1) Sixteen boys rented a tender. The price was 150 shekel. They didn’t each have exact change to split the bill, so they decided that one boy would pay up front for everyone and later each boy would pay him back 10 shekel— and he would be exempt for paying anything since he laid out the money. Is this a problem of ribbis? Please bring sources.
2) Assuming that each boy would pay a fair amount, each would owe him 9.375 shekel. Can they each pay him 9 and 1/2 shekel for the sake of convenience (to avoid having to get 30 or 40 agurot)? What would be the best idea in this type of case to avoid ribbis issues? Please bring sources.
- Regarding your first question, the boy who laid out the money essentially gave all of the other boys a loan for their share of the ride, which is worth 9.375 shekel. If they each pay him 10 shekel to him because he laid out the money, he essentially is taking ribbis from each boy. In fact, it will also be ribbis ketutza, or ribbis d’oraysa, since it was agreed at the time of the loan”, when the boy laid the money out for everyone, that he would be getting back more than he lent for each boy.
- The difference between 37 1/2 and 40 agurot is insignificant as it is normal in Eretz Yisroel to round the money to the nearest 10 agurot, since there aren’t coins of a smallest denomination. However the extra 10 agurot would also be considered ribbis (m’d’rabonon- since it wasn’t agreed upon at the time of the loan). Therefore he has to give each boy back 10 agurot, if he has change on him. Alternatively, the boys can tell him to put the 10 agurot in tzedakah for them, and that would also be considered as if he gave it back to them, since they told him to do so. This is not the same as when neighbors borrow from each other, because even then the two neighbors should give back exactly what they took and not more. In instances where it isn’t noticeable, such as by basically the same size egg or a loaf of bread then it is permitted. This obviously will not apply to money.
1. Y:D 161-1,5.
2. Bris Yehudah 17 ftnt. 6, 2-69, Bris Pinchos 5-17,18.