Jewish Guide to Fairtrade: Justice in the Marketplace

Part three of five text and discussion sheets included within the Jewish Guide to Fairtrade - which can be found in full here [1]. [1]

(י) אֲנִ֧י יְהוָ֛ה חֹקֵ֥ר לֵ֖ב בֹּחֵ֣ן כְּלָי֑וֹת וְלָתֵ֤ת לְאִישׁ֙ כדרכו [כִּדְרָכָ֔יו] כִּפְרִ֖י מַעֲלָלָֽיו׃ (ס) (יא) קֹרֵ֤א דָגַר֙ וְלֹ֣א יָלָ֔ד עֹ֥שֶׂה עֹ֖שֶׁר וְלֹ֣א בְמִשְׁפָּ֑ט בַּחֲצִ֤י ימו [יָמָיו֙] יַעַזְבֶ֔נּוּ וּבְאַחֲרִית֖וֹ יִהְיֶ֥ה נָבָֽל׃

I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means. When his life is half gone, they will desert him, and in the end he will prove to be a fool.

Suggested Discussion Questions

1. What sentiment is Jeremiah expressing about how our actions are judged and in particular how we acquire wealth or do business?

2. What does Jeremiah suggest will be the punishment for acquiring wealth by unjust means?

3. How do we respond when in many cases today those who acquire wealth by unjust means do not find their wealth leaving them?

אמר רבא בשעה שמכניסין אדם לדין אומרים לו נשאת ונתת באמונה

Said Rava, when a man enters the court of judgment (after death), they ask him: did you conduct all your dealings in good faith?”

(א) אָסוּר לְרַמּוֹת אֶת בְּנֵי אָדָם בְּמִקָּח וּמִמְכָּר אוֹ לִגְנֹב אֶת דַּעְתָּם. וְאֶחָד עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים וְאֶחָד יִשְׂרָאֵל.

It is forbidden to cheat people in buying or selling or to deceive them, whether they are Jewish or gentile [Translation Equal Exchange]

Suggested Discussion Questions

1. What do these texts say about succesful business?

2. What is our responsibilities in woking with Jewish and non-Jewish traders?

3. How can we ensure our work is conducted in a fair way?

4. What is the Jewish attitude to how people should conduct themselves in the marker place?