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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 1 (Tora) -- Part: 1 (Positive) -- Command: 198 -- Text
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The Sharia of Moses in the TORA
Part 1 - The 248 Positive Commandments of the Tora

198 - INTEREST


Deuteronomy 23:20 -- To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the LORD your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.

Practically most teachers of Jewish law disagree with Maimonides with regard to this commandment. The view he quotes from the Sifre is in the first place contradicted by the teaching of the Babylonian Talmud, which we invariably follow in such cases, and which states that there is no such obligation upon an Israelite*. Secondly, even the Sifre may be interpreted thus: To a foreigner you may charge interest – this verse is a positive commandment”; that is to say; from the verse quoted we are to infer that to an Israelite we may not lend upon interest, I.e. a negative commandment. Now it is an accepted principle that a negative commandment derived from a positive commandment carries the force of a positive commandment. In other words, one who lends money to an Israelite upon interest violates both an explicit negative commandment (Neg. Comm. 235) and a negative commandment that is derived by implication from a Scriptural statement which is expressed in an affirmative or positive way; and such a negative commandment has the same force as the positive commandment in the verse from which it is derived.

* B.M. 7ob

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