Why don’t rabbanim talk more about honesty in business?
And the answer is that every day a Jew is getting this lesson. A little boy goes to the yeshiva and right away he learns arba avos nezikin, about all the different forms of damage that he’s responsible for. Once a man stopped me on the street and he asked me, “Why is my grandson learning law in the yeshiva? Is he going to be a lawyer? All the halachos of damages he’s learning there.” I told him what Rav Yisrael Salanter answered. Rav Yisrael Salanter said that when you grow up and you haven’t learned yet the responsibility you have to a fellow man’s money then it’s already too late. You’ll never feel any hargashah for somebody else’s money. And therefore you have to start right from the beginning.
So the first thing you learn in the yeshiva is that if you damage somebody’s property, you have to pay. Ohhh! That’s a big chiddush for a little child. He walks into a store, touches this, touches that, he opens up a box of merchandise; he makes harm – he doesn’t know anything about other people’s money. The first lesson he learns in yeshiva is that he has to pay, that a mazik has to pay.
Certainly, Jewish children are being taught that. They’re learning about gezel and damages; even a lost object one has to return. The first thing we teach our little children is mamon acheirim, other people’s money. That’s the first and most important lesson. So certainly the Jewish nation is getting that instruction; more than anybody else in the world. Which nation compares to us? Mi k’amcha Yisrael goy echad ba’aretz – Who can compare to us? Which nation teaches their little boys not to do harm to other people’s property? It’s ridiculous! Nobody can compare to the Jewish nation. Bava Kama and Bava Metzia and Bava Basra are all talking about mamon acheirim, about how important other people’s money is.
TAPE # E-120