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date: 22 October 2020

(p. 663) Glossary

(p. 663) Glossary

  • AB INITIO.

    Latin for “from the beginning.”

  • AGGADAH, (adj.) AGGADIC.

    Hebrew designation of a particular genre of rabbinic literature consisting mainly of biblical exegesis of specific books of the Bible.

  • AHARON, (pl.) AHARONIM.

    Lit., later rabbinic authorities, in contrast to the Rishonim, the earlier authorities. The general consensus is that the period of the Aharonim begins with the publication of R. Joseph Caro’s Shulhan Arukh (first edition, Venice, 1564–1565).

  • AMICUS CURIA.

    Latin term meaning “friend of the court.” The name for a brief filed with the court by someone who is not a party to the case.

  • AMORA, (pl.) AMORAIM.

    Aramaic for “spokesman” or “interpreter.” It is the generic term for the rabbis of the post-Mishnaic period but prior to the redaction of the Gemara (c. 200–500 CE).

  • AMORTIZATION.

    Payments that reduce the principal amount of a debt.

  • ‘ANI HAMEHAPEKH BAHARARAH.

    Lit., the poor man casting about (trying to take possession of certain) cake—and another person comes and snatches it away. It refers to the prohibition in Jewish law against interfering with a transaction in progress.

  • ANTHROPOCENTRISM.

    A term from environmental political philosophy denoting a human-centered ethical system. The anthropocentric belief is that human beings are the sole bearers of intrinsic value or possess greater intrinsic value than nonhuman nature. It is therefore acceptable to employ the resources of the natural world for only human ends.

  • ASHKENAZ, (adj.) ASHKENAZI.

    Designation of the first area of settlement of Jews in Northwest Europe, initially on the banks of the Rhine. The term has evolved to take on the broader connotation of a cultural complex that had its beginnings in France and Germany in the second part of the tenth century, spread later to Poland-Lithuania, and in modern times finds adherents all over the world.

  • ASMAKHTA.

    An agreement that either lacks the presumption of firm resolve on the part of the obligator or fails to generate a presumption of reliance on the part of the party to whom the commitment is made.

  • ASYMMETRIC INFORMATION.

    The unequal knowledge that each party to a transaction has about the other party.

  • AVAK RIBBIT.

    Lit., “the dust of interest.” Violations of Jewish law’s prohibition against interest by virtue of rabbinical, as opposed to Pentateuchal, decree.

  • (p. 664) BABYLONIAN TALMUD (B, BT).

    A literary work of monumental proportion (5,894 folio pages in the standard printed edition), consisting of the teachings of the rabbinic authorities from the third to the fifth centuries. The focus of the Talmud is to provide analysis and commentary for both the Mishnah and other rabbinic sources of the same period, called Baraita and Tosefta. The rabbinic teachings in the Talmud encompass law, ethics, custom, and history. The rabbinic authorities quoted in the Babylonian Talmud are called Amoraim. Redacted in the year 500, the Babylonian Talmud provides the basic source material for the practical rulings that appear in the various subsequent Codes.

  • BET DIN.

    Jewish court of law.

  • BIMETALLIC STANDARD.

    A monetary system in which a government recognizes coins composed of gold or silver as legal tender. The bimetallic standard (or bimetallism) backs a unit of currency to a fixed ratio of gold and/or silver.

  • CAIRO GENIZAH.

    An accumulation of almost 280,000 Jewish manuscript fragments that were found in the genizah, or storeroom, of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, now Old Cairo, Egypt.

  • CETERIS PARIBUS.

    Latin for “everything else remaining the same.”

  • COASE THEOREM.

    The idea that as long as property rights are clearly defined and enforced, bargaining between two parties can produce an efficient outcome without any further government intervention.

  • CODE OF HAMMURABI (Codex Hammurabi).

    A well-preserved ancient law code created c. 1790 BCE in ancient Babylon. It was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi.

  • CONSEQUENTIALISM.

    Refers to those moral theories that hold that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action.

  • CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI).

    A measure of inflation based on a market basket of goods and services purchased by urban households.

  • CREDENCE GOOD.

    A term used in economics for a good whose utility is difficult or impossible for the consumer to ascertain.

  • CUM-DIVIDEND.

    Cum means “with” in Latin. A cum-dividend securities purchase is a purchase of securities transacted before a dividend payment, so that the purchaser is entitled to the next dividend. If restrictions on entitlement to dividends did not exist, people would simply buy shares the day before the dividend was due, collect the dividend, and then sell the shares the day after.

  • CURRENCY DEPRECIATION.

    The loss of value of a country’s currency with respect to one or more foreign reference currencies, typically in a floating exchange rate system. It is most often used for the unofficial increase of the exchange rate due to market forces.

  • DARKHEI SHALOM.

    Lit., “the ways of peace.” Refers to the duty to end discord. Toward this end, the use of untruths is, under certain conditions, permitted.

  • (p. 665) DEVALUATION.

    An official lowering of the value of a nation’s currency relative to those of foreign countries.

  • DINA DE-MALKHUTA DINA.

    The halakhic rule that for disputes between Jews in civil matters, the law of the country is binding.

  • DOLLARIZATION.

    The adoption of the United States dollar as a country’s official national currency.

  • ECOCENTRISM.

    Term in ecological political philosophy used to denote a nature-centered, as opposed to human-centered, system of values. Ecocentrism denies any existential divisions between human and nonhuman nature sufficient to ground a claim that humans are either the sole bearers of intrinsic value or possess greater intrinsic value than nonhuman nature.

  • EFFICIENCY.

    Achieving maximum output value from a given set of inputs, or achieving the desired output with minimum cost of inputs.

  • ENDOWMENT EFFECT.

    In behavioral economics, the endowment effect refers to the hypothesis that people value a good or service more once their property right to it has been established. In other words, people place a higher value on objects they own than objects that they do not. In one experiment, people demanded a higher price for a coffee mug that had been given to them but put a lower price on one they did not yet own.

  • EQUILIBRIUM PRICE.

    The market price that clears the market. At equilibrium, the number of units suppliers want to offer is equal to the number of units demanders want to buy. Given the stability of supply and demand influences other than the price of the subject product, the market price will tend toward the equilibrium price.

  • ERETS (ERETZ) ISRAEL.

    Hebrew name of the Land of Israel. The term Erets Israel is biblical, although its meaning varies, designating both the territory actually inhabited by the Israelites (I Samuel 13:19) and the Northern Kingdom (II Kings 5:2). Only from the Second Temple period onward, however, was the term used to denote the Promised Land. It was the official Hebrew designation of the area governed by the British mandate in Palestine after World War I until 1948.

  • ETROG (Citrus Medica).

    One of the four different plants that the Torah requires the Jew to hold in his hand and wave on the holiday of Sukkot. The obligation is based on Leviticus 23:42; “the fruit of a goodly tree,” mentioned in the verse, is identified as the etrog.

  • EX-DIVIDEND PRICE.

    In a stock market, a share price that does not include entitlement to the forthcoming or accrued dividend.

  • EX PARTE.

    A judge’s action in conducting a hearing or conference with one party only, without notice to the other party; typically improper, except under the limited circumstance in which a party is seeking a temporary restraining order and alleging that notice to the other party will result in the destruction of evidence or other illegal action.

  • EXPERIENCE GOOD.

    A product whose value can be better known after having consumed it.

  • (p. 666) EXTERNALITY.

    A side effect of the action of an individual or entity on another individual or entity. Externalities can be positive or negative.

  • FIAT.

    Governmental decree.

  • FIDUCIARY OBLIGATION OR DUTY.

    Employees’ or directors’ legal and moral duty to exercise the powers of their office for the benefit of the employer or the firm.

  • FIRST COMMONWEALTH.

    The period beginning before the year 1000 BCE under the rule of King Saul, and then King David, and concluding with the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

  • FORCE MAJEURE.

    Act of God; a natural and unavoidable catastrophe that interrupts the expected course of events.

  • FRAMING.

    Presenting an option in a particular manner in order to influence people’s decisions. Different presentations of the same option can alter people’s decisions with regard to it. Specifically, individuals have a tendency to choose inconsistently depending on whether the choice is framed to emphasize losses or gains.

  • GAON, (pl.) GEONIM.

    Formal title of the heads of the academies of Sura and Pumbedita in Babylonia. The Geonim were recognized by the Jews as the highest authority of instruction from the end of the sixth century or somewhat later to the middle of the eleventh century.

  • GEMARA.

    Aramaic for “completion” or “tradition.” This word is popularly applied to the Talmud as a whole, or more particularly to the discussions and elaborations by the Amoraim on the Mishnah.

  • GEMIRAT DAᾺT.

    A firm resolve to conclude an agreement at hand.

  • GENEIVAT DAᾺT.

    Conduct designed to deceive or to create a false impression.

  • HALAKHAH, HALAKHA, HALACHAH.

    Hebrew, from the root halakh, “to go.” The legal side of Judaism.

  • HASSAGAT GEVUL.

    Lit., “removal of boundary.” Trespass on economic, commercial, or incorporeal rights.

  • HETTER ISKA.

    An elaborate form of the iska business partnership wherein conditions are attached with the design of protecting the financier from absorbing a loss on his principal and increasing the probability that he will realize a profit as well. These clauses are structured in such a manner that ribbit law is not violated.

  • HIN TZEDEK.

    Lit., “a just hin” (dry measure). Refers to the duty to make a commitment in good faith.

  • HOLDER IN DUE COURSE.

    A person who takes a negotiable instrument, such as a promissory note, without knowledge of any apparent defect in the instrument, nor of any notice (p. 667) of dishonor. Status as a “holder in due course” is an affirmative defense against all legal claims the debtor may have against the original creditor.

  • HUMAN CAPITAL.

    The set of skills that an employee acquires on the job, through training and experience, and that increase that employee’s value in the marketplace.

  • IMITATIO DEI.

    Latin for “imitation of God.” Judaism’s behavioral imperative consisting of man’s duty to emulate God’s attributes of mercy in his interpersonal conduct.

  • INDEXATION.

    The process of automatically adjusting wages and prices for the effects of inflation.

  • INFLATION.

    A continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services.

  • IN TERROREM.

    Latin. Conduct designed to produce terror by way of threat and intimidation.

  • IPO.

    Initial Public Offering. The first sale of stock by a company to the public. Companies offering an IPO are sometimes new, young companies, and sometimes mature firms that have decided to go public. IPOs are often risky investments, but they often have the potential for significant gains.

  • ISKA.

    A form of business partnership consisting of an active partner and a financier, who is a silent partner. In the absence of stipulation, half the capital transfer from the financier to the active partner takes on the legal character of a loan, while the remaining half takes on the character of a pledge. The iska arrangement violates avak ribbit law and is therefore subject to regulation.

  • JERUSALEM TALMUD (J, JT, PT).

    Also called the Palestinian Talmud. A literary work consisting of the teachings of five generations of rabbinic authorities and a few sixth-generation scholars. These teachers are called Amoraim. The focus of the Amoraim is to provide commentary on the Mishnah and on the other rabbinic sources of the same period, called Baraita and Tosefta. The rabbinic teachings in the Talmud encompass law, ethics, custom, and history. The Jerusalem Talmud predates its counterpart, the Babylonian Talmud, by about two hundred years.

  • JUBILEE.

    A year of emancipation and restoration provided by ancient Hebrew law to be observed every fifty years through the emancipation of Hebrew slaves, restoration of alienated lands to their former owners, and omission of all cultivation of the land.

  • JURISCONSULT.

    Latin for “legal adviser,” expert in civil law.

  • KABBELAN.

    A pieceworker hired to perform a specific task, with no provisions regarding fixed hours.

  • KALDOR-HICKS COMPENSATION DOCTRINE.

    The doctrine states that state A is to be preferred to state B if those who gain from the move to A can compensate those who lose and still be better off. This compensation is hypothetical, and the Kaldor-Hicks criterion suggests that A is preferable to B even if compensation does not actually take place.

  • (p. 668) KANTIANISM.

    Adherence to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, which revolves around duty rather than emotional feelings or end goals. Kant invokes the categorical imperative as the criterion for whether a maxim is good or bad. Simply put, the criterion imagines a world where all people act according to the maxim and asks whether the outcome would be satisfactory.

  • KETUBBAH.

    Women’s marriage contract.

  • KINYAN.

    Acquisition of legal rights by means of the performance of a symbolic act.

  • KINYAN SUDAR.

    A legal form of acquisition of objects or confirmation of agreements, executed by the handing of a scarf (or any other article) by one of the contracting parties (or one of the witnesses to the agreement) to the other contracting party as a symbol that the object has been transferred or the obligation assumed.

  • KUPPAH.

    Communal charity box.

  • LASHON HA-RA.

    Hebrew for “evil speech.” Talebearing, where A delivers a damaging but truthful report regarding B to C, C being neither the object of B’s mischief nor the intended target of his evil design.

  • LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS.

    A rule stating that, as one factor of production is increased, while others remain constant, the extra output generated by the additional input will eventually fall.

  • LIFNEI IVER.

    Lit., “in front of the blind person.” Refers to (a) the prohibition against causing those who are morally blind to stumble by giving them the means or preparing the way for them to sin; (b) the prohibition against offering someone ill-suited advice.

  • LIMITED PARTNERSHIP.

    A business organization with one or more general partners, who manage the business and assume legal debts and obligations, and one or more limited partners, who are liable only to the extent of their investment. Limited partners also enjoy rights to the partnership’s cash, but are not liable for company obligations.

  • LIQUIDATED DAMAGES.

    The amount required to satisfy a loss resulting from breach of contract.

  • LIQUIDITY.

    Ease with which an investment can be converted into cash for approximately its original cost plus its expected accrued interest.

  • LULAV.

    One of the four different plants that the Torah requires the Jew to hold in his hand and wave on the holiday of Sukkot. The obligation is based on Leviticus 23:42; “the branches of the palm tree,” mentioned in the verse, is identified as the lulav.

  • MIDDAT SEDOM.

    The wicked character trait(s) of the people of Biblical Sodom; in particular, denying a fellow a benefit when it costs one nothing.

  • MIDRASH.

    Hebrew designation of a particular genre of rabbinic literature consisting mainly of biblical exegesis of specific books of the Bible.

  • (p. 669) MINHAG.

    Custom.

  • MISHNAH.

    Designates the collection of rabbinic traditions redacted by R. Judah ha-Nasi at the beginning of the third century. The purpose of the Mishnah is to elaborate, systematize and give concreteness to the commandments of the Torah.

  • MISHPAT IVRI.

    A term first used around the beginning of the twentieth century to designate that part of the halakhah whose subject matter parallels that which normally comprises other legal systems.

  • MITSVAH, MITZVAH.

    A religious act or duty.

  • MORAL HAZARD.

    A situation in which, as a result of having insurance, an individual becomes more likely to engage in risky behavior.

  • ONA’AH.

    Price fraud involving selling above or below the competitive norm.

  • OPPORTUNITY COST.

    The value of the best alternative sacrificed when a choice is made.

  • PARETO OPTIMALITY.

    A situation in which no reorganization or trade could raise the utility or satisfaction of one individual without lowering the utility or satisfaction of another individual.

  • PIGOVIAN TAXATION.

    Tax levied on a market activity associated with negative externalities to correct the market outcome. In the presence of negative externalities the social cost of a market activity is generally more than the private cost of the activity. In such a case, the market outcome is not efficient and the market tends to oversupply the product. A Pigovian tax equal to the negative externality is thought to correct the market outcome to be efficient.

  • POῈL.

    Day-laborer, required to work at fixed hours.

  • PRIMARY SECURITIES MARKET.

    Market involving the creation and issuance of new securities. It is the market for initial sales of securities.

  • PRINCIPAL-AGENT PROBLEM.

    In political science and economics, the problem of motivating a party to act on behalf of another is known as “the principal-agent problem.” The principal-agent problem arises when a principal compensates an agent for performing certain acts that are useful to the principal and costly to the agent, and where there are elements of the performance that are costly to observe.

  • PUBLIC GOOD.

    A good that is nonrivalrous and nonexcludable. Nonrivalrous means that consumption of the good by one individual does not reduce the availability of the good for consumption by others. Nonexcludable means that no one can be effectively excluded from using the good.

  • PURCHASING POWER PARITY (PPP).

    The theory that, in the long run, identical products and services should cost the same in different countries. This is based on the belief that exchange rates will adjust to eliminate the arbitrage opportunity of buying a product or service in one country and selling it in another.

  • (p. 670) QIRAD.

    A type of contract developed in the medieval Islamic world. This contract is the precursor of the modern limited partnership. The Qirad was generally used for financing maritime trade.

  • RAWLSIAN SOCIAL WELFARE FUNCTION.

    A social welfare function that uses as its measure of social welfare the utility of the worst-off member of society.

  • RESPONSA.

    Exchanges of letters in which one party consults another on a halakhic matter.

  • RIBBIT.

    In inter-Jewish loan transactions, the prohibition for the lender to charge and for the debtor to agree to make interest payments.

  • RIBBIT KETZUZAH.

    Prearranged interest payment.

  • RISHON, RISHONIM.

    Hebrew. Lit., the early rabbinic authorities. The period of the Rishonim extends from the middle of the eleventh to the middle of the fifteenth centuries.

  • SASANIAN EMPIRE.

    The last pre-Islamic Persian Empire in Western Asia and Europe from 224 to 651 CE.

  • SECOND COMMONWEALTH.

    The period beginning with the proclamation by Cyrus the Great (c. 538 BCE) permitting the exiled Jews to return to Judea; including eras of political control of Judea by Persians, Greeks, and Romans (with short periods of Jewish autonomy interspersed); and concluding with the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE).

  • SECONDARY SECURITIES MARKET.

    Market involving the transfer of existing securities from previous investors to new investors. It is the market for already issued securities.

  • SECURITIZATION.

    A structured finance process in which assets are acquired and pooled. The pool is broken up into a number of parts, referred to as “tranches” (French for “strips”). Each tranche has a different level of credit protection or risk exposure. The different tranches are then offered to investors in the form of a security.

  • SEMIKHAT DAᾺT.

    Mental reliance. Without the presumption of mental reliance on the part of the principals to a transaction, the agreement lacks legal validity in Jewish law.

  • SEPHARD, (adj.) SEPHARDI.

    Descendants of Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) before the expulsion in 1492. Jewish communities in Spain can be identified as early as the Visigoth period (fifth century to 711). Under Visigoth rule, Jews were persecuted. With the Arab conquest of Spain in 711, this persecution ended. Muslim rule ushered in a golden era for Spanish Jewry. Early in this period, the Jews in the Iberian Peninsula were in touch with the center of Jewish life in Babylonia/Iraq and carried on the tradition of Babylonian Jewry.

  • SHI`BUD NEKHASIM.

    Also aharayut nekhasim. A lien on a debtor’s real property, which is an effective claim against that property even when it is sold to a third party.

  • SITUMTA, KINYAN SITUMTA, THE LAW OF SITUMTA.

    Custom of wine- merchants to mark the barrels that had been purchased. Although this mode of acquisition is not mentioned (p. 671) in the Talmud, halakhah recognizes it as a valid kinyan, because the purpose of a kinyan is to cause the parties to decide to conclude the transaction, and situmta has this effect.

  • SUBROGATION.

    The legal principle that a person paying a debt on behalf of another may succeed to the rights of that person in order to obtain restitution for that payment of debt. For example, an insurance company that has paid the claim of a third party against one of its clients may, by law, enforce the client’s rights against the third party to recover some or all of what it has paid out.

  • TAKKANAH, (pl.) TAKKANOT.

    A directive enacted by halakhic scholars, or another competent body, enjoying the force of law. Takkanot are among the sources of Jewish law.

  • TAMHUI.

    Community charity plate.

  • TANAKH.

    Hebrew collective term for the Old Testament. The term is composed of the initial letters of the words Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Hagiographa).

  • TANNA, TANNAIM.

    Aramaic teni, “hand down orally.” The term designates a teacher dating from Mishnaic times. The tannaic period covers five generations of rabbinic authorities, spanning from 20 to 200 CE.

  • TEKHELET.

    A blue-green dyestuff for threads and fabrics, mentioned frequently in the Bible. A thread of tekhelet had to be included in the fringes, tzitzit, of a four-cornered garment (Numbers 15:38).

  • THEOCENTRISM.

    As applied to environmental political philosophy, the belief that human beings should look after the world as guardians, in the way in which God wants them to. Humans should be considerate to all, from animals to plants to humans themselves. It maintains that human beings are merely here for a short time and should look after the world for future generations.

  • THEODOSIAN CODE.

    Roman legal code, issued in 438 by Theodosius II, emperor of the East. It was at once adopted by Palestinian III, emperor of the West. The code was intended to reduce and systematize the complex mass of law that had been issued since the reign of Constantine I.

  • TORAH.

    Hebrew, “teach.” The term is used loosely to designate the Bible as a whole.

  • TORT.

    A private or civil wrong or injury, not involving a breach of contract.

  • TOSEFTA.

    Aramaic for “additional” or “supplementary.” Originally, the term was used to describe teachings of the rabbinic authorities who lived in the Mishnaic era that were not quoted by R. Judah ha-Nasi in his Mishnah. Later the term came to denote a particular literary work, “the Tosefta,” a collection of teachings of Mishnaic-era authorities. This collected work served as a companion volume to the Mishnah.

  • TRANSACTION COSTS.

    The time costs and other costs required to carry out market exchange.

  • (p. 672) UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE (UCC).

    Standardized set of business laws that has been adopted by most states. The Uniform Commercial Code governs a wide range of transactions including borrowing, contracts, and many other everyday business practices. It is useful because it standardizes practices from state to state.

  • UNJUST ENRICHMENT.

    Profiting or enriching oneself inequitably at another’s expense.

  • USUCAPTION.

    A method by which ownership of property can be gained by lapse of time.

  • UTILITARIANISM.

    The philosophy that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall happiness or utility as summed among all people.

  • WHARFAGE.

    A fee charged for the use of a wharf or quay.

  • YESHIVA, (pl.) YESHIVOT.

    Institutes of Talmudic learning.