One of the most difficult attributes to acquire, integrity is also the most easily lost. Temptations abound, ranging from a mild twinge of satisfaction to enormous monetary gain. Self-deception plays relentlessly against the conscience to impede objective, honest decision, and "the bottom line", the net profit in any transaction, seems to flash in neon lights, blinding us to all other considerations. Integrity mean a rigid adherence to a code of values; it also connotes completeness, the state of being whole. In today's materialistic society, integrity in financial matters can only be achieved by adhering rigidly to that most thorough and definitive code of values, the holy Torah. Without integrity, a Jew is incomplete. The Torah's conception of theft goes far beyond picking pockets, pilfering and fraud. It encompasses interrupting a neighbor's sleep, misleading him, neglecting to repay a loan and much more. Rationalizations simply don't wash; engaging in an act which technically is not "stealing" is still a breach of integrity. Through amusing, provocative and often searing stories, Above the Bottom Line raises our consciousness to G-d's aversion to fraud and deception and teaches us to rise above expediency. The talented, prolific Hanoch Teller, whose electrifying prose has turned the short story into a powerful vehicle for inculcating Torah values, tackles this delicate subject most effectively. This new collection of "soul stories" is guaranteed to delight and inspire.
by Hanoch Teller
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