It was three years ago this month, that Larry Blankfein made the claim that “goldman was doing God’s work”. Which is an interesting thing for someone to say who was raised Jewish and presumably has some knowledge of the Torah. Because the Torah is very clear that indeed goldman is not doing God’s work.
For starters, the Torah prohibits “loaning money at interest”.
You must not charge interest on a loan to your fellow Israelite, whether on money, food, or anthing else.
You must not lend him money at interest and you must not sell him food for profit.
If you lend money to any of My people who are needy amoung you, do not be like the moneylender to him; do not charge him interest.
Ezekiel 10 – 18
Suppose such a man has a violent son who…engages in usury and charges interest. Will he live? He will not! Because he has done all these abominable deeds he will certainly die. (in this instance, the Torah refers to a list of deeds as abonimable including charging interest.)
They take bribes within you to shed blood. You engage in usury and charge interest, you extort money from you neighbors. You have forgotten Me, declares the sovereign Lord.
Second, it prohibits accepting someone’s livelihood as collateral as well as warning against giving or taking collateral.
One must not take either lower or upper millstones as security on a loan (read collateral), for that is like taking a life itself. (A millstone was a critical tool for ancient Israelites and to take it away was to essentially keep a person from making a life for him or herself – essentially, it is saying that it is unlawful to take away something that is critical to a person such as a home or automobile used for work).
Do not be one who strikes hands in pledge or who puts up security for debts.
Third, in the Torah, God calls the Israelites to cancel debts every seven years. (Has goldman ever canceled a debt?)
Deuteronomy 15:1 - 2
At the end of every seven years you must declare a cancellation of debts. This is the nature of the cancellation: Every creditor must remit what he has loaned to another person; he must not force payment from his fellow Israelite, for it is to be recognized as the “the Lord’s cancellation of debts.”
(source: The Net Bible, http:net.bible.org)