Sunday, September 2, 2012

The El Al Ticket Fiasco and Rationalism

As many of you know, a few weeks ago there was a very big mistake made with El-Al tickets, which were accidentally advertised for just a few hundred dollars - a fraction of the normal price. When the mistake was discovered, El Al decided to nevertheless honor the tickets, for reasons that are unclear. But the question was, what should those who purchased the tickets do? They might have originally thought that it was simply a sale, but once it became clear that it was actually a costly error, should they offer to return the tickets?

To my mind, this was a non-starter. Of course one should return the tickets! Not that I'm judging anyone who didn't - one should not judge someone until one is in their place. But it seems obvious to me that the proper course of action - not lifnim meshuras hadin, but the proper course of action - is to offer to return the tickets. El-Al's stated mechilah - presumably due to various pressures - is irrelevant. As the Torah says, v'asisa hayashar vehatov - "You shall do that which is just and good." Ramban notes that halachah does not necessarily govern every case, and one must extrapolate from existing halachos so as to exercise moral judgment in other cases. Taking advantage of someone's mistake, and thereby causing them a loss, is clearly immoral. The whole idea of the halachos of ona'ah is based upon this!

It was surprising, and even disturbing, to see how many people claimed that it was justifiable to keep the tickets. Many of the justifications involved assumptions about what is best for El-Al, as though the buyer is entitled to make that decision! Others justified it based on technical halachic considerations. I was wondering if there is perhaps a connection with rationalism.

As discussed in a post of a while back, Reasons for Mitzvos, one of the differences between rationalist and non-rationalist schools of thought is the issue of reasons for mitzvos. Non-rationalist approaches see the reasons as primarily metaphysical and unknowable. Rationalist approaches, on the other hand, see the reasons as theoretically comprehensible, and relating to improving our minds and behavior.

There is a well-known serious drawback with the rationalist approach, in that it can lead to the weakening of observance. As we see with no less a person than King Solomon, once a person believes himself to understand the reason for a mitzvah, there is a temptation to rationalize that it is not binding when the reason is presumed not to be present.

However, I think that it might not be appreciated that there is also an advantage with the rationalist approach. A non-rationalist is perhaps more likely to get caught up in the technical details of the halachah, and to assert that halachah is the start and end point of morality. The rationalist approach, on the other hand, encourages a person to grasp the spirit of the law as well as the letter of the law. In the case of the El-Al tickets, a rationalist will perhaps be less concerned with whether it is technically permissible to keep them, and more concerned with what the spirit of the law demands as moral behavior.

43 comments:

  1. nice post, and this is truly the kiddush hashem of rationalist jews, who strive to analyze and consider the morality of each situation and halachic issue.

    would note on this specific topic (in case there is anyone who has not actually asked elal to cancel) that many people have offered and asked to cancel their tickets while promising not to tell the FAA simply because of their conscience, and ELAL has been firm in saying that they don't want people to cancel based on that and they would much rather people just fly nonstop with them and enjoy. I sent an email to customer service offering to cancel, and got a call from a rep saying that I shouldn't and should just fly nonstop for the extra $150 (coming out to about 600 per ticket), and she said that she had spoken to her supervisor and they do want people to fly, and just enjoy israel and tell all their friends. so this specific case is somewhat anomolous, as it is not clear whether ELAL is somehow coming out ok, and the reps themselves are very forceful. Of course a perfect person who doesn't want to get involved in possibilities of this being ok could probably call and just cancel saying the dates didn't work for them (though in some cases ELAL has even changed dates as necessary to help people), my conscience has been soothed that there is what to rely on.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Actually, the halacha is not very clear either. Although Elal decided to honor the tickets, it may not be enough. The original sale was most definitely a mekach ta'us. (Unless there is sort of minhag hashuk or dina demalchusa, which I don't think there is.) The fact that they decided to honor them, may be due to embarrassment or to avoid bad public relations. The Gemara in Bava Metzia 22a has a story where Mar Zutra wouldn't eat from something that the owner offered because he may have offered it due to embarrassment. See Tos there as well. See Also SA EH 28:17, and Cham and Bash.
    It is really complicated and it may very well be assur. I'd love to see a thorough analysis on the sugya.

    ReplyDelete
  3. V'Asita HaYashar Ve'HaTov is not a deduction of rationalism, but rather the Torah itself.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am not sure why someone who buys tickets in good conscience (and I believe strongly that a distinct minority bought the tickets not knowing there was an error) must return the tickets when the company is not even asking him to!

    Where exactly is the mitzvah? If you bought a bottle of orange juice in multi-million dollar grocery store for one dollar and learned a week later that the sticker was supposed to say three dolars, would you give the store two dollars the next time you shopped if no one even asked you to?

    If the store was a tiny store, and you knew the owner was struggling, then you probbaly would give the store two dollars simply out of pity, even if you weren't asked. But otherwise, I don't see why one would or should.

    ReplyDelete
  5. >I'd love to see a thorough analysis on the sugya.

    From the business halacha weekly email

    Is It Permitted to Use A Mispriced El Al Ticket?
    by HaRav Chaim Kohn
    Dean Business Halacha Institute

    Q: The recent technical glitch in El Al's network that resulted in thousands of tickets being sold for the unheard-of bargain price of $338 has resulted in passengers dealing with different emotions. Obviously, many people were thrilled by their stroke of good fortune, and look forward to enjoying the "luxury" of a trip to Israel at a cost that usually covers taxes and surcharges.

    Others, however, felt guilty, and called their Rav to ask the important question: Halachically, does one have the right to fly with this ticket, when it obviously represents a mistake beyond the control of the company that was exacerbated by today's hi-tech instantaneous sharing with family and friends in a close-knit community that is always anxious to go to Israel? The momentary pleasure of saving such a bundle of money is overshadowed by the concern that these gains may not be "kosher." El Al officials took some time before they made the decision to honor the tickets.

    A: Had such a glitch occurred in any unregulated industry, it would be a classic case of Onaa'h and Mekach Ta'us. Besides for the fact that the quoted price does not reflect the correct market value of the merchandise, it is also clear that the seller never intended to sell for this price and the merchant could render the sale null and void. On the other hand, if the merchant wishes to honor the sale, he may obviously do so. As such, in the case of a sale where the merchant will find out his error before the execution of the sale and the buyer took advantage of the mistake hoping that the merchant would honor the sale - although he is not obligated to - he may halachically do so, since his action has no legal bearing on the merchant.

    Similarly, had El Al decided to honor the sale for charitable or public-relations motives, the whole matter would be a non-issue. However, the airline industry is tightly regulated in all areas of operation, including sales. It is for this reason that El Al didn't have much of an option and did not revoke the sales. This raises the question from a halachic perspective. If the validation of the sale is forced upon the airline by the authorities, the above arguments do not apply and the sale would seem to be halachically void.

    However, the sale is in fact halachically valid. The airline has agreed to operate all areas of its business in accordance with the regulations set by the authorities, including the conditions regulating sales and sale prices. As such, the sale is halachically valid.

    Even if the sale is valid, was it incorrect to purchase a ticket that forced the airline to honor the sale? In reality, as explained earlier, the issue in question is not about a forced regulation but the result of a voluntary acceptance to do business in accordance with those regulations. As such, there was no halachic prohibition against taking advantage of this glitch and purchasing tickets for a cheaper price.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It would really be nice if instead of emoting about what you feel should be the proper course of action,that you first analyze the halachik sources and then proceed to comment on what should be done (especially if you presume to state the din and not l'fnim m'shuras hadin).

    The way you went about this does not do you or your course much credit.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kollelnick - Of course there is a minhag hashuk. The fact that they enter into business in a regulated market means they agree to abide by the rules and regulations of the market. It is wonderful that El-Al was "mochel" but they had no right or ability to due such a thing, that is the reality of the market that once the sale is made through the broker it is done. Besides the fact that they work within a regulated field, they operate through a broker and know that there are times when brokers make mistakes. If they were truly concerned, they would establish some sort of check (very easy in the form of if ticketprice < 450: cancel sale or put into a moderation que) to ensure their broker was acting as a faithful broker.

    There are some areas of clarity that would be preferable as to what exactly the job of the third-party poster is (to post the fares or to be a broker of the sale as well).

    Forget halacha for a moment, a non-jewish person could easily have this question of morality as well. If you were to buy a ticket in a regulated market that was sold accidentally by a third-party through a travel agent, do you have a moral obligation to return it. I am not clear on this answer. It would be nice to, but morally obligated?

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I bought such a ticket so I am in now way deciding such a question by myself, not that I am qualified to in any case, however I think the halachik aspects may be accurate, are they?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just wanted to make a quick note about the way you est. the machlokes bet. rationalists and non re: the approach to mitzvah and the reasons behind.

    1. The rambam himself says that the reason we do the mitzvos is bec God said so, not for any benefit.

    2. I don't think the nonrationalists (at least the scholarly ones) focus so much on whether or not we know or don't know rational explanations that improve our mind and behavior. I think they simply view mitzva as a means of becoming closer to God rather than self improvement. The Rav and Heschel stand out prominently in my mind in re: to this. that is, even if you could know every reason behind every mitzva and it could make you the uber moral man, that this is not the purpose nor focus of mitzva. (it should be noted that the Rav was critical of the Rambam giving too many taamim, in so far as it takes away from the sacrificial service aspect of the mitzva, see halachik mind. Further, the Rav implies not that the Rambam was wrong bishita, implying the Rav thinks the Rambam held his way, but just gave too many rational explanations, which is in line with the Rav's orig. thesis is Berlin on showing how the Rambam was not a platonist.In fact both the Rav and Heschel utilize the Rambam in what I would call a revisionist sort of matter from the perspective of the mainstream and incorporate him into their ideology. Which might I add the having been raised on a very strong rationalist community is a significant shortcoming of the community in that it only presents the Rambam from a perspective that is to their liking, which I find how would say....not very rational).

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've heard it said (though I don't think it's accurate) that the Modern Orthodox prefer truth, while the Charedim prefer peace. This is based on the idea that the Modern Orthodox are more likely to endorse leniencies, particularly those motivated by underlying values such as the golden rule, while Charedim are more likely to insist on the strictest interpretation even if it causes some suffering. In this case, it's the opposite -- the stricter and more "moral" view would be to return the tickets.

    In the context of the agunah issue, I've seen some (anonymous) charedi internet commenters insist that if a man isn't technically obligated to give a get (because her wife is a moredet or whatever), then there is no reason for him to do so and no one pressure him in the slightest. It's as if some people want to interpret mitzvot as if middot don't exist or aren't important. (Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that because sometimes their reasoning is based on anti-feminist ideology that believes one-sided divorce laws are necessary to keep families together in the aggregate and agunot are unobjectionable side-effect of that.)

    ReplyDelete
  10. If you bought a bottle of orange juice in multi-million dollar grocery store for one dollar and learned a week later that the sticker was supposed to say three dolars, would you give the store two dollars the next time you shopped if no one even asked you to?

    I certainly hope that I would!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My feeling is that people will always be "moreh heter" to themselves when dealing with the pricing in the airline industry.

    In most places and businesses, one hopes, prices of near-identical items are posted by the seller (like in supermarkets) or determined transparently by buyers (like in auctions) or by both at the same time (stock market).

    In the airline industry, and (at least in the USA) this has been going on for many years, no two people on a flight pay the same price for their seats. Airlines have all sorts of opaque crazy pricing schemes.

    Any error, even an obvious one, on airline prices is not going to generate any sympathy.

    FWIW, I would not offer the difference in price in the orange juice scenario, either, because where I live the law is that the vendor is required to keep price tags correct, and the consumer is entitled to the printed price.

    ReplyDelete
  12. There is a quote I can't locate at the moment from Rav Kook, that the point of Torah is to deepen one's natural sense of right, and not to supersede it. And he was hardly a rationalist!

    ReplyDelete
  13. If El Al does not want the tickets to be returned it would be silly to return them.

    Also, how much is El Al actually losing for each of the cheap tickets it sold? Are we talking about an actual loss or merely a reduced profit for El Al?

    I do not own a ticket, but returning a ticket after El Al has decided to honour it's offer does seem to be "lifnim mishirat hadin".

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tzaphnas Paneach,
    I'm not an expert on airline commerce. But I assumed and still do assume that since Elal stalled for a day and wouldn't announce whether they would be honoring the tickets,that they are not legally bound to mistakes. I really don't know what the law is and could be mistaken.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Were there cases of people returning their tickets to ELAL.

    Presumably the ELAL's conditions of purchase of the tickets sold in error were non-refundable.

    Therefore is it also possible that ELAL need not refund the passenger if tickets were returned?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Regarding the orange juice, the scene is usually different. You may be buying a whole list of items,and only realise the mistake after you get home and ( maybe)look through the receipt.It could be complicated giving the money back-knowing where it was bought,for starters. If you only bought the juice, then you would know at the cash that something was wrong.

    Buying a flight ticket, the entire time is spent buying that one item-you know pretty quickly if there is a mistake being made,not two weeks later.

    Since you asked,some weeks ago I bought coffee at the supermarket. It was whole beans,so I weighed out the coffee,ground it, and presented the full bag to the cashier.

    She made some mistake,and charged me the bar coded price for the bag-about one buck, not the price for the coffee,which was eleven . I told her about her mistake , and paid the full amount.

    To close out , the comparison between the struggling grocery store owner and the the chain store is the same argument used to justify downloading copywrite-protected music,or to lift goods from smashed in store windows,or from their isles-it makes no difference whether the owner is wealthy or not, theft is theft.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree with the "meta-point" that we need to strive for higher modes of conduct, but...

    1) I think it's a trap to suggest that "rationalist vs. non-rationalist" says anything meaningful about who’d be more willing to return the tickets. I can tell you from experience that it doesn't matter who you're dealing with – super-religious or less religious, charedi or dati-leumi, Chabadniks, Kookniks, Elyashivniks, Hirschniks, YU guys, when it comes to money matters ALL groups are equally susceptible to rationalizing ever so conveniently in their favor, whether using halachic arguments or otherwise. In fact one could say that if anything it's rationalists who'd be more prone to "rationalize", whereas non-rationalists are more apt to just accept the halacha. But I think that's also a trap, a misconception – a reasonable "svara" like yours, but flawed nonetheless. Everyone rationalizes in order to make themselves come out clean, or to say that the other guy (or other group) is the problem. And I feel that that’s all you’ve really accomplished here.

    2) This is more of a technical point – I don't understand your hypothesis. At first you say that "the proper course of action - not lifnim mishurat hadin (i.e. the din) is to offer to return the tickets". The implication is that non-rationalists would be more likely to take advantage of someone's mistake against halacha (citing certain halachot but being "over" in the halachot of ona'a). But then you say that "a non-rationalist is more likely to get caught up in the technical details of the halachah", whereas a rationalist will be more concerned with "what the spirit of the law demands". "Spirit of the law" effectively means "lifnim mishurat hadin", i.e. something over and above the basic halacha. So the implication is that non-rationalists, while being exacting in halacha, would be less likely to go lifnim mishurat hadin and return the tickets. So what's the hypothesis – that non-rationalists are more likely to err in "din" or that they're more apt to not go "lifnim mishurat hadin"? Or maybe both? (Either way, like I say I'm afraid I don't agree!)

    ReplyDelete
  18. What about when they leave the sale sign up for too long? The well known rule in retail is that as long as the sign is still up, the customer is "owed" the discount price on the sign (even if the sale expired several days ago). If those are the rules of the game and I spot a sign like this, then I got lucky and the store loses by not replacing their signage and workers not doing their jobs. Why should I pay full price in that instance when everyone knows that's how it works? It says orange juice 1 dollar. So if I shopped last week that was a fair price, but if I shop this week when the expired sale price tag is still displayed, that's no longer a fair price for orange juice? Difficult to believe such a claim.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rabbi Slifkin: You wrote, "I certainly hope that I would!"

    I find that interesting. I guess we're a bit different. I honestly think, however, that I represet the majority of normal, honest people.

    For example: If a store undercharges me, I tell the cashier (Jew or non-Jew -- to me, it makes no difference). However, often the cashier isn't too bright, and even after I tell her, she doesn't quite understand what I'm saying.

    In that scenario, I don't think it's a mitzvah for me to explain to the cashier at great length exactly when I am being undercharged by a dollar. In fact, trying to explain often confuses the cashier and makes her feel lost. If, therefore, she doesn't understand and says, "It's fine," I let it go even though I know that technically she's not allowed to be mochel her boss's money (at least that's what I was taught in yeshiva).

    I think this is the way most of us act with businesses. We try to be honest and don't, chas v'shalom, steal from them. However, if the business makes a mistake, most of us don't feel the same sense of obligation as we would to a person to run after the business and return money that the business itself told us we could keep.

    ReplyDelete
  20. In the specific example of the El Al tickets, RNS is wrong. As stated by Yehuda above, you must try to be honest, and if you notice you are being undercharged, you must explain that clearly to the business rep you are dealing with. It is not normal, and not expected, to do anything beyond that.

    But as a general observation, living one's life in a constant hunt for ways to scheme, as typified by Dansdeals, is not in keeping with the Torah's view of life. it has nothing to do with whether anything is illegal or not. It's the classic nahvel berushus hatorah.

    The yeshivah system has bred within us a mindset of looking for shortcuts, of how to game the system. It's true with trying to get college credits from fictitious degrees, it's true with trying to get on government programs. In many ways its all part of the larger problem of our history of having to game the system because of anti-semitism, and because of the way the halachic system explicitly creates two classes of people when it comes to Jews and Gentiles. It's a flaw inherent within orthdoxy, and cannot be fixed without eviscerating what it means to be orthodox.

    ReplyDelete
  21. DF,

    I agree entirely. I also agree with Rabbi Slifkin's larger point that the question we should be asking is whether it is moral to keep the tickets, not whether it is technically permitted to do so al pi halacha.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I walked into my boss' office and he was on the phone with his mother telling her that he had just bought tickets to Israel for his whole family of 7 people to come and visit her. He suggested that I should also buy, but I wouldn't because I was sure that there simply couldn't be an legitimate El Al ticket for $400 and I thought that nobody would end up flying. As it turned out I was partially right, but I think that for a person like myself who is convinced that a sale is either a mistake or a fraud it's wrong to take advantage of it. However for someone thinking that they are simply getting an awesome deal there is no reason not to buy and no reason to return the tickets that El Al is asking people to keep. It's irrational to think that one somehow is obligated to do so. To me it's a non-starter.
    I'm not sure about the main idea of the post. I think that Chareidi Judaism produces people of inferior morality as explained by DF. We are talking apples and oranges here when we compare Chareidi mystics to non-Chareidi rationalists.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You don't win an argument just by adding the word "rationalist" to your post. There are many different complexities that are relevant, its not an obvious issue. And Halacha also recognizes concepts of lifnim meshuras hadin, so it may fall into that category regardless of "rationalism". On the other hand apparently "ethical" things are not always the right thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Btw that was a different example that has nothing to do with the el al case. With el al they never intended that price for any period of time. But w orange juice on sale for one week at 1 dollar, they do intend that. Just bringing it up.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Mordy Oberstein, you're not quite right. In MT Rambam say something to the effect that we do mitzvot in order to earn z'chut and gain olam habah, paraphrasing of course. Would someone do mitzvot just because hashem commanded if there was no reward and punishment?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Carol said: " I was sure that there simply couldn't be an legitimate El Al ticket for $400 and I thought that nobody would end up flying."

    How do you know. I remember seeing an El-Al sale for tickets advertised in the papers in December 2009 IIRC round trip JFK-TA for $550. Why is $400 so unthinkable?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Kollelnick - It in fact seems a stronger indication in the opposite direction. No company would say you can keep my 2 million dollar loss if they didn't have to. The language of their announcement is further proof to this. The TSA rule is that once the ticket has been sold and ticketed you cannot add additional fees to the flight. The letter that they sent out stated that all tickets that were sold and ticketed will be honored.

    Their stalling seems to have been an attempt to determine if they were legally obligated to honor the ticketings.

    robert- Yes, I would hope people would still do mitzvos even if there was no reward.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I think an important point, to which several have alluded, is the "box" some people build around Halachah.

    Halachah is what the Torah demands of us; it has no connection to right-and-wrong nor does it have any humanly comprehensible purpose. Gezeras haMelech!

    I once attended a shiur which dealt with Halachic issues relating to insurance. The central question, which really engaged the group, revolved around damages. Halachah specifies that if one damages another's property, the damager is liable to restitute the victim. Drivers in the US all carry insurance to guarantee that in the case of accidents caused by those who do not have the resources to cover the damage (most of us!), the victims are nonetheless made whole (more or less). However Halachah demands that the damager pay this restitution! Can a victim collect in Bet Din in such a case even after being the insurance paid? The maggid shiur suggested that the answer was yes. Animated discussion ensued.

    I heard one of the other attendees remark "This is Halachah we're discussing. Yosher has nothing to do with it!"

    I fear that this attitude is widespread in the Yeshivah world.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Fifth Shulchan Oruch, Robert. My son flew economy in August for $1,600, therefore I concluded that there couldn't have been a $400 ticket. December 2009 and August 2012 is apples and oranges.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Tzaphnas Paneach - Why?

    JT - I think the issue is whether or not there is such a thing as "natural law" and whether or not Halacha must necessarily be in tune with it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. "Fifth Shulchan Oruch" - Carol, could you be a bit more detailed?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Robert, if economy flight goes for
    $1,600 my common sense tells me that a legitimate $400 flight is an impossibility. I don't have any more detail than this. Oh, common sense is called the 'Fifth Shulchan Oruch.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Robert - However one argues the existence of "natural law", we all recognize when something is clearly right or wrong. One of the first concepts a child expresses is often "That's not fair!" Since "derachaha darchei no'am, vekol netivoteha shalom", if a proposed halachic p'sak is obvoiusly immoral or unfair, I suggest that we revisit the sources and sevaros that led to the questionable maskana. It is likely that there was an error in reasoning, application or emphasis in our Halachic reasoning rather than that the Halachah demands of us obvious villainy.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Robert - The Shulchan Aruch, the main source of normative Jewish law for about 500 years, has four sections. "Fifth Shulchan Aruch" is an idiomatic phrase generally used to mean common sense.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Robert - The reason to listen to the creator of the world is not because he promises you a candy, it is because he is the creator of the world and knows the system. Imagine you are playing a video game and the creator comes and tells you, "listen, you have been playing well, but you should know that there is whole other way to play that is inline with how I want people to play, and on top of it you will get immeasurable reward for every part" Not the best parable, but the point is even without the immeasurable reward a major fan of the designer will want to play on this whole other plane that the designer designed...

    Robert again- In jewish folklore there is the famed 5th chelek of shulchan aruch which is attributed to a number of things. As you can see, in this blog the more common explanation is common sense. There a number of other explanations, but they all are really the same. The fifth chelek is the meta-halacha, the rules and intelligence or intuition that is required to have a push in a particular direction of psak, so some people claim it is common sense, some claim it is the idea of daas torah, some say it is modern ethics etc

    JT - You mistranslated, Diracheha Darchei Noam is not its ways are ways of justice and morality. It means its ways are ways of pleasentness. We use it a few times where the obligations would be very onerous and therefore we know that we have the wrong understanding. Ex - Re: Lulav there is a suggestion that maybe we should use a particular branch, they respond, no that can't be: it has thorns and that wouldn't fit with Diracheha Darchei Noam.

    ReplyDelete
  36. JT - " we all recognize when something is clearly right or wrong. One of the first concepts a child expresses is often "That's not fair!""

    I think your assumption here is demonstrably wrong. First, for anyone who has kids, the phrase "That's not fair!" is roughly translatable as "I'm not getting what I want!" People are born amoral animals with no inherent sense of right or wrong. They're sense of fairness is something they learn from their environment growing up and is not inborn or natural in any way.

    Or as Jewish sources would say - Pray for the welfare of the government, because if it wasn't for fear of the government every man would eat his neighbor alive.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Robert -
    You are right that generally "for anyone who has kids, the phrase "That's not fair!" is roughly translatable as 'I'm not getting what I want!'" But try showing such a kid a situation that does not involve himself - one in which he has no personal interest. I think you will find that children do possess a proper sense of fairness. By the way, I have raised a number of children, so I don't feel that I'm speculating idly.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I wonder what your reaction would be to a "rational" argument in favor of keeping the tickets.
    From this past week's Yated.


    I would love to hear your reaction. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  39. It's not a "rational" argument or an "irrational" argument. It's an argument, made by an extremely biased person, that I find problematic on a number of levels.

    ReplyDelete
  40. From Dan's article in Mishpachah:

    "Don’t call the company to ask about the deal — there’s no reason to alert them and potentially ruin it for people who have yet to take advantage"

    Don't alert people that they made a mistake that other people can take advantage of, to their detriment?!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Rabbi SLifkin,

    Thanks for your interest and quick response. My question was merely what you thought about the logic of Dan's arguments, most specifically:

    1. Airlines fly 20% empty on average, so it's not an actual loss of revenue (especially if you assume that these are not customers who are devoted to El Al).

    2. "If you are feeling guilty about
    buying the tickets, then it would be better for El Al if you pay the $150 upgrade fee rather than cancelling altogether and not flying to Israel this winter. The revenue from the original tickets plus the upgrade revenue paid for a seat on a capacity controlled
    flight for a seat that would likely have gone unoccupied is all positive for El Al’s bottom line, not the opposite."

    Just curious.

    Thanks!

    Shimmy

    ReplyDelete
  42. I fly El-Al at least twice a year. I almost never see empty seats.

    ReplyDelete
  43. The fAct that you can write a post on rationalists being more in tune with morality is truly astonishing. Please do your homework next time. It makes you look bad. Really.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.