Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:1

סִימָן סה – הִלְכוֹת רִבִּית

Chapter 65: Laws of Interest

א: לפי שנפשו של אדם בטבעו חומד ומתאוה אל הממון, וקרוב יותר שיהא האדם נכשל באסור רבית מבשאר אסורין שבממון, כי בגזל ואונאה וכדומה, הרי משגיח על עצמו שלא יהא נגזל ושלא יתאנה, וגם זה שהוא רוצה לגזול או להונות את חברו, לפעמים הוא נמנע מחמת בושה או מחמת יראה, מה שאין כן ברבית, כי הלוה נותן לו ברצונו הטוב, והוא שמח, כי מצא מקום ללוות על כל פנים ברבית, וגם המלוה חושב בדעתו, כי הרי הוא עושה טובה גדולה עם הלוה שיוכל להרויח בממון זה כפלי כפלים יותר מן הרבית, ולכן נקל מאד שיהא אדם נתפתה חס ושלום מן היצר הרע להיות נכשל באסור זה. על כן החמרה תורתנו הקדושה מאד באסור זה, והרבה לאוין נאמרו בו, המלוה עובר בששה לאוין, ולא יקום בתחית המתים, שנאמר בנשך נתן ותרבית לקח וחי, לא יחיה. הלוה עובר בשלשה לאוין, הסופר, והעדים והערב עוברים כל אחד בלאו אחד. וכן הסרסור שהיה ביניהם או שסיע לאחד מהם, כגון שהורה מקום להלוה ללוות או שהורה מקום להמלוה להלוות, גם כן עובר בלאו אחד – יו”ד קס

A person’s soul naturally longs for and desires money, and it is more likely that a person will fail in the prohibition of interest than other monetary prohibitions, for theft, deceit, etc… a person can watch himself that he doesn’t steal or deceive his fellowman. At times he is stopped by embarrassment or fear/awe [from violating those other prohibitions]. Which isn’t true for interest, because the borrower gives it to him in goof will, and he is happy because he found a way to borrow the money even if with interest. And also the lender thinks in his mind that he did a great favor for the borrower who can now gain through this money multiples upon multiples more than the interest. Therefore, it is very easy that a person would (G-d forbid) be tempted by the yeitzer hara to fail in this prohibition.

Therefore, our holy Torah was very strict about this prohibition, and many specific prohibitions were declared about it. The lender violates 6 prohibitions and will not arise during the resurrection of the dead, as it says (Yechezqeil 18:13), “”He gave [money] at interest and took an increase – shall he live? He shall not live.” The borrower violates three prohibitions. The scribe [who wrote up the contract], the witnesses and the cosigner each violate one prohibition. So too the broker who dealt between them, or who recommended the deal to one of them, such as if he shows the borrower where to find the loan or the lender where to lend his money, he also violated one prohibition.


A thought about interest. If the problem were general moral grounds, then the prohibition would not be limited to charging Jews interest. As we saw with the laws of speech, which included all people, or those of correcting someone else’s financial mistakes, which included all non-idolaters. After all, as we see in our text, borrowing with money is often a win-win situation. If both sides gain, how can the problem be fiscal ethics?

The text of the verse is “וְכִֽי־יָמ֣וּךְ אָחִ֔יךָ וּמָ֥טָה יָד֖וֹ עִמָּ֑ךְ … אַל־תִּקַּ֤ח מֵֽאִתּוֹ֙ נֶ֣שֶׁךְ וְתַרְבִּ֔ית… — when your brother becomes poor, and his means fail from among you … do not take from him interest or increase…” (Vayiqra 25:35-26) The source of the prohibition appears to be that brothers don’t charge each other interest. The immorality is in the lack of Jewish unity implied, not in the interest itself.

This appears to be the Qitzur’s explanation why lending with interest has up to 6 specific violations involved. Because it lacks the basic moral imperative not to take advantage of others, people lack the natural reluctance or embarassment that keeps us from most fiscal wrongs. Therefore, Hashem provided more explicit exhortations in the Torah.

This lack of it actually being a moral issue also goes some of the way to explaining our willingness to engineer a heter iska, a contract that gains many of the advantages of an interest-bearing loan, but without the prohibitions. But that will wait for next chapter.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:2

ב: מי שנכשל ולקח רבית, מחיב להחזירהו – מלבד רבית מקדמת ורבית מאחרת דלקמן סעי’ ו’ – קס”א

Someone who stumbled and did take interest is obligated to return it; except for an increase collected before the loan, or one collected after the loan, as we shall see in law #6.


Given that the violation is a lack of fraternal feeling, it is possible that we would think that after the fact, if the interest were paid, it would be the property of the lender. However, this halakhah teaches us that the money should be repaid. Presumably (in other words: I’m guessing) because in the long run, it will foster that unity even if the loan is made interest-free after the fact.

The second clause excludes gifts given before the loan in an attempt to convince the lender to lend the money, or gifts given after the pay-back in appreciation for the loan.  (This aspect of the prohibition is discussed in full in 65:6.)  But actual interest must be returned to the borrower.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:3

ג: אפלו לא פסק עמו את הרבית בשעת הלואה, אלא שהלוה לו בחנם עד זמן פלוני, או שמכר לו איזה סחורה בהקפה עד זמן פלוני, או שחיב לו בענין אחר לשלם לו, יהיה מאיזה ענין שיהיה, ובהגיע זמן הפרעון פוסק לו איזה דבר בשביל שירחיב לו את הזמן, גם זאת היא רבית

Even if he didn’t settle the among of interest with him at the time of the loan, rather, he lent him for free until a given time, or sold him some merchandise for a deferred payment until some time, or he in some other way obligated him to pay him money in any way, and when the time for payment arrived he requested extra money in order to extend the deadline, this is prohibited interest.


Simply put, interest is paying to hold onto money. Including during the period of time in which someone delayed payment.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:4

ד: אפלו אם הלוה נותן לו יותר מדעתו בשעת הפרעון, שלא התנה עמו, ואינו אומר שנותנו לו בשביל רבית, גם כן אסור

Even if the borrower gives him extra by his own decision at the time of repayment, without it being agreed between them, and he never even says it’s interest, it too is prohibited.


I think this din as well as the whole notion that the one who pays interest violates prohibitions (other than causing the recipient to sin) really reinforces my “lack of fraternal feeling” theory rather than seeing ribis as being an immoral act perpetrated on the borrower.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:5

ה: אפלו אומר לו הלוה בשעת נתינת הרבית שהוא נותנה לו במתנה, גם כן אסור לקבלה ממנו. אבל אם כבר לקח ממנו רבית, והמלוה עושה תשובה, ורוצה להחזירה להלוה והוא מוחל לו, מתר

Even if the borrower says to him at the time of paying the extra that it’s a gift, it is also prohibited to accept it from him. However, if he already accepted the extra, then the lender does teshuvah and wishes to return the interest and the borrower forgives the money, then it is permitted [for the lender to keep it].

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:6

ו: אסור להקדים את הרבית או לאחר אותה. כיצד. היה ראובן רוצה ללוות משמעון מעות, ומקדים ושולח לו מתנה ופרש לו בשביל שילוהו, או שהיא מתנה מרבה, דמסתמא הוי כאלו פרש לו שהיא בשביל שילוהו, זוהי רבית מקדמת. לוה ממנו והחזיר לו מעותיו, והיה שולח לו מתנה בשביל מעותיו שהיו בטלות אצלו, זוהי רבית מאחרת

If is forbidden to pay the interest early or to pay it late. How is this?

Re’uvein wanted to borrow something from Shim’on, and he preceded [the loan] by sending him a gift explaining that it was in order that he [Shim’on] lend him money, or it was an excessive gift that of its own is just like he had explained that it was in order that he lend him, that is early interest.

If he borrowed from him and returned his money, and then sends him a gift [in appreciation] for the money which was left unused at his [Re’uvein the borrower’s] place, this is delayed interest.


Lending your brother money should not require inducement nor expectations of huge gratittude. It’s what you do to help each other out. Therefore, such payments are included as ribis (literally: increase) even if they do not intuitively seem like interest.

That said, we saw in 65:2 that unlike true interest, if the gift was given (in violation of halakhah), there is no obligation to repay it.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:7

ז: אם אחד מלוה מעותיו לחברו על זמן מה, כדי שיחזור זה וילוהו פעם אחרת סך יותר לזמן כזה או סך כזה לזמן ארך יותר, זוהי רבית גמורה. ואם מלוה לו על מנת שילוה לו פעם אחרת סך כזה לזמן כזה, יש אומרים שגם כן אסור, ויש אומרים דמתר. ויש להחמיר. אך אם לא התנו כן אלא שהוא מלוה לו ברצונו פעם אחרת, אע”פ שאינו עושה כן, אלא מחמת שזה גם כן כבר הלוהו, בזה יש להקל

If one lends his money to a free for some time, so that the other would reciprocate and lend him much more money for a similar time, or a similar amount of money for more time, this is complete [i.e. textbook, Torah prohibited] interest.

If he lends him on the condition that the other will [at some other time] a similar amount for a similar time, some say this is also prophibited, some say it’s allowed, and it’s appropriate to be stringent.

However, if they did not make such a condition, however he happened of his own will to lend him money at another time, even though he doesn’t usually do this just that this person once lent him money, for this one can be lenient.


This touches on a complex issue — tit-for-tat favors. If it is done intentionally as a stated condition, such behavior is problematic. And if the favor received in exchange is greater, then the entire prohibition against interest is defeated! But even if not, while exchanging favors is permissible, to do so is relying on a leniency. This is a suboptimal way of viewing doing for others and the concept of gratitude.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:8

ח: צריך המלוה לזהר שלא להנות מן הלוה, שלא מדעתו כל זמן שמעותיו בידו, אפלו בדבר שהיה עושה לו אף אם לא הלוהו. שכיון שנהנה שלא ברשותו, נראה שסומך עליו שבשביל מעותיו שבידו ימחל לו. אבל אם נהנה ממנו מדעתו, מתר בדבר שהיה עושה לו אף אם לא הלוהו, ובלבד שלא יהא דבר של פרהסיא – ק”ס

The borrower must be careful not to get benefit from the lender without his knowledge at any time when [the borrower] has his money. Even something he would have done even had he not lent to him. Since he received benefit without his permission, it looks as though he is relying on his forgiving him because of the money he’s holding. However, if he benefited with his knowledge, it is permisssible if it’s something he would do to him even if he hadn’t borrowed it — as long as it’s not something public.


Note that the prohibition here isn’t interest, but the appearance of interest. However, it would still seem that if he actually was relying on someone’s goodwill because they borrowed money fdrom him, it would be interest. (Since that’s the “interest” this case would look like.) Like the previous entry, there is some kind of linkage implied between this prohibition and assuming a tit-for-tat attitude toward doing favors.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:9

ט: אם לא היה הלוה רגיל להקדים להמלוה שלום בפעם אחרת, אסור להקדים לו, ואסור לכבדו באיזה כבוד בבית הכנסת או במקום אחר, אם לא היה רגיל כן גם בפעם אחרת. וכן שאר רבית דברים בעלמא אסור, שנאמר נשך כל דבר אשר ישך, אפלו דבור אסור. וכן המלוה מזהר על ריבית דברים, כגון אם אומר להלוה, הודיעני אם יבא פלוני ממקום פלוני, אע”פ שאינו מטריחו אלא באמירה בעלמא, אם לא היה רגיל עמו בזה קדם לכן, ועתה סומך על הלואתו לצוות עליו, מפני שהוא נכנע לו, הרי זה רבית. ואם תאמר, והא כתיב, עבד לוה לאיש מלוה, זהו אינו אלא לענין אם נפל ביניהם דין ודברים, ואומר המלוה, נלך לבית- דין הגדול לדון שם, והלוה אומר לדון כאן, מחיב הלוה לילך כמו שרוצה המלוה, והמלוה אינו מחיב ללכת לבית- דין הגדול שבמקום אחר, משום שנאמר עבד לוה לאיש מלוה – סימן ק”ס וסימן קס”ו, ובחו”מ סימן י”ד

If the borrower was not accustomed to greet the lender first at other time, he is prohibited from [making sure to] be first [now]. And he is prohibited  from giving him any special honor in the synagogue or any other place,  if he wouldn’t normally do so at other times. Similarly, all matters of “interest through speech” are forbidden, , as it is says  (Devarim 23:20):  “interest of anything that is lent on interest” [which can also be read “interest of any speech that is lent on interest”] — even [an increase that is only] speech is forbidden.

Similarly, the lender [too] is warned against interest through speech, eg: if he said to the borrower, “tell me if so-and-so comes from a certain place”. Even though he is only giving him the bother of making a statement alone, if he didn’t usually do this with him before this, and now he’s relying on the loan to [give him the authority to] order him, becauswe he is indebted to him, this is prohibited interest.

If one says, “But it is written (Mishle 22:7): “the borrower is a servant to the lender’!” This is only about matters where a dispute and issues arise between them, and the lender says “let’s go to the court to adjudicate there” and the borrower says “[no, let us] judge here”,  the borrower is obliged to where the lender wants, the borrower is obliged to where the lender wants, and the lender is not obliged to go to a court in another place,  because it says, “the borrower is a servant to the lender”.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:10

י: אפלו טובת הנאה שאינה ממון, אסור להמלוה להנות מן הלוה, כגון שאם המלוה הוא בעל מלאכה, והלוה הזה אין דרכו לתן לו מלאכה בפעם אחרת, רק עתה מחמת שהלוהו רוצה לתת לו מלאכתו, אסור – קס

Even in the “benefit of pleasure” [ie: the satisfaction one feels in doing a favor for someone], which has no monetary value, it is forbidden for the lender to benefit from the borrower. For example, if lender is a craftsman, and this borrower does not usually, at other times, give give him work,  only now because of the loan, he wants to give him work, it is forbidden.


I think this pretty much closes the case on my theories about the prohibition of interest. This halakhah explicitly takes it out of the domain of money, removing connotations of the loss of money being theft-like or otherwise immoral. And, second, clearly places it in the context of avoiding tit-for-tat exchanges of favor. The notion that this all revolves around the verse’s description of the other Jew as “achikha“, your brother, and therefore lending money should be a simple fraternal reflex, is at this point compelling. (To my mind. Feel free to disagree in the comments!)

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:11

יא: אסור להלוות לאחד סאה תבואה שיחזיר לו אחר כך סאה תבואה, אפלו מין במינו, כי שמא תתיקר בינתים התבואה ונמצא זה מחזיר יותר ממה שלוה. אך יעשנו דמים, שאם תתיקר התבואה לא יתן לו רק הדמים. ואם יש ללוה אפלו רק מעט ממין זה, מתר ללות אפלו כמה כורין. וכן אם יש לאותו מין שער קבוע בשוק, מתר ללוות, אף -על-פי שאין ללוה כלום מזה המין. וכל זה, במין במינו. אבל מין בשאינו מינו, כגון להלוות סאה חטין בסאה דחן, אסור בכל ענין, אע”פ שהן בשער אחד ויש לו דחן. ובדבר קטן שאין דרך להקפיד ביוקרא וזולא, מתר בכל ענין. ולכן מתרת אשה להלוות ככר לחם לחברתה – קס”ב

It is prohibited to lend someone 100 se’ah of grain[on the grounds] that he return 100 se’ah of grain, even one kind for its own kind, because maybe grain will increase in value in the interrum and it will turn out that he will return more than he borrowed. Rather, he should make [the deal] on money, that if the grain goes up in value, he would only return the monetary value.

If the borrower only has a little of this kind, he can borrow even a number of korin [1 kor = 20 se’ah].

Similarly, if some type of grain has a fixed market price, it is permissible to lend it out even if the borrower hasn’t any of that kind of grain.

All this [is speaking of] one kind [of grain being repaid] in its own kind. However, where one kind [is being repaid] in a different kind, like borrowing a se’ah of wheat in [in exchange for a return of] a se’ah of millet, it is forbidden in all cases. Even if they both have the same market price and [even if] he does have millet on hand.

With a small thing, where it is not the norm to care about price changes, it is allowed in all cases. Therefore, a woman may borrow a loaf of bread from her friend [to return a loaf of bread].


It is assur to speculate in commodities where the counterparty is also a Jew. (On a pragmatic level, the presence of an exchange so that you do not have a particular counterparty or a majority of Jewish inverstors alleviates the problem.) The change in commodity value would be prohibited interest. This prohibition is rabbinic, and therefore if the question is asked after it is collected, it need not be repaid to the borrower.

I don’t know why the borrower is allowed to borrow more of a commodity he already has on hand to repay in that commodity. It’s the opinion of R’ Yitzvchaq on Bava Metzia 75a. For some reason the legislation doesn’t include this case. If you have a motivation for why, kindly share it.

Where the item is not a commodity with a set market price, for example I’m borrowing your snow blower to return that same particular snow blower, there is no problem. Where the item’s change in value isn’t large enough to be a futures trade, there is also no problem — the difference in value is ignorable.

Interesting for the purpose of this series on the Qitzur is how far we are expected to distance ourselves from collecting interest. Here there is a derabbanan against lending a commodity because it might go up in value enough to qualify as interest.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:12

יב: המלוה מעות על משכון בית או שדה או מקום בבית הכנסת והמלוה יקח את הפרות מהמשכון, צריך להיות בנכיתא, דהינו שינכה לו מן החוב דבר קצוב לכל שנה, שזו תהיה השכירות שנותן המלוה. ואפלו השכירות שוה יותר ממה שקצבו ביניהם, מתר. אבל לא יחזר המלוה וישכירו להלוה עצמו. ועוד יש בענין משכנתא, הרבה חלוקי דינים, ואין לעשות כי אם על פי שאלת חכם

One who lends money with a house, a field, or [the borrower’s usual] place in the synagogue as collateral, and [the agreement includes that] the lender takes the profits from the collateral, it must be as a deduction [from the loan amount]. That is, he forgives him part of the obligation a fixed amount each year, that this [the profit] is the rent he is giving the borrower [for the collateral]. Even if rent would be worth more than the two agreed between themselves, it is allowed. But the lender may not rent [e.g. the house] back to the borrower himself.

There is more on the subject of collateral, many details of laws, and they really can’t be arranged without consulting a rabbi.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:13

יג: דבר שיש לו שער ידוע, אסור למכרו ביותר מן השער מפני שממתין לו את המעות. אבל דבר שאין לו שער ידוע, אע”פ שאם היה נותן לו עתה את המעות, היה נותנו לו בפחות, ובשביל שהוא ממתין את המעות מוכר לו קצת ביותר, מתר. ובלבד שלא יעלהו הרבה – וכתוב בחוות דעת, דהינו שתות או יותר עד שנכר לכל שבשביל המתנת המעות הוא מעלהו. וגם אם לא מעלהו הרבה, אלא שהוא מפרש ואומר, אם תתן לי מיד את המעות, הרי הוא לך בעשרה, ואם בהקפה, תתן לי באחד עשר, אסור. וכן אם הקונה קונה את הסחורה ביקר כדי למכרה מיד ולהפסיד בשביל שיהיו המעות בידו איזה זמן, גם כן אסור

Something that has a known price, one may not sell it above market price on the basis that he is going to have to wait to receive the mone. However, if it doesn’t have a known price, even though if [the buyer] were paying now he would pay less and it’s because he has to wait for the money he charges him slightly more, it is permitted. But only if he doesn’t raise [the price] a lot, which is described in the Chavos Daas as being 1/6 or more, until it’s recognizable to all that because of waiting for the money he increased the pay. Also, even if he does not raise [the price] alot, but he explicates and says “If you give me immediately the money, you can have it for 10, and if it’s delayed, give me 11″ it is prohibited.

Similarly, if he buys the item for much money in order to immediately sell it and lose — just to have the money in his hands for some time, this too is prohibited.


Interest on late payment that is smaller than the minimum prohibited as ona’ah (price gouging) can be rolled into the price of the item, as long as it’s not explicit that that’s what is being done.

The last line seems to me to be more similar to the commodities trader. In that case, the person lent the item in order to be repaid in the same item once it’s worth more. Paralleling the lender in the case of normal interest. Here, the person is willing to take a loss, much like the borrower in a normal interest case.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:14

יד: מי שיש לו שטר חוב על חברו מתר למכרו לאחר בפחות, ואפלו קדם זמן הפרעון. ויכתב המוכר להלוקח, אני מוכר לך שטר זה, וקני לך איהו וכל שעבודו. וצריך שיהא האחריות על הלוקח. רק אחריות שבא מחמת המוכר, כגון שהשטר פרוע וכדומה, יכול להיות על המוכר. וכשם שיכול למכר את השטר לאחר בפחות, כמו כן יכול למכרו גם להלוה בעצמו

Someone who has an IOU [literally: contract of obligation] on his friend can sell it to another for less [than the value of the loan], even before the time of collection. The seller should write to the buyer, “I am selling you this constract, and acquire it for yourself alone with all its rights.

But the buyer must accept full responsibility [for the collection]. Only those responsibilities caused by the seller, such as the contract being in default, may be retained by the seller.

Just as the possessor of the note can sell it to another person for less than its face value, he is also permitted to sell it to the borrower for less than the amount originally stipulated.


An IOU contract has value and can be bought and sold. This is non-obvious, as differences in between the purchase price and the face value will look like interest. Particularly if borrower buys back the contract himself at a lesser price but a much earlier time. It seems very close to a reduction in amount in exchange for prepayment.

In the next halakhah, we will see more about how to utilize this to financially engineer a workaround for interest. And how that solution avoids the “unbrotherly” issues that interest raises.

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.

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 – 65:17

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 – 65:18

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 – 65:19

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.

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 – 65:21

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 – 65:22

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 – 65:23

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 – 65:24

כד:ישראל שלוה מעובד כוכבים ברבית, וישראל אחר יהיה ערב, עם הוא בענין שאין העובד כוכבים יכול לתבוע תחלה אלא את הלוה, ואך כשלא יהיה אפשר לגבות מן הלוה, אז יכול לתבוע מן הערב, מתר. אבל אם הוא בענין שהעובד כוכבים יכול לתבוע תחלה את הערב, אם כן, הוי כאלו הערב לוה מן העובד כוכבים והלוה לישראל הלוה ואסור. וכן עובד כוכבים שלוה מישראל ברבית וישראל אחר הוא ערב, אם הוא בענין שאין המלוה יכול לתבוע תחלה אלא את העובד כוכבים הלוה, ואך כאשר לא ימצא אצל העובד כוכבים הלוה אז יגבה מן הערב, מתר. אבל אם הוא בענין שיכול לתבוע תחלה גם את הערב, אם כן הערב הוא כמו לוה, ואסור. ואם הישראל ערב רק בעד הקרן ולא בעד הרבית מתר – בדין ישראל שלוה מישראל וישראל אחר יהיה ערב, והלוה משלם לו עבור זה שה”טורי זהב” וה”שפתי כהן” ב”נקדות הכסף” מקלין, הנה דעת ה”חוות דעת” להחמיר, עין שם – ק”ע

A Jew who borrows from an aku”m [literally “a star worshipper”, sometimes it is specific to polytheists, and sometimes refers to non-Jews in general] with interest and another Jew is the guarantor, if they have an agreement that the aku”m can only collect at first from the borrower, and only if he failed to get from the borrower can he then demand from the guarantor, this is permitted.

However, if the agreement was that the aku”m can first demand from the guarantor, it is as if the guarantor borrowed from the aku”m, and then loaned to the Jew the money, and it is forbidden.

Similarly, a aku”m who borrowed from a Jew with interest and another Jew is the guarantor, if there was an agreement that the lender may only collect at first from the aku”m borrower, and even if he does not find [the money] at the aku”m borrower, can then he collect from the guarantor, this is permitted.

However, if if the agreement was that he can claim first also from the [Jewish] guarantor, then the guarantor is like a borrower, and this is forbidden. If the Jew is guaranteeing only the principal, and not the interest, this is allowed.

Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 65:25-26

(I missed Friday, so as to discourage that happening, I’m going to force myself to make it up today. There will be two se’ifim in today’s post.)

כה: עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים שֶׁאָמַר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, לְוֵה בִּשְׁבִילִי מָעוֹת בְּרִבִּית מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל עַל מַשְׁכּוֹן זֶה, אוֹ אֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ נוֹתֵן לוֹ מַשְׁכּוֹן אֶלָּא שְׁטַר- חוֹב, וְהַמַּלְוֶה סוֹמֵךְ אֶת עַצְמוֹ רַק עַל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן אוֹ עַל הַשְּׁטָר שֶׁל עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים, וְעַל הַשָּׁלִיחַ אֵין שׁוּם אַחְרָיוּת, מֻתָּר. וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל הַשָּׁלִיחַ מֵבִיא אֶת הָרִבִּית לְהַמַּלְוֶה, מֻתָּר לְקַבְּלָהּ, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁהַמַּלְוֶה יִגְמֹר זֹאת בְּדַעְתּוֹ, שֶׁכָּל אַחְרָיוּת הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן וְהַמָּעוֹת, בֵּין בַּהֲבָאָה בֵּין בַּחֲזָרָה הַכֹּל עַל אַחְרָיוּתוֹ, וְעַל הַשָּׁלִיחַ לֹא יִהְיֶה שוּם אַחְרָיוּת

A non-Jew who says to a Jew, “Borrow for me money on interest from a Jew upon this collateral” or even if he only gave him a debt contract [IOU] and the lender relies only on this collateral or on the non-Jew’s contract, and there is no responsibility placed on the messenger — it is permitted.

Even if the Jewish messenger delivers the interest to the borrower it is permitted as long as the borrower has this in mind — that all the obligation of the collateral and the money, whether upon delivery or return,are all responsibility [if lost], and there is no responsibility on the messenger.

כו: וְכֵן יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנָּתַן מַשְׁכּוֹן אוֹ שְׁטַר-חוֹב לְיִשְׂרָאֵל חֲבֵרוֹ, שֶׁיִּלְוֶה בִּשְׁבִילוֹ עַל זֶה מָעוֹת בְּרִבִּית מֵעוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים, אִם הָעוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים אֵינוֹ סוֹמֵךְ רַק עַל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן אוֹ עַל הַשְּׁטָר. וְעַל הַשָּׁלִיחַ אֵין שׁוּם אַחְרָיוּת, מֻתָּר. וְכֵן אִם הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל הִלְוָה תְּחִלָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל חֲבֵרוֹ עַל מַשְׁכּוֹן, וְאַחַר כָּךְ אָמַר לְהַמַּלְוֶה, לְוֵה מָעוֹת מֵעוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים בְּרִבִּית עַל מַשְׁכּוֹן זֶה וְעָלַי לְשַׁלֵּם הַקֶּרֶן וְהָרִבִּית, אִם הָעוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים סוֹמֵךְ אֶת עַצְמוֹ עַל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן בִּלְבַד, מֻתָּר

Similarly a Jew who gives a collateral or a debt contract to his fellow Jew, that with it he borrow for him money on interest from a non-Jew, if the non-Jew only relies on the collateral or the contract, and the messenger has no responsibility [for loss], it is permitted.

Also similarly, if a Jew first lend his fellow Jew against a collateral, and afterward tells the lender, “Borrow money with interest from a non-Jew against this collateral, and I will pay the capital and the interest”, if the non-Jews relies on the collateral alone, it is permitted.


We saw the same key principle before in se’ifim 19 and 20. If someone assumes risk for the item, they are the owner. In se’if 19, this meant that a friend helping another sell merchandise who did not assume responsibility for the merchandise was actually a borrower, and any extra the helper makes would be prohibited as interest. In #20, it is the difference between paying a delivery man or paying someone for the time he held an item for you.

Here, it’s the difference between someone being your messenger in a loan to or from a non-Jew, or having two loans– one between two Jews, and one between one of those Jews and a non-Jew, where the Jew in the middle ends up flat, receiving and paying the same amount. However, in the latter situation, where the Jew assumed responsibility for the money, the loan between the two Jews can’t involve interest, and therefore money given to him to be indirectly paid to the non-Jew as interest would be prohibited.