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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 March 31, 2008 / 24 Adar II 5768

Pay Day

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: I always try to pay my workers on time, but sometimes we are a little short. Do we have to borrow to meet the regular payday?

A: Paying workers on time is a high priority in the Torah. There is both a positive commandment to pay on time, and a negative commandment prohibiting delay. In the book of Leviticus (19:13) we read: "Don't defraud your fellow nor rob him; don't leave the worker's wages by you until morning." And in Deuteronomy (24:14-15) we find:

"Don't defraud the hired worker, poor and needy, from among your brothers, or from the stranger in your land, in your gates. On the same day give him his wage, let not the sun set on it. For he is poor, and he has his soul set on it; lest he cry against you unto G-d, and it be considered to you a sin."

In fact, based on the phrase "he has his soul set on it," the Talmud states: "Anyone who withholds the wages of a worker, it is as if he takes his soul away."

At the same time, the sages of the Talmud were aware of the practical limitations that can sometimes occur. If the employer doesn't have the money available, he is exempt from paying until he is able: "Could it be that the employer transgresses even if he doesn't have [the money]? The verse says '[don't leave the worker's wages] by you' -- only when it is by you." (1)

By the same token, the Talmud there states that if the worker knows that it is customary that the employer will only have money to pay on a certain day, then the pay is due only on that day. This is the usual situation nowadays, when most employers don't pay on the last day of the month but rather a few days into the following month.

But these leniencies may not be exploited cynically. For example, it is not proper to hire workers if you know in advance you will not be able to pay them in a timely fashion. The Sefer Hachinuch (588), a commentary on the commandments, writes:

"The Scriptures didn't obligate him unless he has the money or is able to pay, but if he is unable to pay on the same day without suffering a significant loss, it seems that Scripture did not obligate him. Even so, any thinking person should make sure he will have the money at hand before he hires workers."

Since the Chinuch writes that the workers should be paid unless it will involve a significant loss, it seems that if credit is readily available money should borrowed to pay them on time, and many authorities state this explicitly. (2)

I was once present when an employer consulted a well-known rabbinical authority about what to do since he had no money to pay his workers. The rabbi replied: Look under the floor tiles! Workers expect to be paid in a timely way for their efforts, and employers should leave no stone, or floor tile, unturned in order to fulfill their expectations. The exception is if doing so involves a meaningful loss.

SOURCES: (1) Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 112a (2) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Sechirus 18; Ahavas Chesed


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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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