Thursday, June 25, 2009

Honesty, the Only Policy

The Chavas Da’as, zt”l, was experienced in business from his youth. He knew all the tricks and equivocations people did, without any regard for the truth, often violating clear halachos for a small gain. It is no wonder that that in his long will he warned his children against such sharp business practices.
He wrote, “I also warn you, if you have some business to conduct with a person who you feel does not fully understand what he is getting himself into, you must explain to him all the details of the transaction before he obligates himself. You must not say to yourselves, ‘What difference does his lack of comprehension make to me if he is clearly willing to sign?’
“Such thoughts should not even enter your head since you can violate לא תונו with the greatest of ease. And even if technically you do not violate this prohibition, what about the often quoted, yet more often ignored verse: ואהבת לרעך כמוך?
“Instead of tricking someone into doing what he may not wish to do, act with honesty and integrity… Be very careful never to borrow more than money than you have since Hashem can help you earn a profit whether you have a large sum of money to invest or a small sum. Even if you see with your own eyes that your capital is so small that you cannot possibly make a profit, you should not borrow. Better to take a partner who invests his money and receives half all profits then to borrow money in the hopes of making it back.”


OOR said...

Apparently not the ONLY policy...

Devorah said...

OOR: that blog post "bending truth" is not dealing with money issues.... so it's not comparable.

If Jews followed the advice contained in "Honesty the only Policy" we would not have had the subprime mortgage crisis and the subsequent global recession.


OOR said...

Once the lines begin to blur...

Micha Golshevsky said...

Devorah: Great answer!
OOR: You are absolutely right.
Yet we must recall that very often these matters are not black and white.
Sometimes one is permitted or even obligated to lie and this sadly means that the line IS blurry.
This is one reason why verse states, "Midevar sheker tirchak," We must work on distancing ourselves from falsehood, even if there is a price to pay for telling the truth. But this is a very high level indeed. Hashem should help us attain it!