot. Among them, he writes: “And don’t be ashamed before others who mock you in serving G^d.” This would seem to be a very simple and uncontroversial suggestion, but actually it is