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.
Someone who has been safely delivered from a dangerous situation makes a special blessing in public, thanking G-d “Who bestows good on the culpable, Who has bestowed all goodness on me”. The mishna and thus the Shulchan Arukh give four examples: (1) one who returns safely from a perilous trip by sea; (2) or through
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
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
In our parsha, Pinchas receives a special eternal blessing for his zeal in preventing intermarriage between the Jewish men and the Midianite women. Intermarriage is considered one of the most severe breaches in Jewish tradition, and the desire to prevent it is the main reason for the prohibition on many kinds of foods prepared by
In many places, the Torah commands us to show special consideration towards widows. For example: In a number of places the Torah admonishes us to include them among the needy whom we are obliged to help with charity, tithes etc. Devarim 14:29, 16:11, 16:14, 24:19-21; 26:12-13. There is a special prohibition against causing them anguish
Last week we explained that even among the permissible animals, there are gradations; birds and wild animals such as deer are considered at a higher spiritual level than “dumb” domesticated animals such as cows and sheep. One reason is that a free animal, or one whose wings give it a greater potential for freedom, has
One of the 39 forbidden labors on Shabbat is taking life. This was necessary in the Mishkan in order to make the roof out of animal skins. But what exactly is considered “life” for the purposes of this prohibition? There are two opinions in the Gemara (Shabbat 107b): According to Rebbe Eliezer, the definition is
In our parsha, the spies were punished for not showing sufficient desire to enter Eretz Yisrael. Let us study one of the many halakhot which express the importance of moving here. The Mishna at the end of Ketubot states, “All may compel aliyah to Eretz Yisrael”. The main message of the Mishna is that either
A Jewish boy becomes obligated in mitzvot when he reaches the age of 13, and a Jewish girl at the age of 12. This is the age when a person attains “da’at” – understanding and responsibility for actions. This is also the age of legal majority, when a youth is no longer subject to his
On weekdays, we close the last blessing of Shema at night with the words, “Who watches over His people Israel forever”. But on Shabbat, we close, “Who spreads a canopy of peace (sukkat shalom) on us and on all His people Israel, and on Yerushalayim”. (SA OC 267:3.) Actually, this pattern was not always universal.