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Negative Commandment #52

Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim

This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today

Second Section – the Negative Commandments

52. It is a negative commandment "a lender should not demand repayment from a borrower if the lender knows the borrower does not have money to repay."

As it states in Shemos (Exodus) 22:24, "do not be as a collector." It is forbidden for the lender to pass in front of the borrower if he knows the borrower does not have the money to repay the loan because this will embarrass the borrower. Just as it is forbidden for the lender to demand payment, so too it is forbidden for the borrower to withhold payment and say "go and come back" if he has the money to repay in his possession. This is a negative commandment from the Scriptures, as stated in Mishlei (Proverbs) 3:28, "do not say to your friend 'go and come back tomorrow and I will give you' if he already has what to pay." It is also forbidden for the borrower to spend his money on unnecessary items so he does not have what to repay with. If he does this, he is called wicked, as it states in Tehillim (Psalms) 37:21, "The wicked man borrows and does not repay."

This applies in all places and at all times, for men and for women.