As Daf Yomi readers saw this week, the idea that the power of wealth must be constrained, that the rich have duties to the poor, is deeply rooted in Judaism. In Chapter Nine of Bava Metzia, the rabbis discussed a set of biblical commandments that impose ethical obligations on people in a position of economic advantage. The first is that an employer cannot delay payment of wages to his employees; he must pay them every day if they work during the day, or every night if they work at night. “Anyone who withholds the wages of a hired laborer,” the Sages say in Bava Metzia 111a, “violates five prohibitions and one positive mitzvah.” Such a person is considered guilty of theft because he is effectively stealing from his employee as well as violating the commandment “do not oppress your neighbor.”Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
The Talmud on wage payment and loan collateral
THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: What the Rich Owe the Poor. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the deep Jewish roots of income equality, and the shared dignity it brings.