Business Halacha: Responsibilities of a Borrower

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handshakeQ: 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.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. 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)

    What if the borrower legitimately and literally does not have the funds to repay? Is he still wicked?

  2. “What if the borrower legitimately and literally does not have the funds to repay? Is he still wicked?”

    Yes. To borrow money from another individual, knowing that one does not have the ability to repay it is ??? ?????? ?????

  3. And if he fully expected to be able to repay, but Hashem decided otherwise and when it was due he literally didn’t have it?

    (BTW is your comment your personal feelings or is it strictly halacha?)

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