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.

Bechukotai: Four Types of Bailors

May 19, 2011, by

The halacha recognizes three distinct levels of responsibility for a watched object, or bail: An unpaid bailee is liable only for negligence (SA CM 291). A paid bailee, or a lessee, is liable for theft or loss, but not in cases of duress (SA CM 303, 307). A borrower is liable even for duress (but

Behar: Doing Business with a Fellow Jew

May 11, 2011, by

Last week we discussed the mandate to strive to do business with a Torah scholar, which the Rambam states is a fulfillment of the Torah commandment to cleave to talmidei chachamim. There is also a mitzva based on a Torah verse to give preference to a Jew over a non-Jew. Let us examine the lessons

Emor: Counting the Omer

May 5, 2011, by

From the day following Pesach until the day before Shavuot, we count the 50 days of Omer. The name Omer comes from the measure of barley offered in the Mikdash on the day after Pesach. The count continues until Shavuot, when the special two loaves are brought. Both of these offerings are unusual. The Omer

Kedoshim: “Chadash” – Prohibition on Eating New Grain Crop

April 27, 2011, by

In the time of the Mikdash, on the night following the first day of Pesach, a small amount of barley was harvested and brought on the following day as a meal offering in the Temple. This offering was called the OMER, which is the name of the measure of barley required. All other grain from

Acharei Mot: Likeness of Chametz to Notar (Leftover Sacrifices)

April 14, 2011, by

The mishna (Pesachim 2:1) records a dispute between Rebbe Yehuda and the Sages regarding the disposal of chametz as Pesach approaches. According to Rebbe Yehuda, this should be done only by burning; the reasoning is that chametz has a likeness to notar, left-over sacrifices which must be eliminated by burning. But the Sages state that

Metzora: Making a Zimun before the Afikoman

April 7, 2011, by

In general, making a zimun (invitation to grace after meals) is considered a decisive declaration that the meal is over. Therefore, after saying “Let us make a blessing” he is not allowed to eat more of the meal unless he makes a new blessing on the food. (SA OC 179:1.) What happens if someone makes

Tazria: Redemption of the Firstborn Donkey

March 31, 2011, by

While the firstborn of a kosher animal is sanctified, and the firstborn of most non-kosher animals have no sanctity whatsoever; the donkey has an intermediate status. It is not sanctified, but it must be redeemed. “And the firstborn of an ass shall you redeem with a sheep, and if you don’t redeem it then break

Shemini: Searching for Chametz by Candlelight

March 24, 2011, by

The Shulchan Aruch states that the search for chametz on Pesach eve should be by the light of a single candle. The Mishna Brurah explains that candlelight enables us to find chametz hidden in holes and crevices (Orach Chaim 433). This reason is found in the Gemara as well, but the primary derivation of this

Tzav: Fast of the Firstborn

March 17, 2011, by

IMPORTANT CORRECTION This column indicates that the firstborn of the father does not need to fast (or participate in a siyum) on Erev Pesach. Actually, the Shulchan Aruch explicitly states that such a first born does participate in the fast. I apologize for the error. The Yerushalmi (Pesachim 10:1) states that Rebbe ate neither chametz

Vayikra: Paying Workers on Time – Part 2

March 10, 2011, by

Last week we discussed the immense importance of paying workers on time; there are three distinct Torah commandments which are solely devoted to this requirement. The Torah explains, “Give him payment the same day, don’t let the sun set on it; for he is poor, and he bears his soul for it” (Devarim 24:15). While

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