Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Talmud on charging interest

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Why the Talmud Allows Jews to Profit Off Gentiles. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, focusing on religious duty over secular egalitarianism.
Tractate Bava Metzia centers on the concept of ownership: What does it mean, under Jewish law, to own a piece of property? And what happens when there is a dispute over ownership, or when one person takes possession of property that belongs to another? This kind of abuse can take several forms, ranging from straightforward theft to what the Talmud calls “exploitation”—a transaction in which one party takes illegal advantage of the other. But over the last two weeks, in Chapter Six of Bava Metzia, Daf Yomi readers have explored a different kind of crime against property—one that in our capitalist economy is not a crime at all. If it were, anyone who takes out a mortgage or a car loan, or who uses a credit card, would be guilty of it. This is the crime of lending or borrowing at interest, which is forbidden to Jews in Leviticus 25: “Do not take from him interest or increase, but fear your God, in order that your brother may live with you. You shall not give him money with interest, nor give him your food for increase.”

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.