Return to Amsterdam of the Second Expedition to the East Indies, by Hendrik Cornelisz Vroom, 1599. Rijksmuseum.


Volume XII, Number 2 | spring 2019


A seventeenth-century rabbinical decision tells of a German town in which wealthy Jewish households kept chickens, while poorer women secretly milked gentiles’ cows early in the morning to sell the purloined milk on the street. One time, some chicks hopped into a tub of milk left on a doorstep and drowned. “Each side suffered a financial loss,” the text reads. “One from the milk, the other from the drowned chicks.”

One man’s loss is another man’s profit.

—Michel de Montaigne, c. 1580