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Parshas Behar :
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il

Parshas Behar:

Pasuk (25:36-38)

The following Pesukim tell us that when our brother becomes poor and he needs money, one must help support him. One must make sure not to lend him money with interest, this applies to all Jews, one is forbidden to take interest from another.

The Pasuk right after this Pasuk comes and reminds us that Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, to give us Eretz Canan, and to be a g-d to us.

What is the connection of taking us out of Mitzrayim and one not taking interest from a fellow Jew?

So Rashi and the Sifra come and explain that when the Pasuk tells us Neshech and Tarbis, the words both have the same meaning. This is to teach us that one who charges and pays, has violated two commandments.

The Kli Yakar brings down that Neshicha comes from biting, for it bites into the pocket of the borrower. And the word Tarbis comes to show us what happens to the lender, for he gets more money.

When Hashem told Avraham that his descendants will be in a bitter exile for 400 years. This started a debt of servitude.

Comes Rav Dovid Feinstein and explains that the dept was only repaid from the time Yaakov Avinhu went down to Egypt, 190 years after Yitzchak was born.

When dealing with a debt, when the payment is postponed, the normal way of the world, is for the debt to go up, since the interest accumulates over the years.

However, in our case, not only did it not accumulate, but it even decreased.

Since the Egyptian exile only lasted 210 years, and the actual enslavement was only 116 years.

This, is the connection between the two Pesukim.

Hashm want's to remind us that he forgave the interest that we owed him, the same should be done by a fellow Jew.

Also, the Sefer Tzenah Urenah brings down that just as in Egypt, Hashem was able to differentiate between the first born and those who were not, the same by harming ones fellow Yid, Hashem can differentiate and tell when one is harming his neighbor

That instead of helping his neighbor with supporting him, he bites him by taking Ribis.

The Sefer Talelei Oros brings down (Drash Veh'Iyun) that why were the Egyptians punished for enslaving the Jewish nation, this is what Hashem decreed on them? (Rambam)

Comes the Ra-avad and answers that since they over did the harsh enslavement, they were punished.

Therefore it can be understood what is brought down in the Toras Cohanim, that whoever admits to the Mitzvah of Ribis, it is as if he has admitted to Yetzias Matzrayim.

Yet one that lends with Ribis, and thus does not admit to the Mitzvah of Ribis, it is as if he doesn't agree that Hashem took us out of Egypt.

The whole reason that the Egyptians were punished was because they treated us worst that then they were supposed to, they took Ribis, so too one who lends with Ribis, it is as if he is Kofer on Yetzias Metzrayim.

Not only are we commanded not to take interest, we are also commanded in the previous Pasuk, to support our falling brother.

As Rashi explains, one should not wait until his brother actually falls, but once he is sticking out his hand he should right away try to help and support him so he shouldn't reach the level of a poor person.

Rav Shach explains that the main point in one doing Chesed to another, is having the right intentions, thoughts and understanding of the others needs. We see this by Avraham Avinhu that the Pasuk tells us, when he saw the three people from a distance, it says Vayar....that he saw them, than again the Pasuk says "Vayar Vayratz.." Why the doubling of Vayar?

Comes Rav Shach and explains that the Torah wants to teach us that when one does Chesed, one should do it like Avraham Avinhu's Chesed, with thought and understanding.

One should feel for the other.

Comes Rav Yisrael Yakov Lubechinsky and explains that we see from the Gemarah in Babah Basra (9:b) that when one gives a Perutah to a poor person, he gets Six blessings.

However, when one spends time appeasing, soothing, and calming the poor, he is blessed with 10 blessings.


So he explains that Even though the one who sits and listens calms the poor man is not giving anything physical to the poor.

However, we see that one who gives his time for others is not the same as giving money.

One who gives time is actually giving part of his life to the other. This is the most valuable item that one owns. Thus he gets more blessings for this act.

When we do Chesed to others, whether its support, charity or even lending others money, we should do it in away that we understand the other, and we feel for them.

And not in a way that the other feels degraded and humiliated that he has need for this Chesed, yet that we should make him feel better, and happier.

We must all strive for perfection of ourselves.

That we push our personal goals to the side when lending money, and we don't lend in order to profit from the loan, yet for the sake of doing Chesed.

Doing acts of Chesed to help others without anticipating anything from him in return, is the greatest type of Chesed. The same we find when one gives respect for the dead, this is true respect since the dead can't return the Chesed, "Chesed Shel Emet".

We see that the Torah commanded us not to take interest (Ribis) from a fellow Jew, yet one is commanded to take "an" interest (Vehchi Yamuch Achicha...) in his fellow Jew, when he is in a state of monetary decline, and certainly a spiritual decline.


  Some Laws of Interest:

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch brings down:

When one loans with interest, the loaner is Oyver on 6 Lavihn.

The borrower on 3 Lavihn.

The writer of the contract, the witnesses and the guarantor, are all Oyer on one Lahv.

If one lends money for a certain amount of time, lets say a month. If at the end of the time, the borrower wants to give the loaner a present in order to continue the loan, this is forbidden.

Reuvein is forbidden to lend Shimon money, if he tells him I will lend you now for a certain amount of time, on condition that in the future you will lend me for a longer period of time, or a larger sum of money.

Some even forbid even if the future loan will be the same.

One who borrows money from a person, can not show him any more honor and respect than one showed him before. If one would not say Shalom before, now he also can't say.

One is forbidden to tell another, if you pay cash, it costs 10$. Yet if you pay in installments, it is 11$.

The difference between interest and Neshech (bonus) is that the first deals with a constant additional payment on the loan, at given times. While Neshech is sort of a bonus given to the loaner after the one time loan is over.

There is also a way to lend through a "Heter Iskah" which solves this problem of Ribis.

The Sefer Otzar Dinim U'Minhagim, brings down that now a days that the government has strict interest laws, and punishes those that don't listen to them, some say in Chutz L'aretz one can rely on the law of "Dinah Deh Malchutah Dinah", since it is in Monetary laws. Yet there are those that still require the Heter Iskah.

For an interesting and deeper explanation of the term Ribis, look in Sefer Otzar Dinim U'Minhagim - Ribis.

Good Shabbos!