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The Jewish Ethicist: Witness Character

The Jewish Ethicist: Witness Character

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

Q. Much of my income as a real estate appraiser comes from testifying as an expert witness. The litigants who hire me expect me to give low appraisals which will help them in court, and they’ll stop hiring me if I don’t meet their expectations. Can I tailor my testimony to the needs of my clients? JF

A. In order to answer your question, we have to clarify a critical distinction. There is a big difference between a litigant or party to a trial and a witness in a trial. Everyone understands that the litigants are not impartial, and that their claims may be carefully crafted to help their case in court. But a witness is expected to provide only facts, and to be completely impartial.

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Jewish Business Ethics: An Introductory Perspective

Jewish Business Ethics: An Introductory Perspective

from jlaw.com by Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz

Many of us have a mistaken idea of what is within the compass or scope of our religious traditions. People know that lighting Chanukah candles is something you talk about with a rabbi, observance of the Shabbat, the laws of Kashrut, etc., but many people have an attitude that if I don’t tell the rabbi how to run his business, the rabbi shouldn’t tell me how to run mine. Very often, we live fragmented dichotomized lives where what we do in the office from 9 to 5 (or if you’re a workaholic from 8 to 7), is our own private affair and then at home we observe the holidays, or the rituals of Judaism, on the weekends, or three-days-a-year, or whatever.

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Holy Money

Holy Money
from aish.com by Rabbi Yitzchok Braitowitz

Many have a mistaken idea of what is within the scope of Jewish tradition. People know that lighting Chanukah candles, observance of Shabbat, laws of Kashrut, etc., are the purview of rabbis. But many have an attitude that “If I don’t tell the rabbi how to run his business, the rabbi shouldn’t tell me how to run mine.” Very often, we live fragmented, dichotomized lives where what we do in the office from 9-to-5 (or if you’re a workaholic, from 8-to-7) is our own private affair, and then at home we observe the holidays and rituals of Judaism.

The Talmud discusses the questions people are asked by God after their deaths. The very first question we are held accountable for — even before issues of religious practice — is “Nasata V’netata Be’emunah,” which means “did you conduct your business affairs ethically?”

Ritual behavior and social behavior are all part of the same religious structure.

Throughout the Torah, there is constant juxtaposition between ritual commands and the ethical obligations of one human being to another. One verse may say, “Don’t worship idols,” followed by, “Do not cheat, do not misrepresent, do not engage in fraud” (Leviticus 19). Dichotomy between ritual behavior and social behavior is foreign to Judaism, because they are all part of the same God-given morality, the same religious structure.

Business ethics is the arena where the ethereal transcendent teachings of holiness and spirituality most directly confront the often grubby business of making money, of being engaged in the rat race that often comprises the marketplace. It is the acid test of whether religion is truly relevant, or religion is simply relegated to an isolated sphere of human activity. It is business ethics, one could posit, above all, that shows how God co-exists in the world, rather than God and godliness being separate and apart.

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Radically Jewish Business Ethics

Radically Jewish Business Ethics
from chabad.org By David Weitzner

In the wake of the latest business scandals in the news, let’s go ahead and ask the real question that sits in the back of the head of every businessman with a conscience: Is business inherently at odds with ethics?

Let’s probe deeper than that: What is the precise relationship between the world of business and the seemingly disparate world of morality and ethics? Does this relationship begin and end with a set of rules specifying the behaviors that are to be avoided while engaging in an inherently unholy, albeit necessary, task? Or, as a radical alternative, can business activity be celebrated as something with significant spiritual potential?