Page 174 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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“Governmental and judicial ethics found in Hebrew Scriptures
and in postbiblical rabbinic literature stand out as highlights o f
civilization from the ancient world . . . [they] present some o f the
greatest challenges to a modern world tending toward a permis­
sive society and anarchy.” (pp. 232-233).
Works by Zechariah Fendel belong to the type o f books, mostly
translations from Hebrew, which make available vital data con­
cerning religious philosophy and observances (
shemirat mitzvot)
for the unreservedly Orthodox Jews. Scores o f texts o f this type
have appeared lately dealing with specific subjects, e.g. Sabbath,
kashruth, family purity. Fendel’s
The Halacha and Beyond
York, Hashkafah, 1983) provides an insight into the fiscal ethical
responsibilities o f the “Torah Jew.” His work offers an unsophis­
ticated learning experience that brings the reader into direct con­
tact with classical sources o f rabbinic literature.
Free Enterprise and Jewish Law: Aspects o f Jewish Business Ethics
(New York, Ktav, 1980) by Aaron Levine offers an in-depth
study, highly sophisticated and scientifically structured, regard­
ing business ethics. The problems dealt with relate to commerce,
finances, contractural law, costs and benefits, regulations o f mar­
kets and the like. These issues are analyzed from a dual aspect:
economic theory and Jewish law. The work elucidates the prem­
ise that the model o f a “self-regulating marketplace,” advocated
by theoreticians o f free enterprise, is definitely not in consonance
with the postulates o f Jewish ethics. For, according to the latter,
both market conduct and pricing policies must be determined by
moral imperatives as well as considerations o f supply and de­
In the field o f economics, Stephen M. Passamaneck’s
in Rabbinic Law
(Edinburgh, University Press, 1974) is notewor­
thy for its contents. It describes insurance techniques, particu­
larly in cases o f maritime commercial voyages, and their social,
historical and legal implications. Opinions alluded to are culled
from rabbinic responsa in the Middle Ages.
Voices o f Wisdom:Jewish Ideals and Ethicsfo r Everyday Living
York, Pantheon, 1980) by Francine Klugsbrun does not address a
specific set o f issues, social or economic. As its title implies, the
work uses a pragmatic, rather than speculative, approach to ac­