Ethics and the Law: When Pleasantness Trumps Rules
23 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 13, 2019
The Talmud stresses the overarching principle “Her [the Torah’s] ways are the ways of pleasantness and all of her paths are peace,” a verse in Proverbs, to ensure that the laws of Scripture are value-driven rather than mainly rule-driven. Jewish sages understood that creating a peaceful, harmonious, and pleasant society was the focus of the Torah. In many cases, biblical laws were modified in order to maintain harmony and peace. Companies interested in solidifying their codes of ethics should examine this Talmudic approach, and their codes of ethics should similarly be guided by a core value such as compassion to bring their behavior into compliance with the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law.
Keywords: codes of ethics, value-driven ethics, spirit of law, ways of peace, pleasantness, Talmud, Torah
JEL Classification: J50, M12, M14, M54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation