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

How fair does ‘fair consideration’ have to be?

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q. In your last column you wrote that it is improper to advertise a position if you have already decided on the person to fill the job and have no intention whatsoever of hiring other applicants. What about government requirements that require advertising a job?

A. Last time we discussed a Talmudic passage which forbids gratuitous shopping, when it wastes the time of the seller and exploits his desire to make a sale. The mishna states:

    Just as there is exploitation in commerce, so is there exploitation in speech. Don't say to [the seller], "how much does that item cost?" when you don't want to buy. (1)

The subsequent Talmudic passage adds:

    Rabbi Yehuda says, Also don't set your eye on a deal when you don't have any money. (2)

The conclusion: if you advertise a position, you are obligated to give serious consideration to all applicants, in order to give them the fair chance they are promised when the position is advertised.

The column generated an unusual degree of reader mail. Most people asked the question above: What about the many cases where soliciting applicants is a requirement? The implicit question is: Should these regulations be changed, or perhaps flouted?

Some asked the opposite question. They complained about workplaces where hires are made by fiat, without giving even minimal consideration to other applicants.

Regarding the first question, it is important to note that the conclusion of the column was not that soliciting applicants when you have a hire in mind is improper. Rather, other applicants deserve to have their applications given serious consideration. That is exactly what the government regulations require. In the case of hires where government aid is given or some kind of government permit is required, the government sees a valid public interest in providing equitable opportunity for jobs. The meaning of the requirement is not merely to advertise the position but also and primarily to give due consideration to all applicants. This is no different than the requirement that multiple bids be solicited for government contracts in order to prevent favoritism (giving the contract to someone you know) and laziness (taking the first supplier who comes along).

This also gives the answer to the second question. Soliciting applicants is not an unfair practice; on the contrary, in many cases it is the fairest practice. But the solicitation has to be sincere.

One way to maximize the effectiveness of the application process and minimize wasted effort on the part of the employer and interviewees alike is to make the original advertisement as transparent as possible. The object is to select specifically the people who truly have a reasonable chance of being the best person for the job. There are various ways of doing this. One is to be as specific as possible regarding the qualifications being sought, so as not to waste the time of over- or under-qualified applicants. Another is to specify if the ad itself results from some policy or regulation. For instance, the ad could mention that it is being publicized in accordance with regulation so-and-so, or "ABC corporation's policy is to open new positions to all qualified applicants." This can tip off people whose time is valuable that there may be a preferred applicants waiting in the wings.

Obviously there are other and competing considerations at work, including the desire to be discreet about the nature of job openings and to save money in ads, which are billed by the word. But to the extent they are practical these measures can save time and aggravation for all concerned.

Opening up new positions for general consideration, even when a qualified applicant is known, can be a fair and effective way of guaranteeing the best hire and avoiding favoritism and laziness, or it can be a colossal waste of time for employer and applicants alike. One way to tip the scale is in the right direction is to advertise the position in the most informative way practical. Above all, once applications are submitted it is necessary to give fair consideration to each one.

SOURCES: (1) Mishna, Bava Metzia 4:10 (2) Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 58b

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.

To comment or pose a question, please click here.


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.


You've enjoyed his columns on JWR for years. Now the Jewish Ethicist has culled his most intriguing — and controversial — offerings in book form.
Sales help fund JWR.

© 2009, The Jewish Ethicist is produced by the JCT Center for Business Ethics