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Forgiving and Forgetting to Ourselves
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Q. I made some poor judgments in my business. My own life is now a wreck, and I have also harmed others who are left with unpaid debts. How can I move on? A. In a previous column we discussed Judaism’s approach to forgiving others. There we explained that Judaism doesn’t require or even encourage […]
Confronting Street Youths
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Q. There are some street youths in my neighborhood who really create a nuisance. If everybody would stand up and insist that they behave it might have an effect, but sometimes I think it’s safest just not to get involved. Don’t wrongdoers have responsibility for their own acts? A. Fundamentally, Judaism instructs us to take […]
Addiction-An Obstacle Before the Blind
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Q. I run errands for neighbors for a living. One neighbor sends me to the liquor store. Since she’s an alcoholic I’d like to stop, but I know she will just find another errand boy. What should I do? A. Addiction is a major source of concern, and contemporary rabbis have found a number of […]
Addiction-Servitude to Substances
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Q. I run errands for neighbors for a living. One neighbor sends me to the liquor store, but she’s an alcoholic so I stopped. I discovered that she hasn’t stopped drinking, she just found another errand boy! A. Last week we discussed one approach to addiction: addictions are objectionable because they damage our body, which […]
Should I Blow the Whistle
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Q. My employer engages in scandalous exploitation and abuse of his clients. But I’m afraid that if I report him to appropriate authorities I’ll be considered a troublemaker and will have trouble finding work. A. Reporting illegal or unethical behavior by one’s employer is generally known as “whistle blowing”. Whistle blowing is a favorite topic […]
The Ethics of Torture
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Q. What does Judaism say about torturing suspects in order to obtain life-saving information? A. This highly topical question is the subject of a recent article by Rabbi J. David Bleich in the latest issue of Tradition magazine, devoted to the topic of “War and the Jewish Tradition”. This column is basically a summary and […]
A Free Ride
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Q. My friends are renting a hotel room for vacation and they offered to let me sleep on the floor. I can’t afford a vacation otherwise. Can I take them up on their offer? A. Hotel managers have many good reasons for charging by the guest and not allowing additional guests to stay over. We […]
Teenager in Our Midst
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Q. I’m on the administrative committee of an age-restricted (over-55) community. One neighbor is living with his teenage grandson, in violation of our community by-laws. Can I report his violation to the committee, which will then weigh sanctions? A. Let’s study first the background of this question. While originally there was little regulation of resident […]
Homework Help
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Q. I discovered I have a gift for helping others with math problems. Can I offer my service to online help sites? A. Nobody knows exactly when the first homework was assigned, but it’s a fair bet that whenever it was, the first attempt to get help was only a few hours later. Classmates, parents […]
Pollution
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Q. Does Jewish law forbid pollution? Does the polluter have to pay damages, like anyone else who causes harm? A. Among the very first commandments given in the Torah are those providing for payments for damages. In chapter 20 of the book of Exodus we have the revelation on Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments, […]