In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 18, 2008 / 17 Menachem-Av 5768

Business with Friends

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: A friend suggested I join him in a business deal. When I suggested a contract, he explained that we're good friends and a hand-shake is enough. Should I be suspicious?

A: You don't have to be suspicious of your friend, but you should certainly be prudent.

It's true that our sages tell us, "Always consider others as bandits, yet respect the, as Rabban Gamliel did." A stranger once sought hospitality at the house of the leading sage Rabban Gamliel; Rabban Gamliel took him in and treated him with honor, but also took away the ladder to the guest's attic room to prevent him from burgling the house. But as the passage goes on to explain, this applies mainly to a stranger. (1) Regarding a friend, it is more appropriate to judge him favorably, as we learn from the verse, "Judge your fellow with righteousness." (Leviticus 19:15.) While the plain meaning is an admonition to the judge to adjudicate righteously, our sages also learned from this verse that we should judge others favorably. (2)

However, our everyday enemies of carelessness, forgetfulness, and misunderstanding are enemies at least as great as deliberate fraud, and perhaps greater. In a few months, you will remember that he intended one investment, and he will remember another. You will recall that you were to get fifty percent, but he will be sure he promised you only forty. If you take your case to court, or even if you decide to make it non-adversarial and go to an arbitrator or mediator, the person will have nothing to go on.

The insight that even honest people are in need of carefully documented agreements is emphasized in the following Talmudic passage:

Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: Anyone who has spare money and lends it without witnesses, transgresses the prohibition "Don't put a stumbling block before the blind". Reish Lakish said, he brings misfortune on himself, as it is written (Psalms 31:18?) "Silence befall lips that speak untruth, who speak against the righteous". The rabbis said to Rav Ashi, "[The sage] Ravina fulfills all the rabbis commanded. [Rav Ashi] sent him a message just before Sabbath came in, "Send me ten zuz [a sum of money], for I just found an opportunity to buy a piece of land. [Ravina] sent back, bring witnesses and write a deed. He sent to him, even me?! He sent back, you above all, for one who is absorbed in study comes to forget and brings misfortune on himself.

Rashi explains that the "stumbling block before the blind" is that the borrower may be tempted to deny the loan; "misfortune on himself" is that people will suspect him, the lender, of making a false claim when he tries to recover the loan in court. (3)

Ravina certainly did not suspect Rav Ashi of trying to cheat him. Even so, he points out that even the most righteous people can sometimes be absent minded, and insisted that even among the most trustworthy friends, all agreements should be clearly elaborated and carefully documented.

SOURCES: (1) Kallah Rababi 7:1 (2) Babylonian Talmud, Shevuos 30a (3) Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 75b


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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology. To comment or pose a question, please click here.


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