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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 18:21:09 -0500 (EST) Subject: Rambam Explicitly Permits the Collect Call Game Akiva Miller continues the thread on the collect call game (calling home in order to let your parents know you are there so that they can call you at cheaper rates) by stating it is prohibited as both theft and deception(v30n88) This echoes previous sentiments. However the Rambam Sales Chap 18 explicitly permits it. The rambam clearly distinguishes between two types of deception. KNOWlEDGE DECEPTION is prohibited while EMOTIONAL DECEPTION is permitted. Let us give examples of both and then discuss the Collect Call game. >>It is prohibited to sell a non jew traif meat when he asked for Kosher >>meat even though Kosher and Traif are the same by him (Chap 18 Par 2) But (18:4) >>It is permissable to sell below market price in order to attract customers >>It is permissable to distribute freebies of nuts to lure children >>It is permissable to remove the chaff of fruits (enhances appearance) >>BECAUSE IT ONLY CAUSES AN ILLUSION OF ENHANCEMENT (BUT THE BUYER CAN >>CLEARLY SEE THE REST OF THE FRUIT). So we have a clear statement that if you HIDE FACTS which cannot be ascertained (like the Kashruth status of meats) then it is prohibited. But if you DECEIVE (arrange things to look one way and they are otherwise) but a skillful buyer can verify the status (eg the mother knows her children going for the freebee nuts will want to 'buy' other things) then it is permissable. Let us now return to the collect call game. I tell the operator I want to make a call. The operator knows that other party may say no and that I am communicating my presence. No facts are being hidden. So it is permissable. INDEED, the phone company knows beforehand that some people will use this subterfuge because the phone company keeps records on rejected collect phone calls. The phone company willfully chose not to charge for the REQUEST for a collect call but to charge MORE for the actual collect call. So the phone company has decided to allow this--it is a business decision on their part and they still make money. Halacha never discouraged agressive business tactics. It discouraged taking advantage of helpless people (theft and information hiding). It did not discourage using the free enterprise system. I conclude with a true story I have related in mail jewish several times: One passover in college they collected money for Kosher meals and then found they had an excess. But different people contributed at different times and it wasn't clear how to divide up the money. So the meal chairman said "Lets give it to charity" Although I was not there during Passover (and it didn't affect me) I offered several other suggestions. One person came over to me afterwards and thanked me. I asked him "Why didn't you protest--it was your money". He said "I was embarassed to say anything against charity". The moral of the story is that Yeshivas should not be religious with other peoples money. If something is permissable it should be encouraged Russell Hendel; Math; Towson; Phs ASA Moderator Rashi Is Simple http://www.shamash.org/rashi/