Jewish Texts and Equal Pay Day Resources

“Leviticus 19:35–36 states, “You shall not falsify measures of length, weight, or capacity. You shall have an honest balance, honest weights....” These verses echo the language used earlier in Leviticus 19:15, which enjoins the Israelites to judge fairly: “You shall not render an unfair decision: do not favor the poor or show deference to the rich; judge your kin fairly.” As Rashi points out in his commentary on verse 35, both Leviticus 19:15 and Leviticus 19:35 begin with the same words, Lo taasu avel bamishpat, which can be translated, “Do not render an unfair judgment.” This repetition draws a connection between legal judgment and judgment in commerce through the measuring tools used daily. Rashi emphasizes, “If one deals falsely in measuring, he is as one who corrupts justice and is called unrighteous, hated and abomination, accursed and detestation.” These verses can guide us to understand that employers must “weigh” and assign salary in an ethical manner, avoiding the gender bias that still pervades our society and workplace.

Since its inception, the Reform Movement has considered social justice and women’s rights cornerstone values within our own community and beyond. There is much work to be done to ensure equality for women, especially regarding pay equity.

Since pay equity is a Jewish issue, Reform Equity Pay Initiative encourages you to discuss the gender wage gap in your community. Here are some samples of divrei Torah on these topics.