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Topic: Buying German Products

[Name withheld] wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

What do you think of a Rabbi, with a large number of survivors in his congregation, that buys a Mercedes Benz automobile?

Alex from Glenview, Illinois wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

What is the halachic standing on buying German cars. I have tested BMW and Mercedes, both are $40,000 cars and I want to buy one. But then I was told that there is a halachic issue with buying those cars, because they are German.

Dear Alex and (Name Withheld),

Many people refrain from buying German products as a way of showing their moral outrage at the behavior of the German people during the Holocaust. Strictly speaking, however, there's no halachic basis for not buying German products.

But a person should always consider how his actions will affect others. For example, a friend of mine would never buy a German car because his mother, a Holocaust survivor, would be deeply hurt and offended.

As for the Rabbi who bought the Mercedes, we can't judge a person without knowing all the circumstances, motives and pressures that the person experiences. Judaism tells us that "You shall not hate your fellow man in your heart," rather you should tell the other person what's bothering you about his behavior. I suggest that you speak directly to the rabbi in a respectful manner and clarify the issue with him.

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