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Intention to Mislead
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Q. My industry research for my consulting firm requires me to call up companies to ask about their businesses. In order to allay suspicions about my motives, I tell them I am a student studying their industry. Can I continue with this practice? A. Jewish law takes a very negative view of misleading practices. The […]
Where Credit is Due
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Q. A man in our town went to great lengths to mobilize his own resources and those of others in the community to help a distressed and needy person. Is it proper to publicize his acts by reporting them to the news media? A. In general, Judaism looks favorably on giving recognition and honor to […]
Estate Taxes
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Q. Are estate taxes a fair form of taxation? A. I have been studying the topic of estate taxes for some time, and after looking at all the research and the ethical arguments, I have concluded that this form of taxation is underused. Currently the inheritance tax in the United States applies only to rather […]
The Corporation and God
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Q. Lately many business corporations have tried to define their mission in relation to God’s will. Does Judaism support this trend? A. There does seem to be an awakening of interest in the proper role of God in our business dealings. A book entitled God is my CEO has become a national bestseller, while major […]
Trust or Trusts
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Q. I disapprove of the conduct of one of my children. Can I make a bequest conditional on his reform? A. In a previous column I wrote that Jewish law discourages disinheriting a child when we disapprove of his or her conduct. At the end of life, as we sever our connection with the living […]
Fixing Tickets
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Q. I recently got a ticket for parking in a handicapped space. The sign wasn’t so clear and I didn’t notice it. Can I ask the judge to let me off? A. The phenomenon of “ticket fixing” no doubt exists the world over, but I have the distinct impression that it is particularly common in […]
Living Benefits
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Q. Some terminally ill patients are in desperate need of cash despite having life insurance policies worth a fortune. Shouldn’t they be able to tap into these assets? A. A fascinating letter from a reader brought this subject to my attention. There are many people who due to age or disease seem to be nearing […]
Shameful Shaming
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Q. My tenant caused me a large loss by canceling his lease on short notice. Can I shame him into making good my loss by threatening to bad-mouth him in our closely knit community? A. Any kind of extra-legal sanctions should be viewed as a last resort. When you write that the cancellation “caused a […]
Settling Up
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Q. I fell behind in my credit card debt and accumulated a lot of fines. I want to pay what I can, but I can’t afford the whole amount. Is it ethical to seek a settlement involving partial payment? A. You’re certainly not alone. Statistics show that Americans are holding a record amount of credit […]