Question:

Dear Rabbi.
My husband some years ago (maybe 18 years ago) took ribit on a loan for around 3 years without a heter eska from another Jew. We were very prosperous and had everything we wanted, we are now at a point where we have no money as all our property sales in London have gone to pay solicitors in Israel for what people have done to us here (we have lived in Israel for nearly 4 years now). We are just about managing from month to month and our home in London has been on the market for over 4 years and it will not sell, we nearly sold 3 times but every time something happened. Please suggest what we can do to make this avira good, we are desperate. We keep shabbat and kashrut.

Yours faithfully and shabbat shalom,

Debra Izraelov

Answer:

This sounds very sad. Although it does say that a person that lends money with ribbis loses their fortune, we can not be sure that this is indeed the reason for your financial difficulties, nevertheless H-shem created the mitzva of teshuva, which can fix the aveiro. A person that lent money with interest, if the interest was “ribbis ketzutza”, meaning ribbis min hatorah, then the halacha is that the interest money has to be returned to the borrower. You will have to try to calculate how much money you gained from the loan, and pay it back. Next you should do teshuva by regretting what was done, confessing the sin to G-d, by telling HIm that you sinned and that you regret what you did. Thirdly you have to do something that will help you that this mistake should not repeat itself. I would suggest studying the laws of ribbis, there are many seforim in Hebrew, and also in English that talk about these laws. Even if the ribbis was not a min hatorah form of ribbis, and you won’t have to return the money, you should still do the other parts of doing teshuva.

May H-shem help you that you should have ample parnassa, and everything else that you need.

Tags: forbidden interest Ribis Teshuva

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