The Jewish Ethicist: Renege

The Jewish Ethicist: Renege

from by Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem

Q. I agreed to use a certain service provider and even signed an agreement, but the agreement is not valid until I obtain some authorizations from the authorities, so I am technically able to withdraw. In the meantime I came across a better deal. Can I renege on the original agreement?

A. Jewish law, based on commandment and personal commitment, includes many obligations that are not enforceable. This is true even in business regulation. So even when an agreement is not enforceable, there may be an obligation to uphold it.


“It’s Only Business,” What’s Kosher About Business Ethics?

“Its Only Business,” What’s Kosher About Business Ethics?

from by Mark Greenspan


“It’s not personal it’s only business. You should know, Godfather.” Those were the words of Licio Lucchesi,
one of the characters in the classic film The Godfather. After looting the Vatican-owned Immobiliare
Corporation of several billion dollars with the help of a high ranking Catholic official, Lucchesi turned to
Godfather Michael Corleone for help covering his tracks. While few of us will ever be quite so cunning or
deceitful it’s not uncommon for people to say, “Its only business” when cutting corners in business. The end
justifies the means. We presume that in the real world of business the standards of ethics are different than
they are elsewhere. After all don’t we say caveat emptor, “Let the buyer beware?” In the world of business and
corporate dealings only the shrewd and the most cunning survive. We admire those people who manage to
get ahead until their actions have an adverse effect on our lives.