Sefer HaYirah, Rabbeinu Yonah
ספר היראה (רבינו יונה)
השמר מלצער בע"ח הן בהמה הן עוף, וכ"ש שלא לצער אדם שהוא עשוי בצלם המקום. אם אתה רוצה לשכור פועלים ומצאת עניים יהיו עניים בני ביתך, ואך אל תבזה אותם, אך דרך כבוד תצוה להם, ותשלם שכרם משלם…
Be careful not to afflict any living creature, whether animal or bird, and all the more so, one should not afflict a person, created in the image of the Divine. If you want to hire laborers and you find that they are poor, they should be [regarded as] the poor members of your household, and do not degrade them, rather give them their orders in a respectful manner, and surely pay their wages. [translation by Uri L'Tzedek]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why does Rabbeinu Yonah juxtapose respect for animals and birds with respect for the poor?

2. How should we treat the poor members of our household? Why do we treat poor workers in the same manner?

3. What does this tell us about our relationship to the poor? What about the relationship of an employer and employee?

Time Period: Medieval (Geonim through the 16th Century)