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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

Disloyalty or opportunity?

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q. I'm thinking of leaving my job for something that will leave me more opportunity for other horizons. But my employer depends on me very much and has helped me very much. Is it ethical for me to leave her in the lurch?

A. This is a question I receive frequently. Very often people want a job which will give them more opportunities for spiritual growth – one that will leave them more time for Torah study, or one that will enable them to be in a community that will be more nurturing spiritually.

Once I had a brief discussion on this matter with a prominent Jewish leader. She told me that generations ago this kind of question was never asked. People took their work seriously and took pride in it, but only nowadays, she felt, do people feel subordinated to their work. I don't have the same perspective as this individual, but it is worth examining if this is really a modern phenomenon.

The strict law on this matter is very clear. Fundamentally, any worker is allowed to quit his job any time he wants, and be paid pro rata for the time he worked.

    A worker is allowed to retract even in the middle of the day. As long as he does not retract he is subject to the authority of the employer; the reason he may retract is different [not because the employer lacks authority]. As it is written (Leviticus 25:55) "For the children of Israel are slaves to Me" – and not slaves to slaves. (1)

This passage demonstrates that the foundation of human freedom is our subordination to G0d. Since slavery among the Jewish people is rejected, and since forced labor for any amount of time is tantamount to slavery, the worker is given the right to retract.

There are certain exceptions, which the mishna refers to as "matters of loss." These are all cases where the agreement to work in the first place created a situation where quitting would now cause an actual loss to the employer. For example, in the time of the mishna clothes were laundered by placing them in a caustic bath. If the worker who is expert in this trade had not agreed to work, the employer wouldn't have laundered any garments. But once the worker begins work and puts the garments in the bath, if he then quits and leaves the garments in they will be ruined. So this is a matter of loss.

Another example is musicians for a wedding. If one band doesn't agree no loss is caused; another can always be obtained. But if the band cancels at the last minute, getting a new band on short notice is very expensive, so the cancellation causes a loss. (2)

This is the strict law, but that doesn't mean there is no value to being a conscientious worker and not leaving your employer in an awkward situation. Let us consider the example of one of our greatest sages, Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanus:

    What was the beginning of Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanus? He was twenty two years old and did not study Torah. One time he said, I will go and study Torah before Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai. Horkanus his father told him: You may not eat anything until you plow a full furrow. He got up early in the morning and plowed a full furrow. It is said that he ate that day by his father in law, and some say he ate nothing that day . . . He [walked all the way to Jerusalem and] went to his inn, and went and sat before Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai. (3)

Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanus was a grown man, and was free to leave whenever he wanted. We see that he did not plow the furrow in order to be able to eat at home, because in any case he ate by his in-laws, or perhaps not at all. As a matter of simple conscientiousness he wanted to complete the most pressing task that awaited him. He did not disappear without finishing his immediate assignment, but he also did not remain for an extended period.

I think that this is a good example for someone who is thinking of changing his or her work situation for one that provides more opportunities for spiritual growth. There is no reason to feel bound to the workplace; after all, we are slaves to G0d, not slaves to our bosses. At the same time, as a matter of conscientiousness it is generally fair and proper to coordinate your departure with the employer and complete pressing tasks so as not to leave your employer in an awkward situation.

Ethical issues aside, it is always prudent to consider carefully before leaving your job. Good jobs don't grow on trees, and I get occasional letters from people who left adequate if problematic work situations without adequate planning and find themselves in straitened circumstances. Staying on is not an ethical obligation to the employer, but sometimes it is the prudent course of action.

SOURCES: (1) Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 116b (2) Mishna, Bava Metzia 6:1. (3) Avos deRebbe Nosson chapter 6

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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.

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