Work as a Jewish Spiritual Practice

It is in the "real world" of work and commerce that Jewish values are tested and put into practice.

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"'I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living' (Psalm 116:9). Rav Yehudah said: That means the marketplaces' (Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 71a).

'Rav Yehudah said: A person who wishes to be pious must fulfill the laws of the tractates of Nezikin [the section of Talmud dealing with business laws] (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Kamma 30a).

"True piety is determined by one's attitude toward money, for only one who is reliable in money matters can be considered pious" (Zevi Hirsch Koidonover [Poland and Germany, 17th-early 18th century], Kav Ha-yashar).

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Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

Michael Strassfeld is the rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Manhattan, co-author of The First Jewish Catalog, The Second Jewish Catalog, A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah, and author of The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary.