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Sincere Apologies
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Q. A friend is bearing a silly grudge from a supposed wrong. What recourse do I have? A. It’s too bad your friend is bearing a grudge. The Torah warns us (Leviticus 19:18), “Don’t take vengeance and don’t bear a grudge against the children of your nation; love your neighbor as yourself, I am the […]
Costly Advice
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Q. Recently I went to a public lecture by a known lawyer. At the end of the lecture he gave out his e-mail and offered to answer questions. When I sent him a draft contract I want to sign, he sent me back his comments plus a hefty bill. Do I have to pay? A. […]
Whose Tenant?
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Q. I rent out an apartment. A prospective tenant gave me a deposit, but then cancelled. He gets the deposit back if I find a new tenant. Do I have to look for a new tenant, or can I just pocket the deposit? A. Your question deals with a concept known in secular law as […]
Day Trader
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Q. Many people in my neighborhood are interested in “day trading”. I am thinking of opening an office to serve them, setting up terminals for trading and market info. But I’m concerned about the large number of traders who lose money? A. The reason the vast majority of day traders lose money is very simple. […]
Thou Shalt Pay
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Q. I gave a check to a local merchant, but it hasn’t been cashed in months. Probably they lost it. Do I have to tell them? A. It should be obvious that there is an ethical obligation to pay for merchandise. One way this obligation is reflected in Jewish law is in the Talmudic dictum, […]
Wrong Store
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Q. Often customers looking for our competitor accidentally enter our store. Can we just serve them without comment? A. You don’t owe any duty of loyalty to your competitor, but you do owe your customers complete honesty. According to Jewish law, a merchant is not allowed to take unfair advantage of a customer’s misunderstanding, even […]
Charitable Credit
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Q. When you give a charitable donation, you get a benefit in the form of a tax deduction. Doesn’t this take away the ethical aspect of the donation? A. First of all let’s make a technical clarification to clear up on occasional misconception: a tax deduction only saves an amount of taxes equal to a […]
Snitch
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Q. I have a nasty co-worker who is hard to get along with. I’m thinking of putting him in his place by telling the boss about his frequent tardiness, but should I be afraid of being a “snitch”? A. The Torah warns us to be very careful about disclosing people’s failings, commanding us “Don’t go […]
Pay Up
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Q. A person owes me a large court judgment from damage he caused when he was well-off. Now he claims I should leave him alone since he has become destitute. Must I lay off? A. In the time of the Torah, financial markets were not well developed and the main form of loan was an […]
Working with Difficult People
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Q. I have a co-worker who is tyrannical and otherwise difficult. Sometimes she accuses me of incompetence. I suffer greatly from having to work together with this person as a team. What can I do? A. Working together with someone incompatible can be one of life’s greatest trials. One prominent Jewish classic finds a hint […]