Q: What are the responsibilities of the borrower to the lender?
A: There is a mitzvah upon the borrower to repay the lender. A person who borrows and does not repay is called “wicked.” (Kesuvos 86a; Avos 2:14) Therefore, a person should not borrow if he does not expect to be able to pay; he should have a plan how to repay. Nor may the borrower squander his money so that he will be unable to pay when the loan is due. (C.M. 97:4; Ahavas Chesed II, ch. 24)
The borrower is not allowed to withhold payment or stall the lender past the due date if he has the money. (C.M. 97:3) If the lender is not present, the borrower is required to make sure that he has money available after the due date to repay the lender when he asks. (C.M. 73:8) If the borrower refuses to pay when he is able to, some consider him a thief retroactively. (Imrei Bina, Gevias Chov #2)
Conversely, if the lender knows that the borrower is not in a position to repay now, he may not pressure him or behave in a way that will embarrass him. (97:2; see Pischei Choshen, Halva’ah 2:8)
There is a dispute whether the borrower is required to initiate repayment if the lender does not ask for the money. (Shach 232:2; Nesivos 104:1) However, even if a long time passed, the lender can still demand repayment, and we do not assume that he forwent the loan. (98:1)
Authored by Rabbi Meir Orlian
These articles are for learning purposes only and cannot be used for final halachic decision. The Business Halacha email is a project of Business Halacha Institute (www.businesshalacha.com) and is under the auspices of Rav Chaim Kohn.