Monday, January 18, 2010

Lending money and paying back (Part 2)

3rd of Shebat, 5770

It is forbidden for a borrower to spend the borrowed money recklessly (unnecessarily) in a way that the lender will not be able to recover the loan from him/her. This is true even if the lender is very wealthy; the Halakha does not permit to borrow without truly intending to repay.

When a person borrows money, the Halakha expects him/her to feel a very strong responsibility towards the lender, and to do everything to pay the lender back as soon as possible. After all, a loan is not a gift - the money still belongs to the lender. Just like the poor is not allowed to steal from the rich, so too is the rule regarding loans. Our Rabbis said “the money of your fellowman should be treated with the same care you would treat your own.”

ILLUSTRATION: Josh, having lost everything to the recession, asks David – whose wealth recently grew tenfold – for a loan. David lent Josh what he asked. Regardless of David’s wealth, Josh must act responsibly with this loan. He must care for David’s money as if it were his own, and repay him as soon as possible.