While investing used to be only for people in the know, today
many in the chareidi public — from simple Jews to men
of means — are investing money or have provident funds
(kupot gemel) or self-improvement funds (karnot
hishtalmut) their employers have opened for them.
Most salaried employees in Israel have either such mutual
funds or provident funds. The managers of the funds try their
best to maximize investors' profits by investing in stocks
and/or bonds, which can lead to halachic stumbling-blocks.
When it comes to company shares, there is no guarantee the
companies keep Shabbos. Merely by acquiring shares through
the fund manager, any direct or indirect purchaser
essentially becomes a partner in the company, making him one
of the owners of a company that desecrates Shabbos.
The halachic discussion on the question of whether a share
owner is considered a partner in the company became more
pressing when the 1999 Stock Market Law was legislated and
the Securities Exchange Commission demanded that all shares
traded on the stock market carry equal rights, giving every
1) The right to vote at general gatherings, which determine
how the company is operated;
2) The right to appoint a board chairman, with the board of
directors managing the company and authorized to dismiss the
3) The right to examine all of the company's management
These rights granted to shareowners would seem to indicate
that from a halachic standpoint they really own a percentage
of the company and if it desecrates Shabbos they are partners
in a company that desecrates Shabbos and benefit from profits
derived through chilul Shabbos.
HaRav Aryeh Dvir, head of the Machon Kalkoloh Al Pi Halochoh
at the Beis Medrash Lehalochoh Behisyashvus warns that many
people are unknowingly loaning money at interest by
purchasing company bonds from companies that have no heter
"The public should also demand close, constant supervision of
every investment fund to insure the investments are made
according to halochoh," says HaRav Dvir.
Since the average investor could never keep track of the
investments and insure they are kosher there is a need for an
investment management company that would only offer
investments that have been thoroughly checked.
There are at least two Israeli fund groups today that claim
halachic supervision. One is the Hilat Shoham group,
including Shoham P Shekel Plus and Shoham P Gmisha, managed
by Menora Funds manager. The other one could not be
determined by press time.