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Fellow Weekly Newsletter - Issue 68 "All American Farm Boys or the Eggless Cantor" Business Law and Ethics for the Shabbos Table

Publication: Fellow Weekly Newsletter

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2/25/11

Welcome to Fellow Weekly's:

What's the Law?™

Encouraging intelligent and entertaining debate at your Shabbos table. What's the Law?™ raises issues of business law and ethics through lively emails by featuring your real-life scenarios answered by our leading authorities and professionals.

To join this mailing list, please send an email to weekly@projectfellow.org with the word subscribe in the subject line.

CASE 168: All American Farm Boys or The Eggless Cantor

New Jersey is central to the history of Jewish farmers in America. During the first half of the twentieth century, thousands of Jews started farms in the Garden State. For the most part, they started egg farms due to poor soil for crops. Jews were some of the first people to have large egg farms. In her book about the Jewish farming community of Farmingdale, New Jersey, Gertrude Dubrovsky writes, "Jewish farmers took chicken raising out of the backyard and made an industry of it".

Around the First World War, Jews started settling in loose knit groups on farms in south central New Jersey. Some of the bigger Jewish farming communities were in Tom's River, Farmingdale and Lakewood. (Berger, Joseph (May 31, 1987) New York Times.

{Henceforth, names are fictitious for obvious reasons}.

By 1920, 50 close-knit eastern European Jewish families belonged to the Any-town Community of Jewish Farmers. The local Hope of Israel Synagogue served as the moral and spiritual hub for the hard working congregants. Cantor Herbert's sweet and inspiring cantorial Shabbat renditions propelled the men of the soil high into the ethereal stratosphere each weekend infusing them with an otherworldly mutual rapture, love, and sense of purpose. In return, Hope of Israel provided Robert with a decent salary and a dozen eggs a week to gargle or fry.

Seventeen years passed and new waves began to form within the community. The younger generation lost interest in Herbert's Eastern European musical style. While Anytown could not boast a significant population growth, before long a new All American Farm Boys Congregation was formed. Suddenly threatened with a dwindling membership Hope of Israel could no longer meet their budgetary demands.

As the 1937 High Holidays approached, Hope of Israel's Board of Directors notified Cantor Herbert that they could no longer renew his contract.

Devastated, and left penniless, Herbert summoned Congregation AAFB to court accusing them of undermining his livelihood.

The AAFB or Cantor Herbert?

What's the Law?

Please email us with your comments and answers at weekly@projectfellow.org .

Read next week's issue for the answer!

LAST WEEK'S CASE

CASE 167: Class Action: The Banana Toss

Leah Gold was a good natured and intelligent young girl. She strove to excel in her studies and earned her well deserved reputation as a sincere and trusted friend. Seated amidst her classmates on North Green Bay Avenue in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Leah would often feel overcome with a sudden surge of spirited energy.

With the patient prodding and encouragement of her dedicated TA teachers, she invested much effort into channeling her inquisitiveness, vivid imagination, and enthusiastic innovativeness towards constructive venues. As she slowly matured, her tendencies only added to the overall high school spirit and collective learning experiences.

One bright sunny October day as the multi colored autumn leaves rustled softly in the refreshing morning breeze, the inner whispers so familiar to her young heart began to reach a crescendo.

The authoritative voice emanating from behind the teacher's desk enhanced the background undertones of the visions of her inner-self. Leah was climbing a tall Emergent tree. Her arm slowly reached up for the prehensile tail of a new world monkey, lifted the yellow banana from within its grip and wounded up for the fifty yard toss, when suddenly she caught herself in her tracks.

"A class disruption of such sorts would certainly spoil today's lesson. My classmates' parents invest untold efforts in order to cover their tuition obligations. Perhaps by disrupting the class, I will be grossly guilty of thievery of a high order."

What's the Law?

[Submitted by: Z.R. 10th grader Passaic, NJ]

The Answer

Leah indeed, may not toss the banana across the room. However, if she would do so she would not be liable to compensate her classmates' parents for lost class time.

Detailed Explanation

By tossing a banana disrupting a teacher from presenting her lesson, Leah could transgress the following five sins.

1) Do not do to your fellows that which you would not want another to do to you (Leviticus 19; 18).

2) Do not garner honor as a result of your fellow's humiliation ( Deuteronomy 6:12, Yerushalmi Maseches Chagiga 2:1)

3) Do not insult, pain, humiliate your fellow (Leviticus 19: 17, 25: 17).

4) "Do not act in a manner which will disgrace My Sacred Name" (ibid 22: 32).

5) Do not display disdain to food by throwing bread, or another food item in a manner in which it can become unappealing (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 171:1).

Although, a disruption of such proportions is indeed a loss for the entire class, this is to be expected in a classroom setting with lively younger children. As such, parents do not expect every single classroom moment to be 100% productive working time. Consequently, Leah is absolved from compensating her friends' parents.

Question to Ponder: Would the answer differ it if a teenager impedes a teacher from teaching for an extended period of time?

[Answered by Rabbi Yosef Friedman]

Note:

Although we aim to present the correct ruling, varying details are always important and decisively influence every individual case. Our readers are thus encouraged to present their personal cases to a competent authority and not solely rely on the information provided.

To join this mailing list, please send an email to weekly@projectfellow.org with the word subscribe in the subject line.

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