QUESTION 89: RABBI LOOKING FOR ANOTHER POSITION
By Rabbi Yisroel Belsky
Let's say a Rabbi who has an employment contract with a
synagogue is interested in finding another position
as Rabbi, possibly in another city. Is he obligated to tell
this to his current shul out of concern for losing his job,
or what people will say? Should he take into consideration
that word might get back that he went to a synagogue in
The question is not so much a question of halachah
(Jewish Law), but more of a question of an eitzah tovah
(good advice). Is it wise to keep this a secret?
You cannot deny a person the right to look elsewhere,
or require him to announce publicly that he is looking
elsewhere. People move from position to position. While
they are at one position, they have to be able to think
about their own future, and make changes if they feel it
is necessary. They can do this, but not on company time.
They can't call in sick in order to go for an interview for
another job. They have to find a time when it doesn't
infringe on the time that they're required to work.
Still, they don't have to tell anyone. It's no one's
business to know what you're going to do with yourself
next year. You probably shouldn't, because what might happen
is that the company will begin to fight with you, and the
company's relationship with you will get sour. There will
be no gain for the company, and your relationship will
go downhill. It will be bad for them, as well as bad for
you. It's not the thing to do, nor is it required.
You have to be very careful about these things. Think
things through in fifty different ways, if there's a
reasonable chance that people are going to find out
that you are looking elsewhere. If chances are high
that they'll find out, then you should take precautions.
Think before you act.
When Shmuel was told to find David, who was to be the
next king, Shmuel was afraid people would see him
and start being suspicious. He had to protect himself
against any possible danger. You've got to protect
yourself. Camouflage your actions. Most probably,
no one from your current job will be part of the
committee that is interviewing you for the new job.
But there are people who could see you coming and
going. You should have something reasonable to say,
as a backup plan, to avoid trouble. Maybe in the end,
you'll decide to stay in this shul instead of going
somewhere else. You've got to act with prudence. Still,
you have no obligation whatsoever to tell anyone.
History and common sense dictate that no one can claim
that it's a display of disloyalty to the current job to be
looking elsewhere. It's not disloyal because loyalty
requires you only to sacrifice time, effort, and energy
for the company that you're working for. But loyalty
does not require you to give up any hope of change, and
to be enslaved for all of your future. That creates a
situation that's called avdus (slavery). The verse says
"Uk'rosom dror b'chol ha'aretz", or as it has been
translated, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land."
Chazal ask why the word "dror" means liberty. The
answer is because "dor b'chol mokom sherotzeh", "he could
live wherever he wants". A person who is controlled by
others cannot move. He is stuck to living in a single
location, and not free to move. Therefore, he doesn't
have a situation called "dror." He has the opposite,
which is avdus (slavery).
NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION 90: RETURNING DEFECTIVE ITEM WITHOUT RECEIPT
I recently had bought something with a credit card,
but the item was defective. When I went to exchange
it for a new item, I realized I lost the receipt.
The store wouldn't replace it, although the store
did have a record of my credit card purchase. Would
it be permitted to go and buy the same item from
another store in the same chain, and with the new
receipt, return the original defective item to the
second store? Could I do the same thing if the two
stores were not part of the same chain?
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Yisroel Belsky Shlita and Torah.org.
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