2020_09-30 19 Hebrew Principles for Best Business Practices

At the core of the World Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WAIE)‘s teachings are that of our ancestral Hebrew principles. When our young scholars learn about business and entrepreneurship they will learn about the foundational teachings of how they should operate their business before learning about business practices for world cultures. There are 19 Hebrew Principles for Best Business Practices that are key for all young scholars to learn about. Below we have outlined the key principles, let us know in the comments if you’re implementing these practices and how you are implementing them.

19 Hebrew Principles for Best Business Practices: Entrepreneurs

1. Do good when buying or selling as a Best Business Practice.

The original principle focuses on doing good when buying from or selling to your neighbor. You can apply this principle by not trying to lie, cheat, or manipulate when you’re making a transaction. One example of this is when you’re purchasing a product or service you should pay the price they are asking without trying to cheat them for a lower price then what is fair. However, at the same time the seller should charge a fair and reasonable price without trying to cheat the buyer. We have real world examples of companies not doing this in the pharmaceutical, apparel, and other industries.

2. Do not make a loan on interest from or sell them food at a profit to your countryman as a Best Business Practice.

This principle specifically focuses on our fellow countryman who become destitute and cannot support him or herself. It is our responsibility to help those in need so that they may return to being a productive member of the community. In the case of providing a loan, giving a 0% interest loan is the main focus for those in need so that you’re restored to your original state through repayment but your countryman is not taken advantage of during the process. For food, you can sell food to your countryman for the cost of production and labor but should not try to profit off of the hardship of your fellow countryman since food is needed for survival. 

3. Do not borrow a loan on interest from your countryman as a Best Business Practice.

This principle helps to ensure that both the lender and borrow remain within the Hebrew Principles. Also, it helps to ensure that the borrower doesn’t cause the lender to transgress through accepting a loan on interest from their fellow countryman. You can still give loans to foreigners and aliens with interest but the goal is to support your fellow countrymen in being fruitful and productive members of the community.

4. Avoid taking part in usurious transactions between borrowers and lenders as a witness, a surety, or bond writer for them.

The principles ensures that the entire community is holding each other accountable for doing good business practices. This principles prevents a third party from endorsing or condoning the actions of people breaking earlier listed principles. If someone requests your help as a third party to a contract and you find out the contract is a usurious one then you are within your rights to reject their request.

5. Lend money to your poor countrymen without charging interest as a Best Business Practice.

This principle is a reiteration of number 1 and encourages those who may be hesitate to lend money to those in need to do so without treating it like a business deal by charging interest, but instead treat it as providing aid and support to them in being productive members of your community. It particularly talks about how when you charge interest of the poor then you are potentially taking all that they have for your own profit.

6. Do not pressure the poor to repay a debt when you know they cannot repay you as a Best Business Practice.

This does not meant he poor will never repay the debt they owe you. However, if you have loaned to the poor and know that they are still not in a position to repay you then you should not pressure, threaten, or demand that they repay you. Examples of this being done is when medical agencies send letters to those in need and threaten to send them to collections when they know the person cannot afford to repay the debt for their health. This places the medical agencies in the position of doing good by loaning resources to those with health conditions into a method of making profit for themselves at the expense of the poor and ultimately the community.

7. Do not take someone’s means for making a livelihood as a pledge for a debt as a Best Business Practice.

The principle specifically talks about cooking utensils, however, the purpose of the principle in modern day is to avoid taking someone’s means for making a livelihood as a pledge to repay a debt. For example, if a mechanic owes you a debt and you’re wanting a pledge for repayment then you shouldn’t take nor accept the tools they need for working on vehicles as a pledge for repayment. This has two implications: (1) if you take the tools needed for making money then you’ll never be repaid, and (2) if you take the tools they need for making money then you risk making them poor because they not only can’t pay you back but then can’t buy food, take care of their family, or anything else.

8. To not collect on a debt by force as a Best Business Practice.

This is something you can see prevalent in the loan shark community. When someone owes you a debt you shouldn’t try to collect that debt through forceful means and tactics. This includes but isn’t limited to sending people to beat them up, kidnapping their family members, or any other method that would force them to do something in order to repay you for the debt they owe. First of all, acts of force are usually criminal, which goes against many other principles and laws, but uses of force can also cause your fellow countryman to do things that may break the law.

9. To return a poor debtors pledge when it is needed as a Best Business Practice.

If you do receive a pledge from a debtor who is poor and they return to you and ask for their pledge back because they need it then the principle outlines that you are return the pledge to them. However, this principle only applies to those debtors who are poor within your community as the goal is to help the poor debtor be in a better position in life so they can be a productive member of the community.

10. Do not take a pledge for a debt from a widow as a Best Business Practice.

In more cases historically, but still in some cases in the modern day, the husband’s income may either be the main source or a supporting source that is needed for the household to function. When the husband dies the widow may no longer have a source of income or may have reduced income to the point that she cannot maintain the household on her own. If the widow needs to take a loan out and is in your debt then the principle encourages you to not take a pledge for her debt but instead to loan the money with faith that she’ll repay it back.

11. Avoid committing fraud when measuring as a Best Business Practice.

Fraud is never a good idea regardless to the context. However, this principle particularly focuses on fraud committed when participating in business dealings that require measurements. Some common examples is using a common accepted standard for the weight of products to decide on pricing, the length and measurements of clothing, and the number of products you are selling at an amount. If you’ve ever bought something from the frozen isle and it says you should receive 8 of those delicious snacks but when you open it you’re really receiving 7 or 7.5 then that would be a breech of this principle.

12. Use scales and weights that are correct as a Best Business Practice.

This is similar to the fraud principle, however, instead of focusing on the measuring side it focuses on the tools used to measure. In most grocery stores as well as some Asian markets you have weigh certain products. For example, weighing your bag of apples on Safeway’s scale to receive a price. In this principle Safeway is responsible for ensuring that all of their scales are correct and right. If I weigh it on two different Safeway scales and receive different weights or if I weigh it on Safeway’s scales then weight it on a QFC scale and receive a different weight then a scale somewhere is inaccurate. This principle tries to help the seller from avoiding this inaccuracy so that the buyer is charged a fair price.

13. Throw away inaccurate measures and weights as a Best Business Practice.

Now, if a seller discovers they have an inaccurate measuring or weighing tool then they are responsible, under this principle, to throw it away so that it isn’t accidentally used when making transactions with customers. This can also be said for measuring tape for clothing and anything used for weighing and measuring in a business setting.

19 Hebrew Principles for Best Business Practices: Employees

14. Do not delay payment of a worker’s wages as a Best Business Practice.

When the principle was created people were paid at the end of the day for their wages. In modern times we are paid biweekly, monthly, or on another schedule depending on the contract we enter if we’re a consultant. This principle focuses on making sure you don’t delay in paying your employees when you have agreed to pay them. There are some notorious people who scam their employees and don’t pay them on time or not at all but that breeches this principle. It’s also against the law to not pay your employees.

15. Allow the hired worker to eat of the produce they are reaping as a Best Business Practice.

If you are a farm owner or owner of a business that involves produce then under this principle you are expected to allow your worker to eat of the produce until their hunger is satisfied. This doesn’t permit them to take any of it home with them but it is an employment benefit similar to giving employees a discount to purchase food at a restaurant while they’re at work. However, in this case you allow them to eat of your produce for free.

16. Allow the hired worker to eat of the produce they are reaping as a Best Business Practice.

If you are a farm owner or owner of a business that involves produce then under this principle you are expected to allow your worker to eat of the produce until their hunger is satisfied. This doesn’t permit them to take any of it home with them but it is an employment benefit similar to giving employees a discount to purchase food at a restaurant while they’re at work. However, in this case you allow them to eat of your produce for free.

17. The hired worker should not take more than they can eat as a Best Business Practice.

As the allowance of eating of the produce you reap is a benefit to workers, the workers must also respect the property and business of the employer. This means they should only eat to satisfaction rather than taking some home with them to feed their family or for their own meals later. However, this does not prevent the employer from selling the worker produce at a discount for the worker to take home with them.

18. The hired worker should not eat of produce that isn’t being harvested as a Best Business Practice.

In the process of harvesting/reaping the produce, the employees are probably only focused on one section of produce for that day. This principle encourages workers to only eat of the produce that they are harvesting for that day rather than walking to other produce to eat of crops we may not be harvesting for that day or may not harvest for another several months because they’re not ready for harvest yet.

19. Pay the wages of your hired worker at the due time as a Best Business Practice.

This principle reiterates number 14 on this list. The employer should pay their workers on the agreed upon time and not delay the wages owed to the worker. Not paying your workers on the agreed upon time is unethical and can risk placing your workers in a state of not being able to serve as productive members of your community. So you would not only do a disservice to your worker and their family but also to the community as a whole.

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