Friday, February 3, 2012

Daily Business Ethics Halacha #10

We are learning from Case Studies in Business Ethics by the late Rabbi Dr. Aaron Levine z"l professor of economics at Yeshiva University.

"Someone who retracts a verbal commitment is called untrustworthy and a Jewish court will admonish and publicly reprove the offender for this misconduct.  Nevertheless, breaking a promise is permissible in certain circumstances.  Consider the following scenario:

Person A verbally commits himself to confer B with a largess.  Subsequently, A has second thoughts and wishes to retract.  Provided A made his commitment in good faith, his subsequent retraction is not unethical.  Given the consider expense involved, B presumably never relied on the promise and hence A's retraction should not have dashed B's expectations."

My question on this: does that apply to a pledge made to a charitable organization or a shul?  As someone who works for a not for profit, I know that we budget for the future based on pledges made to us by donors.  If they were to retract we would be in serious trouble. 


  1. I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It's a
    very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to
    create your theme? Fantastic work!

    My webpage - free skype credit generator mac