Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Cheshvan 5764 - October 29, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Pay Slip
by Rosally Saltsman

I would like to share a pet peeve of mine with you. Now, Sheindel doesn't like me to be negative; she likes me to be positive, but this pet-peeve of mine is one that trips up many people and causes suffering to both the perpetrators (in the form of committing theft, causing pain, and being guilty of not paying workers on time and lying -- sins committed by Noach's generation) and the victims -- in terms of monetary loss, anxiety, loss of trust and being led blindly into making promises that they cannot keep.

Whenever I do a piece of work for someone, or am promised a contribution for something, or someone owes me money and promises to pay and I don't receive payment for the above promise, money owed or debt, this begins a chain reaction of unkept promises, unpaid debts and unhonored commitments. Yes, it's only a small sum and yes, it's only a few days later, but these small sums add up to large amounts that I need to cover and these small delays add up to loss of credibility, honesty and trust between myself and the people whose check I am awaiting, as well as myself and those awaiting my payment.

Now, to my knowledge, no one reading this paper is guilty of the aforementioned regarding me. (YATED actually pays on schedule, may such employers increase.) But ask yourselves, "Have I been negligent lately in paying a gemach [or returning a borrowed article to a specific gemach], a worker or a pledge?" Have you promised to put a check in the mail to someone and forgotten, or put it off because you didn't have a stamp/check/address or time and money? None of the above are good excuses (well, maybe the last one).

Yes I know, these things happen, but the people they happen to suffer because of it. They wait for the money promised to them and the people whom they promised it to wait in their turn, all the while feeling resentful, worried, helpless, anxious, mistrustful and confused. And this continues in a vicious cycle.

If you can't make the commitment or afford the service, or keep to the payment schedule, then don't commit to it, or say so at the outset. I have the unfortunate habit of believing people when they tell me they'll pay me on time or send me a check. Not everyone is guilty of being lax in this but everyone is going through hard times and we all want to feel, nay, need to feel, that we can rely on others.

It is a terrible sin not to pay people on time, especially if you have misled them, intentionally or not, into believing they will receive payment due when it's due.

If you can't pay someone or -- oops, didn't have a stamp, please be fair and let them know. It is one's personal, ethical, halachic and legal responsibility. In Noach's time, the Flood was brought on because of the sin of gezel and the Midrash tells us that the sums involved were minute.

I sincerely urge everyone to take action NOW to rectify and restitute any unpaid debts, especially the small ones.

Don't wait for a rainy day!


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