Ethics and the Law: When Pleasantness Trumps Rules

23 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2019

See all articles by Hershey H. Friedman

Hershey H. Friedman

City University of New York - Department of Business Management

Dov Fischer

Brooklyn College, Murray Koppelman School of Business

Date Written: March 13, 2019

Abstract

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

Friedman, Hershey H. and Fischer, Dov, Ethics and the Law: When Pleasantness Trumps Rules (March 13, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3352140 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3352140

Hershey H. Friedman (Contact Author)

City University of New York - Department of Business Management ( email )

Dov Fischer

Brooklyn College, Murray Koppelman School of Business ( email )

2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY NY - New York 11210
United States

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