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If someone owes you money and does not want to pay is it permissible to take it from them without their knowledge


Under normal circumstances one must go to Beis Din and not take the law into his own hands. There are exemptions when one is allowed to fend for himself. In your case if there is no element of doubt that the person owes you money and he refuses to repay the loan, you might be permitted to take what is owed if the opportunity arises.


CH:M 4:1

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1 Comment

  1. The source you cite seems to reveal many factors that need to be established before one can take the law into his own hands.
    If it is an item that belongs to the claimant (stolen or borrowed item that wasn’t returned) and there is no dispute between the parties who the owner is, then it is permissible to take the law in ones hand if he has the necessary proof available to win in Beis Din were it to reach a Beis Din. Otherwise, it is forbidden to take what is rightfully yours if it cannot be substantiated with witnesses or other acceptable proof.
    This is not the case with money that was stolen or lent and the respondent will not return that which he knows is not his. One needs to make the claim in Beis Din even if he or she knows that they have the requisite proof to support their claim. If there is concern that if no action is taken immediately the opportunity will be lost, it is permissible to possess the money and hold it as collateral until the hearing in Beis Din. A hearing in Beis din is still required and the Beis Din shall determine what to do with the monies seized.
    The question specifically deals with a loan and I have not found in the sources mentioned permission to take what is owed if the opportunity arises.
    If you agree with me, perhaps modify the answer and leave out this comment. I don’t have access to your email to respond directly to you.

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