Pidyon Kaparot Now

Investing in immoral businesses

Question:

Is one allowed to buy stocks of a company that perpetuates immodesty/sexual immortality etc? Lots of the biggest stocks do this in one way or another, would one be allowed to invest in an index like the S&P 500 for example? Thank you.

Answer:

You are allowed to buy stock in companies, even though unfortunately they are advertising their products in immodest ways. The reason is because your purchasing the stock is not effecting their advertising in any way, therefore you are not helping or assisting them by buying their stock.

Additionally, when someone buys stock in a company, if he has only a minor percentage of shares in the company, and his “vote” isn’t going to make any difference because the company is owned by a majority of non- Jewish owners, that it is not considered as if he “owns” the company. Rather it is looked at as merely as a business deal with the company, that he invested in the company and is making profit from the company, but not from the actual business that the company is doing. This issue comes up in a number of areas, for example, regarding stocks in a bank that lends money to Jews with interest, companies that sell food on Pesach, and companies that deal with non-kosher food. Although there are other poskim that disagree with this, this is the minhag of many.   Otherwise it would be problematic to open a bank account, or to take a loan from any bank that is publicly owned, because there are certainly Jews that have shares in it. This is the opinion of a number of poskim including R’ M. Feinstein R’ Vozner and R’ Y. Belski zt”l.

Best wishes

Sources:

Igros Moshe E:H 1-7, M’bais Halevi Y:D pg. 148, Shulchan Halevi 1-4(1), Minchas Yitzchok 3-1, Commerce and Issurei Hanaah pg. 200-202, Bris Yehuda 30, ftnt.43, Poskim.

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