Sunday, August 13, 2017

What is a Bribe?

This week (August 12) parasha Ekev. opens with a blessing that will come with obedience.  While do not understand this as a promise or covenant, the message is clear.  If the people keep the laws, God will love us, bless us, and cause the nation to multiply. This message is repeated in several ways in the parasha.  Is obedience a bribe or payment to God?  Can God be bribed?

If we want to bride a person we offer something they desire such as fame, honor, or fortune.  Can doing the right thing for the good of oneself or community ever be a “bribe?”  Can one do good in one area as a compensation for a lack in another?  Such as does an act of tzedakah compensate for treating someone disrespectfully?  May one violate Shabbat for a “worthy” cause?

The management lesson for this week is in 8:3 –

כי לא על הלחם לבדו יחיה האדם כי

 על כל מוצא פי ה" יחיה האדם 

For man (people) do no live by bread alone, but everything that comes from the mouth of God sustains the people.

Part of this sentence is often quoted to mean that food is not the only thing that people require.  For the organization food (read monetary compensation) is not enough.  Everything word that comes out of the “organizational mouth” should work toward making the organization a better place.  We have to give the employees respect, honor, and justice not as a bribe, but as the way to make the organization a better place to work and a better way to help the customers and clients. The spiritual well-being of the organization is as important as the financial well-being.  In the well-run organization one leads by setting a good example, having reasonable expectations, and respect for the needs of the individual.

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