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.

Yitro: Tevilah – Immersion in a Mikveh

January 24, 2008, by

As part of the preparation for receiving the Torah, HaShem tells Moshe that the people need to sanctify themselves and wash their garments (Shemot 19:10). The Rambam explains that this refers to tevila, immersion in a mikveh. This immersion in which the Jewish people entered the covenant is the precedent for the immersion in which

Beshalach – Muktzah

January 18, 2008, by

When Hashem tells Moshe how His manna will feed the Jewish people, He says, “And on the sixth day they will prepare what they brought, and it will turn out to be twice as much as they gather every day.” (Shemot 16:5.) Of course the people must prepare the manna every day; still, this preparation

Bo – Honoring the Departed in their Presence

January 10, 2008, by

The Shulchan Arukh rules that it is forbidden to speak on Torah matters in the presence of the departed, unless we are speaking of things which are for their needs (such as the details of the burial or the eulogy) or for their honor (as in the eulogy itself) (SA YD 344: 16-17). The commentaries

Vaeira – Avoiding the Appearance of Idolatry in Prayer

January 4, 2008, by

When Pharaoh begs Moshe to stop the hail, Moshe agrees: “When I leave the city, I will extend my hands towards HaShem; the claps [of thunder] will cease, and the hail will be no more.” (Shemot 9:29). Rashi explains that Moshe was unable to pray in the city, because it was filled with idols. It

Shemot – Respect for the Worker

December 28, 2007, by

Our parsha tells us that the Egyptians worked Benei Yisrael with “crushing labor” (befarekh – Shemot 1:13). While Rashi explains that this refers to work which crushes the body, one explanation of the Gemara is that this refers to demeaning work – giving men’s work to women and women’s work to men (Sota 11b). In

Vayechi – White Lies

December 20, 2007, by

After Yaakov’s death, Yosef’s brothers are afraid he will now take revenge on them for selling him into slavery. They tell him that Yaakov himself ordered him to forgive them (Bereshit 50:15-17). The Gemara justifies this story, using it as an example of the principle “A person is allowed to change [the facts] for the

Vayigash – Translation of the Torah

December 13, 2007, by

One of the tragedies which is commemorated by the fast on the Tenth of Tevet is the Septuagint, the translation of the Torah into Greek by seventy scholars. This translation was aided by miraculous Divine inspiration which harmonized the translations of the various scholars. And it is because of this translation that the only translation

Mikeitz – Milk Foods

December 7, 2007, by

The Rema writes that it is proper to eat cheese at Chanukah because of the miracle that was wrought through milk, when Yehudit gave milk to the enemy leader to make him sleep, and thus was able to kill him (Rema SA OC 670:2). Of course this theme of the righteous woman who entices and

Vayeishev – Chanukah

November 30, 2007, by

In one of the most dramatic passages in the Mishneh Torah, the Rambam tells the story of Chanukah: how we suffered persecution spiritually and religiously (prohibition of Torah and mitzvot), materially (seizing property) and personally (outrages of modesty); and how with God’s help we overcame militarily (the Chashmonaim saved Israel), nationally (they established the kingdom)

Vayishlach – Spices at Havdala

November 22, 2007, by

At havdala at the close of Shabbat the custom is to make a blessing on pleasant fragrances. Early authorities mentioned two reasons for this custom: [1] Shabbat, the fires of hell are extinguished. Even the sinners get a reprieve from their punishment one day a week. As Shabbat goes out, the flames are fanned again,