This phrase, from Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 US Presidential election campaign is likely to be heard often over the coming weeks as the starting gun has been shot for our own general election.

The challenge of constructing an economic system that will both protect the poor and incentivize the rich is thousands of years old.

The Torah makes no pretentions to being an economic textbook but many mitzvot – a number of which are found in this week’s parasha – recognize the need to balance social justice with economic opportunity.

The first section of the parasha introduces us to the laws of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. Debts were cancelled at the end of the Sabbatical year and, during biblical times, when the Jubilee was in operation, slaves were released, and ancestral lands were returned to their original owners or their heirs. This avoided the accumulation of land in the hands of a few, and prevented the creation of a landless proletariat. The phrase, Ki Li Kol Haaretz “the land is Mine” (25:23) powerfully taught the message that G-d is the ultimate freeholder and we are all only temporary custodians of the land.

The next section goes to the core of Jewish business ethics: “Brother must not cheat brother” (Vayikra 19:4) On the basis of this command, the Rabbis established a threshold of fair profit in business. An overcharge of more a sixth above the market value, was sufficient, in many cases, to invalidate the sale. It was forbidden to mislead customers by making old goods look new. Jewish law recognises no concept of caveat emptor. The onus of fair representation lies with the vendor, not the purchaser.

Later in the parasha, the laws against charging interest to a fellow Jew are repeated. Indeed, this law is seen as so foundational, it is linked to the very purpose of the Exodus. Explains Rashi: “I, who distinguished between the firstborn and non-firstborns in Egypt, will distinguish between those who lend money on interest and those who do not.” (25:38).

The concept of a “living wage” is encapsulated in the phrase Vechai Achicha Imach – “so that your brother may live with you.” (25:36) Maimonides, in his famous summary of the eight levels of tzedaka, explains this phrase as: “Strengthen him in such a manner that his falling into want is prevented.” (Laws of Gifts to the Poor, 10:7).

Underpinning so much of Jewish teaching on tzedakah is the emphasis on how you give as much as what you give. The poor must not be embarrassed. The rich must not be allowed to feel superior. As the late Rabbi Lord Sacks put it: “We give, not to take pride in our generosity, still less to emphasise the dependency of others, but because we belong to a covenant of human solidarity.”

The general election campaign will challenge our community. Each party will talk up its vision of society and talk down its opponents. As Jews, whatever our political stripe, let us be mindful of our own Jewish ethics and be a role model for all.