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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 18:59:15 -0500 Subject: Why Do Yeshiva Student's Cheat: A Possible Approach Tova Taragin's question:"WHY do Yeshiva students cheat" has still not been answered. I would like to use analytic methods to suggest a psychological answer. We are not obligated Biblically to (1) give charity, (2) return lost articles or (3)love our neighbor like ourselves (e.g. visiting the sick of) non jews(Though to prevent social tension we are obligated rabinically).A technical reason for this is that the Biblical statement of these laws has words like "brother". By contrast the laws of theft, murder, deceipt and weights explicitly apply Biblically to both Jews and non Jews. Why the difference? The Torah did not obligate us to "trust" non jews but did obligate us to be "ethical and just" with them.Thus we don't murder, rob, or deceive them and if they don't reciprocate they will get caught. By contrast if Jews always returned lost articles, visited their sick and gave charity then there would be no way to enforce that non jews reciprocate IN A LIKE MANNER and give us charity and return our lost articles and visit our sick(instead of saying e.g. they are busy) If we gave them charity but they didn't give us as much we would get hurt. Thus the Torah did not obligate us to TRUST non jews but only to be FAIR with them. But that is our answer to Tova. A yeshiva student who e.g. comes from a big family which can't make ends meet and e.g whose father is say discriminated on the job--this student does not perceive the world as having ANY justice or fairness. EVERYTHING to this student is TRUST. I can't permit him to cheat but I do understand where he is coming from. Also, a way to remedy the problem is not to say he is mechallel hashem but to help provide him (and his family) with a secure environment where a sense of equity exists. Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d, ASA, rhendel @ mcs drexel edu