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 Nov. 12, 2008 / 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Tyrannical Co-Workers

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: I have a co-worker who is tyrannical and otherwise difficult. Sometimes she accuses me of incompetence. I suffer greatly from having to work together with this person as a team. What can I do?

A: Working together with someone incompatible can be one of life's greatest trials. One prominent Jewish classic finds a hint of this difficulty in a commandment of the Torah.

The Torah commands us, "Don't plow with an ox and an ass together". (Deuteronomy 22:10) While this directive may seem arbitrary to us, the medieval classic work Sefer Hachinuch suggests an ethical motivation and presents a human analog as well:

Among the reasons for this commandment is concern for the suffering of animals, which is a Torah commandment. For it is known that to animals and birds there is great anxiety to dwell with other kinds, and so much the more to labor with them. . .And very wise person should learn a moral from this and never appoint for anything two people who are far apart in their natures and different in their conduct, for example a righteous and a wicked person, or a light hearted and a grave person. For if the Torah was strict on the suffering of animals who aren't given understanding, so much the more for people, who have an intelligent soul to know their Creator. (1)

The Talmud points out that it is impossible to endure marriage with a completely incompatible person, "A person can not live in the same basket as a snake" (2); in other places we learn that finding a compatible workplace is a difficult task, comparable in some ways to finding a compatible spouse. (3)

Even so, it is surprising how many people suffer difficult situations in silence, and don't make an effort to rectify them. If you haven't done so until now, you should try to find a way to communicate your concerns to your colleague - preferably directly, but if necessary through a third party. The Torah commands us, "Surely reprove your fellow, and don't bear sin towards him". (Leviticus 19:17)

Let's see what the same Sefer Hachinuch says about this:

Because this promotes peace and welfare among people, for if one person should sin towards another and he reproves him privately, he can apologize before him and the other will accept his apology, and be reconciled. But if he doesn't reprove him, he will despise him in his heart and be liable to harm him sooner or later. (4)

A parallel consideration mentioned by other commentators is that if we reprove someone, we give them an opportunity to defend their actions. Sometimes it is the reprover who owes an apology, but no matter what it is the gentle and private reproof that creates the opportunity for reconciliation.

If private steps don't solve the problem, you may have to turn to other people in your firm. While informing your boss about this person's shortcomings for purely vindictive purposes would be forbidden slander, your intention is not to get revenge but merely to create a livable working environment. I would certainly advise you to consult your employer and try to find a way to change your work situation, even if the outcome may be that your co-worker may have to change jobs. If that doesn't help matters, it may be that you should begin patiently looking for a new situation.

SOURCES: (1) Sefer Hachinuch 550 (2) Babylonian Talmud, Yevamos112b. (3) Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 118a, Sotah 2a. (4) Sefer Hachinuch 239


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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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