Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:23

כג: מתר להרבות בנדונית חתנים, כגון שפסק נדוניא לבתו והתנה עם חתנו שכל שנה שיניח אצלו את הנדוניא יתן לו כך וכך שכר, מתר, שאין זה אלא כמוסיף לו נדוניא, וכאלו אמר לו אני נותן לך מתנה כך וכך לזמן פלוני. ואם לא אתן לך לזמן פלוני, עוד אני מוסיף לך כך וכך, דמתר. ודוקא כשהתנו כן מיד בשעת כתיבת התנאים. דכיון דעד עתה לא היה עליו שום חיוב, אם כן הכל הוא חיוב אחד. אבל אם בשעת כתיבת התנאים, נתחיב בסתם סך נדוניא ובשעת החתנה רוצים להתפשר לתת לו דבר- מה בשביל הרחבת הזמן, אסור, וצריכין לעשות בדרך התר

It is permissible to pay an increase on a dowry. For example: He promised a dowry for his daughter, and made an agreement with his [future] son-in-law that every year he [the son-in-law] leaves the dowry with him [the father], he will pay him such-and-such profit, this is allowed. Because this is just like adding on more dowry to him, and as as if he said to him, ”I will give you a present of such and such on a certain date, and if I don’t give it to you on this date, I will add on for you such and such.” This is allowed. This is specifically if they agreed on this at the time of writing the [pre-marital] terms of agreement, since until now he didn’t pledge anything, all of it is now treated as one obligation.

However, if at the time of writing the terms of agreement, he obligated himself without conditions such-and-such as dowry, and at the time of the wedding he wants to change it, and give him a certain amount in return for extending the time, this is forbidden, and he can do it through a permissible loophole [such as the heter iska discussed in ch. 66.].

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:22

כב: ודוקא בשכירות קרקע מתר לו להרבות בענין הזה, מפני שהקרקע נקנית לו מיד. אבל להרבות בשכירות פועל, אסור בענין זה, דהינו שאם שוכר את האדם שיעשה לו מלאכתו לאחר זמן ומקדים לו שכרו היום קדם שנכנס למלאכה ובשביל זה יעשה לו את המלאכה בפחות מן הראוי, זאת אסור, דכיון דהפועל אינו משתעבד מהשתא הוי ליה כמו הלואה. אך אם הפועל נכנס למלאכתו מיד, אע”פ שלא יגמר את המלאכה עד לאחר ימים הרבה, מתר להקדים לו שכרו בשביל שיעשה בזול, דכיון שיתחיל מיד במלאכה הוי ליה שכירות ולא הלואה – סי’ קע”ו וחו”מ ססי’ קצ”ה

It is specifically with regard to the renting of land that one may increase payment in this manner. [That is, as discussed in the previous halakhah, an agreement where “If you pay me the rent immediately, it will cost you 10 gold coins a year, and if you pay me each month, you must give me for each month 1 gold coin.”] Because land is acquired for him immediately.

But with regard to the payment of a worker, this is prohibited. That is, if he hires a person to do work for him after time, and pays him early today before he starts working, and for this the [worker] will do the work for him for less pay than it is worth — that is prohibited. Since the worker isn’t obligated from now, [the early pay] is like a loan.

But if the worker starts the work immediately, since he won’t complete the job until after a great number of days, it is permissible to pay him early so that he will work cheaply. Since he starts work immediately, it is hiring, not a loan.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:21

כא: מתר להרבות שכר הקרקע. כיצד. השכיר לו את החצר ואמר לו קדם שהחזיק בו, אם תתן לי את השכירות מיד, הרי הוא לך בעשרה זהובים לשנה. ואם תשלם לי בכל חדש, תתן לי בעד כל חדש זהוב אחד, מתר. והטעם בזה, משום דמצד הדין שכירות אינה משתלמת אלא לבסוף . הלכך כאשר לוקח ממנו זהוב בכל חדש, דהוו להו שנים עשר זהובים, אין זה שכר המתנת המעות, שהרי אינו מחיב לשלם במקדם, ומה שאמר לו אם תתן לי מיד, הרי היא לך בעשרה, אז מוחל לו שני זהובים, לפי שמקדים לו לשלם קדם זמן הפרעון, וזה מתר

One is permitted to increase the rent on real estate. How is this done ?

Someone who rents him a courtyard, and says to him before he takes ownership, “If you pay me the rent immediately, it will cost you 10 gold coins a year, and if you pay me each month, you must give me for each month 1 gold coin.” This is allowed.

The reason/motivation for/something one may learn from this is because from the point of the law rent only has to be paid at the end. Therefore, if he agrees to take from him 1 gold coin each month, which is equivalent to 12 gold coins [for that same year]. This is not considered as payment for delaying the rental, because he was not obliged to pay him in advance, and what he said to him: “If you pay me now, it will cost you 10″ he is letting him off 2 gold coins, because he is paying in advance of the due date, and this is allowed.


If the fee isn’t due until later, the variable is saving money for early payment, not charging money for the extra time.

That line “[t]he reason/motivation for/something one may learn from this” is a nod to various definitions of the concept of ta’am hamitzvah.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:20

כ: ראובן שהולך למקום שקונים סחורה בזול, יכול שמעון לומר לו, הבא לי סחורה משם ואני אתן לך רוח כך וכך, ובלבד שתהא אחריות הסחורה על ראובן עד שהוא מוסרה לשמעון

If Re’uvein is traveling to a place where they sell some product cheaply, Shim’on is allowed to say to him, “Bring me merchandise from there, and I will give you this-and-this for profit.” As long as the responsibility for the merchandise [i.e. the loss for any loss of merchandise] falls upon Re’uvein until he brings it to Shim’on.


This is another example of defining who owns the merchandise based on who would lose the money if something were to happen to it. If Re’uvein owns the merchandise until the moment it’s delivered to Shim’on, then Shim’on bought it at their agreed upon price. Re’uvein made money conveying the product.

If, however, Shim’on takes ownership when Re’uvein buys it, then he bought it for cheap in the remote location, and is paying Re’uvein extra for the time delay — which is the very definition of prohibited interest.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:19

יט: מתר להלוות לחברו מאה דינרין שיקנה בהם סחורה על היריד, ובשובם לביתם יתן לו הלוה מאה ועשרים דינרין בעדה, ובלבד שיקבל המלוה את הסחורה ויוליכנה לביתו ותהיה אחריות הדרך על המלוה, דהוי כמו שיש לו חלק ברוח הסחורה, הואיל ומקבל עליו אחריות – קע”ג

It is permited for one to lend his friend 100 dinar so that he could buy goods at the market, so that when they return home the borrower will give him 120 dinarim for it — ONLY IF the lender receives the goods, takes them to his home, and the responsibility for them during the journey is on the lender. It is considered as if he has a share in the profits of the goods, since he took on responsibility.


In this halakhah, the likely scenario being discussed is that of two merchants going to the market together. One lacks the money to make full use of the market. So, he borrows from the other. Like in the previous halakhah, by assuming the risk for damages, one is assuming ownership. Therefore in our case the lender is sharing in the profits of their goods, becoming partners in the other’s market business, not simply lending money to the borrower at interest.

Memories of His Child Ephraim

(My first attempt at this post was seriously flawed, both typographically and in flow. This is a significant reworking. If you have ideas for further improvement, they’re eagerly invited.)

I

Why is it that we established the custom to read the Torah once annually from Shemini Atzeres to Shemini Atzeres, thereby turning the second day of Shemini Atzeres (the only day, in Israel) into Simchas Torah? What’s the connection between completing the Torah and Shemini Atzeres in particular?

Second, Rosh haShanah is called “Yom haZikaron“, or “Yom Zikhron Teru’ah” (the Day of Remembrance, or the Day of Remembrance of the Broken Shofar Cry). At of the three berakhos that make up the heart of the Rosh haShanah Mussaf, Zikhronos is the longest. But what do we mean when we praise Hashem for remembering? What does He remember? For that matter, what does “memory” mean when speaking of the One Who created time, rather than a person who lives within its flow?When a person remembers, his brain is reliving now something that happened in the past. For Hashem, though, there is no first-hand experience of time, no “now” and no “past”. What then does Zikhronos mean?

I assume you’re now wondering a third question — what do the previous two questions have to do with each other?

II

When we look at the Jewish Year, we find the holidays mentioned in the Tanakh are grouped around two seasons: fall and spring. In the fall, we have the Yamim Nora’im, Sukkos and Shemini Atzeres. In the spring: Purim, Pesach and Shavu’os. The gemara compares Purim and the holiday the Torah calls “Yom haKippurim“. It also compares Pesach and Shavuos, learning many laws from one to the other on the basis of a gezeira shava (comparison due to similar terminology) because both are placed on the 15th of the month. And Shavuos is called by our sages “Atzeres“, a parallel to Shemini Atzeres.

Purim commemorates the completion of the process that began on Shavuos. On Shavuos, we accepted the Torah because “He held over them the mountain like a barrel”, Hashem threatening to crush the Jewish people if they would decline. This situation lasted all through the prophetic period, where sin often had supernatural consequences. It’s only after G-d “Hides his ‘Face'” on Purim, acting while hiding through nature, that “qiymu vekiblu haYehudim“, the loyalty to the Torah took on a higher level. (And the centrality of willing acceptance by the Jewish People is also why Purim had to be rabbinic, from us, rather than decreed by Hashem.)

And so, given those pieces of the structure of the year, I would expect reflections of Shemini Atzeres to illuminate our understanding of the Yamim Nora’im, as there should be a connection between them similar to that between Shavu’os and Purim.

On each day of Sukkos there is a different number of bulls offered in the mussaf offering. On the first day, 13 bulls; the second day, 12, and so on until on the 7th day 7 were brought. All together, 70 bulls. The gemara (Sukkah 55b) teaches that these 70 bulls are one each for the 70 nations of the world. The medrash (Yalkut Shim’oni, Bamidbar 684) references Tehillim “Instead of My love — they hated Me.” (109:4) “R’ Yehudah said, ‘How foolish are the nations! They lost something, and they don’t even know what it is they lost! When the Beis haMiqdash stood, the mizbei’ach would bring them forgiveness.” — Through these 70 bulls — “Now – who will bring them forgiveness?”

And then on Shemini Atzeres, one bull. An offering for the Jewish People. “This can be compared to a king of flesh and blood who said to his servants:, ‘prepare for me a great banquet.’ On the final day he said to his beloved, ‘prepare for me a small meal so I may enjoy your [company].'” (Sukkah 55a)

The connection between Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah is that expressed in the berakhah said before studying Torah. When the gemara asks what that berakhah should be, Rav Hamnunah’s answer, “asher bakhar banu mikol ha’amim venasan lanu es Toraso… — Who has chosen us from all the nations and given us His Torah… who gives the Torah” is called the elite of the various suggestions.

Shemini Atzeres, the one day at the end of the fall holiday series dedicated to the special relationship between G-d and the Jewish People is therefore also the day of commemorating that He gave us the Torah.” To be “the Chosen People” is to be the “benei beris“, people of the covenant.

And, as I wrote, that implies that we should expect the notion of covenant to be central to the Yamim Nora’im as well.

III

The Zohar writes, “‘אַבְרָהָ֣ם ׀ אַבְרָהָ֑ם’ (Bereishis 22:11) has a pesiq [a pausal trop mark “׀”] between the two names, whereas ‘מֹשֶׁ֥ה מֹשֶׁ֖ה’ (Shemos 3:4) has no break.” When Hashem calls Avraham at the Aqeida He uses Avraham’s name twice and there is a mark there telling us there is a pause, in how we read it. When Moshe is called, also with a doubling of his name, as the Burning Bush, there is no pause. What is this distinction the Zohar is drawing our attention to?

Rav Chaim Volozhiner (Ru’ach Chaim 1:1) answers this question using a description from the gemara. In Yevamos 49b, the prophecy of most prophets is compared to seeing through a cloudy lens or mirror (aspaqlaria shei’na mei’ra), but Moshe’s prophecy was through a clear lens or mirror (aspaqlaria hame’ira). Even the prophets have a layer of physicality which clouds up their view, which divides our souls into a higher level that is more aware of the Divine and a lower level that lives in a body. For most of us, our consciousness stays with our lower selves. A prophet can sometimes “see” from the perspective of the higher soul above that barrier. But it’s a cloudy vision. Moshe entirely lacked that barrier. He had only one self.

Rav Chaim explains that for all his greatness, Avraham too experienced that split. Therefore Hashem calls two Avraham’s – the one where his awareness resides, and the higher soul in heaven. Moshe’s call lacks that “pesiq”, that pausal line, representing a lack of barrier, a unity of the lower “Moshe” and the upper one.

At the moment a person is first born, he is pretty much all potential. Everything that baby will accomplish in life lies before him. He didn’t yet build that line, that gap between who he is and who Hashem created him capable of becoming.

IV

The contents of birkhas Zikhronos doesn’t describe a memory of the past, it describes remembering for the future. “You remember all the actions of the world… And upon the nations, it is sentenced: which to the sword, and which for peace….” The berakhah continues asking Hashem to remember us the way He remembered Noach, “and also Noach you remembered in love, and You appointed him in a statement of salvation and compassion…” And then citing the pasuq, “And G-d remembered Noach and all the living things and all the animals with him in the ark, and Hashem made a wind pass over the earth, and the water subsided.”

The other nine verse of Zikhronos are also about Hashem remembering his covenants with us. More so, His remembering that which He found in us making us worthy of the covenants. Among them:

“And G-d heard their cries, and G-d remembered His covenant with Avraham, with Yitzchaq, and with Ya’aqov.”

“And I will remember My covenant of Yaaqov, and also My covenant of Yitzchaq, and also my covenant of Avraham I will remember, and I will remember the land.”

“He gave food to those who are in awe of Him, and He always will remember His covenant.”

“Go our and call in the ears of Jerusalem to say, ‘So says Hashem: I remembered for you the lovingkindnesses of your youth, the love of your wedding, your walking behind Me in the wilderness, in the unfarmed lands.”

“I remembered my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I established with you an eternal covenant.”

And finally, “My dear child Ephraim, isn’t he a delightful child? For often I speak about him, I will remember him still…”

Yahadus has a focus on the notion of beris, of a covenant where two parties join together for their common good. (Unlike a contract, where each is aided in their own good in exchange for helping the other.) Man is redeemed through the covenent, through joining together with other and with G-d to work for a good that is greater than Himself.

Teshuvah on our part is critical. But Hashem controls the situations we face. Whether we live in a world that poses challenges to our efforts or makes them easier.

Just as Shemini Atzeres, the day of celebrating our chosenness as a people, naturally became Simchas Torah, the day we celebrate the covenant, the mission for which we were chosen. Zikhronos is a call to remember the person who entered the beris, the person for whom hopes were so high. But since we are speaking of the Creator, when say the word “Zokheir” we really mean “acting in a manner that, if done by a person, would be interepreted as being driven by memory”. When we ask Hashem to “remember”, we’re asking Him to help us reignite the plans we made together.

Zikhronos is G-d remembering our potential, and from that, His plans for us. As it closes “… Zokheir haberis – Blessed are You .. the Rememberer of [or Who Remembers] the Covenant.”  It is our calling out to Hashem to invoke that beris. To remember the “delightful child” He created us as, and to make that potential manifest.

We can use this idea to enhance the notion of teshuvah – which literally translates to “return”. Not only is it a person’s return to Hashem, it’s a person’s reapproachment to the person Hashem created him to be, and the role for which He was created.

This  is the “dear child Ephraim” of the berakhah of Zikhronos.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:18

יח: מי שיש לו סחורה שנמכרת כאן בזול ובמקום אחר ביקר,ואמר לו חברו: תנה לי סחורה זאת ואוליכנה למקום היקר ואמכרנה שם ואעשה צרכי במעות עד זמן פלוני, ואפרענה לך כפי מה שהיה שוה שם לאחר נכיון ההוצאות שעלו על הסחורה, אם האחריות בהליכה היתה על הלוקח, אסור. ואם האחריות על המוכר, מתר. והוא שיתן להלוקח איזה דבר בשביל טרחו

[The law for] someone who has merchandise that is sold here cheaply and in some other place for more money, whose friend says to him, “Give me this merchandise. I will take it to the place [where it is] more expensive, and I will sell it there and do what I need with that money until a specified time. Then I will reimburse you according to what it is worth over there after I deduce my expenses in handling the merchandise.” If the responsibility [for the merchandise] during the transport lies on the buyer — it is prohibited. But if it is on the seller — it is permitted as long as he gives the buyer something for his effort.


If the responsibility lies on the buyer, then we are back at a case where the seller makes money through waiting at the expense of another Jew. The buyer is buying the merchandise at the time of receipt (which is why their loss would be his), and paying after a delay. If, however, the seller retains ownership and thus risk of loss if something happens to the product, then he is paying someone else to conduct business for him.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:17

יז: ואם הקבע השער לתבואה, יכול לקנות בהקדמת מעות כפי השער, אע”פ שאין להמוכר כלום, שהריאפלו תתיקר אחר כך התבואה, אין הלוקח מרויח במה שהקדים את המעות, כיון שהיה יכול לקנות אז תבואה במעותיו בשער זה. ומאחר שפסק בהתר, אע”פ שנתיקרה אחר כך התבואה, בשעת הפרעון, ואינו רוצה לתת לו את התבואה שפסק עליה, יכול לשומה על סחורה אחרת שיתן לו, או שיתן לו מעות כשווי של עתה

If the there is a fixed market price for grain, he may offer to buy for advance payment at that price, even though the seller has nothing [in his possession yet to sell]. Because, even if the grain becomes more expensive afterward, the buyer does not profit by paying in advance since he could have bought grain[from a 3rd party] at this time at the [same] market price.

Since the sale was permissible, even if afterward the price went up of the grain at the due date, and he does not want to give him the grain at the agreed price, he can decide on other merchandise to give him, or give him money of equal value to the present market value.


This differs from the loan of a commodity because the buyer could have bought the same grain up front and made similar profit. It would only be if next quarter’s wheat were being sold today at a different fixed market price than wheat itself (such as at the CME) is that our early discussion becomes relevant.

The second paragraph discusses a distinction the commodities future trader would call physical settlement (actually receiving the commodity) vs. cash settlement (receiving its value). In our case, cash settlement is allowed, as well as anything else of that value.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:16

טז: אסור לקנות תבואה או שאר דבר בהקדמת מעות, ושיתן לו את התבואה לאחר זמן, דחישינן שמא בינתים תתיקר התבואה אחר כך בזמן שיתן לו את התבואה, ונמצא הלוקח נוטל יותר משעור מעותיו בשביל שהקדים את המעות. אבל אם יש להמוכר גם עתה כל התבואה שהוא מוכר, אע”פ שלא יתננה ללוקח עד לאחר זמן מתר, כי מה שיש להאדם יכול למכור אפלו בזל הרבה כרצונו, ואפלו התבואה לא נגמרה עדין לגמרי כראוי, אלא שצריכה עוד מלאכה אחת או שתי מלאכות, נחשבת כאלו היא גמורה ומתר. אבל אם מחסרת עוד שלש מלאכות, אסור. – ועין בסימן שלאחר זה התר להקדמת מעות על סחורה

It is prohibited to buy grain or another commodity by paying in advance to be given the grain at a later date, because we are concerned that meanwhile the grain will become more valuable [ie: will increase in price]  afterward when he gives him the grain. It will come out that the buyer receivs more than the value of his money, by having paid in advance.

However, if he has to sell at this time, all the grain that he is putting up for sale, even though he will only deliver to the buyer at a later date, it is permissible. This is because whatever one has one can sell even at a very low price, if he wants to do so. Even if the grain is not yet fully ready but needs another one activity or two activities, it is considered as if it were ready [for sale] and may be sold. But if it still needs three more activities, [sale] is forbidden.


We’re now jumping back to continue the discussion of commodities speculation in 65:11. In sei’if 11, though, the commodity was borrowed now and the change in commodity value can effectively be interest. Here, it’s a sale. The dealing becomes an interest situation because ownership is only assumed at a later date.

If the person is hard-pressed for cash and the commodity is ready for sale or nearly so, then the deal can be framed as a undervalued sale of commodity for immediate ownership, without a time element offsetting the difference in price, and thus permissable.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:15

טו: ובאפן זה יכולין להועיל, כגון ראובן שצריך למעות בניסן, הולך אצל שמעון, ושמעון נותן לו שטר חוב על עצמו, שהוא חיב לפרע לראובן מאה זהובים בחדש תשרי – וכנגד זה נותן גם ראובן שטר חוב כזה לשמעון, שהוא חיב לפרוע לו מאה זהובים בתשרי, כדי שיהא שמעון בטוח, והולך ראובן ומוכר את שטר החוב שיש לו על שמעון ללוי עתה בניסן בעד תשעים זהובים – חוות דעת – ומכל- שכן שאם יש לשמעון שטר חוב על יהודה אשר זמן הפרעון הוא לאחר זמן, שהוא יכול למכרו לראובן בהקפה עד הזמן וראובן יתן לו שטר חוב על זאת, ושוב ימכר ראובן את שטרה חוב הזה בעד כמה שיוכל. אבל אם ראובן יכתוב שטר חוב על עצמו למכרו לשמעון, אפלו על ידי שליח, אסור – חכמת אדם כלל קמ”ג

In this way [through the selling of IOU contracts] one can make an arrangement; eg:

If Re’uvein needs money in Nissan, he goes to Shim’on, and Shim’on gives him an [IOU] contract on himself, that he promises to pay Re’uvein 100 gold coins in Tishrei. And against that, Re’uvein also gives a similar debt contract to Shim’on, that he promises to pay him 100 gold coins in Tishrei, so that Shim’on is insured [of being paid]. Then Re’uvein goes and sells the contract that he has on Shim’on [i.e. the side in which Shim'on pays him] to Levi now, in Nissan, for 90 gold coins.

All the more so, if Shim’on has a promissory note on Yehudah, whose payment date is not until later, which he can sell to Re’uvein [to be paid] in installements until it is due, and Reuven gives [Shim'on] a promissory note [in exchange] for this, and Re’uvein again sells this debt contract for whatever he can get.

However, if Reuven writes a debt contract on himself [to pay Shim'on at a later date] and sells this to Shim’on [at the current value of receiving the money later], even if thought an agent, this is prohibited.


Since interest is not so much a crime against the other as a lack of brotherliness, the rabbis were willing to permit utilizing loopholes that technically aren’t interest in cases where the overall goal of helping another Jew would be met. So, if our hypothetical Re’uvein needs money up front in Nissan and he can’t find someone who can afford to lend him the money without interest, we allow “financial engineering” to be used to accomplish something much like a loan.

We are presented with three cases. In all three it’s Nissan and Re’uvein needs money.

1- Re’uevein and Shim’on trade loan contracts of equal size — both are loans of 100 coins due in Tishrei. Shim’on isn’t risking anything, because the contracts net out to zero. But Re’uvein takes the contract he’s holding and sells it for 90 gold to Levi. So:

Re’uvein has 90 coins now, when he needs them. Come Tishrei he will have to pay Shim’on that debt back for 100 coins, and Shim’on’s debt will at the same time be repaid to the contract’s new holder, Levi. Total money flow is 90 coins from Levi to Re’uvein today, and 100 coins from Re’uvein to Levi in 6 months (the latter being paid via Shim’on).

2- Shim’on already has a loan owed him by Yehudah. He sells the contract to Re’uvein for Re’uvein to pay in installments. Shim’on gets a contract to this effect from Re’uvein. Meanwhile, Re’uvein resells Yehudah’s debt to a fourth party for payment up front.

Yehudah will pay the fourth party, so his debt is unchanged.

Shim’on receives installments from Re’uvein instead of being paid later by Yehudah. He is getting his money earlier (but it’s likely he’ll settle for slightly less total money in exchange).

Re’uvein receives money up front, when he needs it, from this unnamed fourth party. He ends up paying back more to Shim’on in those installments than he can get for the contract today.

3- What Re’uvein may not do is simply write a promissory note for 100 coins to be paid in Nissan to Shim’on and then sell it to Shim’on for 90 coins today. That, like the case we had earlier of commodity speculation, may not be technically interest, but it is a prohibited increase.