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Hidden Defects
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Q. After I bought a house, I discovered that the agent failed to disclose a number of defects which significantly affect the value. What recourse do I have? A. According to Jewish law, the seller has a responsibility to disclose any significant defects in the sale item. Furthermore, the disclosure must be effective, not evasive. […]
Google Gossip
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Q. Recently you wrote that it is improper to pry into someone’s private affairs through a web search. What can be wrong with this given that all the information is already publicly available? A. In a recent column I discussed the now-ubiquitous phenomenon of doing web searches on potential business partners, dates, hires, etc. I […]
Respect and Suspect
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Q. I understand business should be based on a relationship of trust. But I hear so many stories of people being cheated. Where do we draw the line between prudence and paranoia? A. Certainly the Torah educates us to create a society of honesty and mutual trust. We are on the one hand commanded to […]
Anti-Aristocracy
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Q. Is there still an obligation to tithe, as described in the Bible? How do we fulfill this obligation today? A. Actually there is widespread misunderstanding of the Biblical tithing obligation. The Torah does not actually command a general tithe of agricultural produce for the poor. The “first tithe” described in the Torah actually goes […]
I Quit
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Q.I recently agreed to take a job, and in response the employer stopped interviewing candidates. But now I’ve been offered a much better job. Can I go back on my agreement? A. In a recent column, we explained that binding agreements should always be honored, and even agreements that, due to some technicality, are not […]
Help Yourself
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Q. Breakfast at my hotel is a buffet. Is it okay to take a little back to the room for a snack later in the day? After all, I paid for the food. A. Most restaurants with buffets are very strict about taking any food out of the restaurant. Hotel dining rooms are a little […]
Artificially Sweet Vengance
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Q. Some time ago a person wronged me. Recently I heard a misfortune befell him, and I was distressed to see that I had a sense of satisfaction at his suffering. What does Judaism say about this feeling? A. Virtually all of us know the feeling of morbid satisfaction at the suffering of someone who […]
Ex Convict
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Q. A new member of our congregation served time for being a con man. Now he is trying to interest congregation members in various business deals. Can I publicly alert the congregation to his past? A. Any time we contemplate warning someone about a potential that someone may cause him a loss we are faced […]
Eat Now Pay Later
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Q. When I take children to the market I often give them a treat before I pay to keep them quiet. Is this proper? A. The case of taking someone’s property with the intention of paying afterwards is discussed in two main Talmudic passages. Let us see how the nuances of these passages can shed […]
Revealing a Secret
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Q. After I taught my students about the importance of avoiding waste, they decided to organize a protest against wasteful practices at the school. They asked me to keep their secret in order to maximize the impact of their protest, but I have an obligation to my employer to inform them of disruptions. Should I […]