Pisqa’ 262

Pisqa’ 2621


“Do not exact from2your brother unfair terms” (Dt.23:20)—

this [verse addresses] the borrower

[warning against consenting to a usurious loan].

How do I know that

[it applies also] to the lender

[who should not profit from a usurious loan]?

The Teaching states:

“You may not impose upon him unfair terms,

or demand a high rate [of return]” 3 (Lv.25:36)


{“For your silver do not impose upon him unfair terms,

and do not demand a mark-up4 for your food” (Lv.25:37)—}5

Inferring from what is said:

Your silver” (Lv.25:37)—

[you may lend yours,]

but certainly not the silver of [gentile] others.6

Your food” (Lv.25:37)—

but not the food of [gentile] others.

Or, perhaps [I should infer as follows]:

Your silver” (Lv.25:37)—

but not money consecrated as Second-tithe,

[which is divine property]!

Your food” (Lv.25:37)—

but not animal feed

[which is not fit for human consumption]!

When He uses the phrase:

“Unfair terms for silver” (Dt.23:20)—

this includes money [consecrated as] Second-tithe.

[When He uses the phrase:]

“Unfair terms for food” (Dt.23:20)—

this includes animal feed? 7

I might infer only that the rule applies to

unfair terms for [a loan of] money

or unfair terms for [a loan of] food.

How do I know to include any other loan?

The Teaching states:

“Unfair terms that may be imposed upon any loan.” (Dt.23:20).


R. Shimon says:

On what basis do I know that

[a creditor] should not say [to a borrower]:

Go and ask So-and-So how he’s doing!


Find out if So-and-So has returned from Here-or-There?

The Teaching states:

“Unfair terms that may be imposed upon any loan.” (Dt.23:20).8

  1. H:259-260;JN2:193-194.
  2. Heb: tashich; literally, “take a bite from.” Neshech, also derived from the root, n-sh-ch (“to bite”), thus means the “unfair bite taken from another.”
  3. Heb: tarbit; literally, “interest.” // Mechilta Ishmael, kaspa’, 19.
  4. Heb: marbit; as in tarbit.
  5. The bracketed verse does not appear in RH, F or most other versions. I add it here for intelligibility.
  6. Heb: ‘akherim. In this context, ‘akherim can refer either to “other [Israelites]” or to “gentile outsiders.” In light of Sifra, bahar, par. 5:3 (cf. M. BM. 5:18), the latter interpretation, which Neusner proposes as well, seems more likely. Cf. F:284, n. 11.
  7. Sifra, bahar, par. 5:3, s.v., kaspekha.
  8. Cf. M. BM. 5:10.