FAQ’s On Hasagas Gvul




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    FAQ’s On Hasagas Gvul

    We present a collection of halachos on the topic of “Hasagas Gvul” — (lit., boundary infringement, usually referring to opening a competing business and causing financial loss to the established enterprise, from Halacha2Go.com and AskTheRav.com by Rabbi Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Mara D’asra and member of the Crown Heights Beis Din • Full Article

    By Rabbi Yosef Yeshaya Braun

    Recruiting Workers & Hasagas Gvul

    A certain company which typically looks to hire talented help with experience in their specific field is having a problem finding qualified candidates. A recommendation was made to a Jewish worker in this company to identify competing companies and have an executive recruiter fish for candidates, looking for qualified candidates who for whatever reason are looking to make a switch. Would it be Hasagas Gvul for this Jewish employee to just give the name of Jewish-owned competing companies?

    Giving a name isn’t Hasagas Gvul but is considered assisting in doing Hasagas Gvul.

    It would be Hasagas Gvul even if it would require significant effort to recruit such talented employees unless the potential employee is exceptionally talented and it would be almost impossible to find someone of equal caliber, and he hasn’t signed a contract or begun his work at the previous employer.

    The same heter applies about convincing the employee to transfer after his contract is up where it is not obvious that he will continue there. #11825*

    Do Clients Belong to the Company?

    I was working for a company for over six years and built a close relationship with one client who I was his exclusive sales rep. This client didn’t even call the office; they called me on my cell, and only dealt with me. Now that I’m starting to work for a new company, may I contact this customer to come to do business with me at the new company?

    One should not actively approach clients from another company’s client base. With a non-Jewish client there is room for leniency, although a G-d fearing person would be strict in all cases. If he approaches you on his own it’s not an issue. #4119*

    Using Competitor’s URL’s In Google Ads

    Is it permitted to use a competitor’s URL in google ads (PPC – pay per click), so as to get others searching for the competitor to go to my site?

    I’d point out that Google has a specific targeting campaign called “client intent” (or something similar), which is structured specifically to catch the competitor’s traffic, and is used by many of the largest advertisers (e.g. Costco, Walmart, etc.). If it is permitted, is it wrong Hashkafically? Does it show a lack of Emuna?

    Firstly, one needs to know if this specific trick is legal. If it is illegal, then it is certainly forbidden to do so on account of Dina De’Malchusa Dina.

    If it is permissible by the secular legal system, it may be done according to a strict halachic point of view. Nonetheless, it is proper even in such a case not to use inaccurate information in order to fool the customer or to take unfairly/ethically from the competition.

    To elaborate: there are two considerations in this case:

    Geneivas Daas (misleading people) – If this is a common day business tactic done by major brand companies (and is legal), it is not considered misleading the buyer since “everybody knows that this is a common practice among the sellers”. See the SM”E (Sefer Me’iras Einayim) on Choshen Mishpat 228:16.

    Hasagas Gvul (unfair encroachment in competition) – There are many details on this topic. One important point is that, assuming that the competitor is not Jewish, there is room to be lenient that there is no rule of encroaching on a merchant who is not Jewish. (See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Dinei Hefker V’Hasagos Gvul Seif 11).

    There are other considerations for leniency, even if we are dealing with a Jewish competitor. But, as the Alter Rebbe concludes (ibid. Seif 13), a Yerei Shamayim should be stringent in this matter. *

    Breakaway Minyan: Yes or No?

    The pros and cons of the so-called “breakaway minyan” are discussed among poskim. This phenomenon may begin with a small minyan that finds an alternate place to daven from the main sanctuary, but it can also be another shul in a different location. A new shul, and possibly even a minyan, can be viewed as a positive thing: another space dedicated to kedusha for Torah study and davening. It may enable some people to daven more assiduously, especially if unresolved differences of opinion previously disturbed the peace.

    However, there are some grave halachic concerns with forming a new minyan. Taking people away from the main congregation decreases the advantage—and halachic principle—of b’rov am hadras melech. Soliciting congregants to complete the new minyan is actually a form of gezeilah (stealing).

    In addition, in a neighborhood that would have difficulty sustaining the outlay of additional shul demands, forming the new minyan can be a violation of hasagas gvul. Many poskim address those who leave, urging them to return to the original minyan in order to foster darchei shalom (ways that promote peace).

    Halachic authorities deem it permissible to form a new minyan or shul l’shem shamayim and with legitimate motive. The standard of b’rov am may be suspended for a chiyuv or if the new minyan davens a different nusach from the old congregation.

    If there are size, layout or character deficiencies in the original shul that would allow for increased kavana in a new place, there is also dispensation to relocate. However, the breakaway group must take care to avoid the pitfalls of machlokes, “stealing” congregants and hasagas gvul. It is preferable to establish the new minyan within the existing shul rather than move elsewhere. Halacha2Go #707 

    *References are available for this Halacha on: www.Halacha2Go.com and www.AskTheRav.com

    Please note that these halachos apply in general situations, if you are unsure whether the halacha applies to your particular situation, please consult a Rav.


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