Page 174 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
“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
(New
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.
BUSINESS ETH ICS
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
mand.
In the field o f economics, Stephen M. Passamaneck’s
Insurance
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
(New
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