(ויקרא כה, לו) וחי אחיך עמך אהדר ליה כי היכי דניחי
“And your brother shall live with you” (Leviticus 25:36), from which it is derived: Return the interest to him so that he may live.
ורבי יוחנן האי וחי אחיך עמך מאי עביד ליה מבעי ליה לכדתניא שנים שהיו מהלכין בדרך וביד אחד מהן קיתון של מים אם שותין שניהם מתים ואם שותה אחד מהן מגיע לישוב דרש בן פטורא מוטב שישתו שניהם וימותו ואל יראה אחד מהם במיתתו של חבירו עד שבא ר' עקיבא ולימד וחי אחיך עמך חייך קודמים לחיי חבירך
The Gemara asks: And Rabbi Yoḥanan, what does he do with this verse: “And your brother shall live with you”? The Gemara answers: He requires the verse for that which is taught in a baraita: If two people were walking on a desolate path and there was a jug [kiton] of water in the possession of one of them, and the situation was such that if both drink from the jug, both will die, as there is not enough water, but if only one of them drinks, he will reach a settled area, there is a dispute as to the halakha. Ben Petora taught: It is preferable that both of them drink and die, and let neither one of them see the death of the other. This was the accepted opinion until Rabbi Akiva came and taught that the verse states: “And your brother shall live with you,” indicating that your life takes precedence over the life of the other.
מיתיבי הניח להם אביהם מעות של רבית אע"פ שיודעים שהן של רבית אינן חייבין להחזירן הא אביהן חייב להחזיר
The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita to the opinion that one is not obligated to return interest that he took: If their father bequeathed them money that he had collected as interest, even though his sons know that the money was collected as interest, they are not obligated to return the money. The Gemara infers: But this indicates that their father himself is obligated to return the money.
בדין הוא דאבוהון נמי לא מיחייב להחזיר ואיידי דקא בעי למתני סיפא הניח להן אביהם פרה וטלית וכל דבר המסוים חייבין להחזיר מפני כבוד אביהם תני נמי רישא בדידהו
The Gemara rejects the inference: By right, it should have said that their father is also not obligated to return the money. But since the tanna wants to teach the latter clause, which states: If their father bequeathed them a cow, or a garment, or any defined item that was stolen property, they are obligated to return it to its owner due to their obligation to uphold their father’s honor, the tanna also taught the first clause with regard to their obligation, not that of their father.
והני מפני כבוד אביהם מי מיחייבי קרי כאן (שמות כב, כז) ונשיא בעמך לא תאר בעושה מעשה עמך
The Gemara asks: And these children, are they obligated to take action due to the obligation to uphold their father’s honor? Read and apply here the verse: “Nor curse a ruler of your people” (Exodus 22:27), from which it is inferred that this prohibition applies only to one who performs an action becoming of your people. The actions of the father, who lent money with interest, were unbecoming of the Jewish people. Why then, must his sons uphold his honor?
כדאמר ר' פנחס משמיה דרבא בשעשה תשובה הכא נמי בשעשה תשובה אי עשה תשובה מאי בעי גביה שלא הספיק להחזיר עד שמת
The Gemara explains: It is as Rabbi Pineḥas said in the name of Rava in a different context, that it is referring to a case where the father repented. Here too, it is a case where the father repented, and therefore he was righteous and worthy of respect. The Gemara asks: If he repented, what is the stolen item doing in his possession? The Gemara answers: It is a case where the father did not manage to return the item before he died. Consequently, the children must return the item in order to uphold their father’s honor.
מיתיבי הגזלנין ומלוי רבית אע"פ שגבו מחזירין גזלנין מאי אע"פ שגבו איכא אי גזול גזול אי לא גזול גזלנין קרית להו אלא אימא גזלנין מאי ניהו מלוי רבית אע"פ שגבו מחזירין
The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: Concerning robbers and those who lend money with interest, even though they collected the money, they must return it. The Gemara analyzes the language of the baraita: In the case of robbers, what case is there that can be described as: Even though they collected the money? If they robbed, they robbed, and it is imprecise to use the language of collecting money; if they did not rob, do you call them robbers? Rather, say in explanation of the baraita: Robbers; in this context, who are they? They are those who lend with interest, and even though they collected the money, they must return it. Evidently, money collected as interest must be returned.
תנאי היא דתניא רבי נחמיה ורבי אליעזר בן יעקב פוטרין את המלוה ואת הערב מפני שיש בהן קום עשה מאי קום עשה לאו משום דאמרינן להו קומו אהדורו
The Gemara answers: In fact, this issue is a dispute between tanna’im, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Neḥemya and Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov exempt the lender and the guarantor from lashes for violating the prohibition of interest, because although they violated a prohibition, once they have done so they are commanded to arise and take action, and there is a principle that one is not flogged for a transgression that can be rectified by the performance of a mitzva. The Gemara clarifies: What mitzva to arise and take action is there? Is it not due to the fact that we say to them: Arise and return it?
מכלל דתנא קמא סבר לאו בני אהדורי נינהו לא מאי קום עשה לקרוע שטרא
From the opinion of these Sages, it can be derived by inference that the first tanna holds that these people are not subject to the obligation of repayment. Apparently, he holds that there is no mitzva to arise and take action. The Gemara rejects that inference: No, what is the mitzva to arise and take action? It is the mitzva to tear up the promissory note documenting the commitment to pay interest.
מאי קסבר אי קסבר שטר העומד לגבות כגבוי דמי והא עבדו איסורייהו ואי לאו כגבוי דמי הא לא עבוד ולא כלום
The Gemara asks: What is accomplished by tearing up the document? What does this tanna hold? If he holds that the legal status of the debt in a document that is fit to be collected is as though it were already collected, and accordingly, they already performed their transgression by writing the document, then they accomplish nothing by tearing it, as the very act of writing the document is tantamount to collecting the debt. And if the legal status of the debt in a document that is fit to be collected is not as though it were already collected, they have done nothing so long as the interest has not been collected. Either way, tearing up the document changes nothing.
לעולם קסבר שטר העומד לגבות לאו כגבוי דמי והא קא משמע לן דשומא מילתא היא
The Gemara answers: Actually, this tanna holds that the legal status of the debt in a document that is fit to be collected is not as though it were already collected, and he teaches us the following principle: That appraisal of an item’s value is a significant matter. If a document was written for a loan with interest and the debtor’s property was appraised, this is itself a significant matter and punishable with lashes.
הכי נמי מסתברא דתנן אלו עוברים בלא תעשה המלוה והלוה הערב והעדים בשלמא כולהו עבוד מעשה אלא עדים מאי עבוד אלא לאו שמע מינה דשומא מילתא היא ש"מ
The Gemara comments: So too, it is reasonable to explain the matter in this way, as we learned in a mishna (75b): And these individuals violate the prohibition of interest: The lender, and the borrower, the guarantor, and the witnesses. The Gemara asks: Granted, with regard to all of them, i.e., the lender, the borrower, and the guarantor, it is understood that they violate the prohibition, as they performed an action. But with regard to the witnesses, what did they do to render themselves liable? Rather, isn’t it correct to conclude from the mishna that the appraisal of an item’s value is a significant matter? Since the mishna states that the witnesses, whose testimony enables appraisal, participate in the transgression, this proves that appraisal is significant. The Gemara affirms: Conclude from the mishna that this is so.
אמר רב ספרא כל שאילו בדיניהם מוציאים מלוה למלוה בדינינו מחזירין ממלוה ללוה כל שאילו בדיניהם אין מוציאין מלוה למלוה בדינינו אין מחזירין ממלוה ללוה
§ Rav Safra says: According to the opinion that the lender is compelled to return the money paid as interest, these are the rules to be employed: In any case where the obligation recorded in the document is so clear that by the laws of the gentiles, who are not prohibited from collecting interest, one removes the interest from the possession of the borrower to give to the lender, by our Jewish laws one returns the interest from the lender to the borrower. And in any case where the agreement is not unequivocal and by their laws one does not remove the interest from the possession of the borrower to give to the lender, by our laws one does not return the interest from the lender to the borrower.
א"ל אביי לרב יוסף וכללא הוא והרי סאה בסאה דבדיניהם מוציאין מלוה למלוה ובדינינו אין מחזירין ממלוה ללוה אמר ליה אינהו בתורת פקדון אתא לידיה
Abaye said to Rav Yosef: And is it an established principle that applies in all cases? But there is the case where one lent a se’a of produce for the return of a se’a of the same type of produce, and the price of the produce went up in the interim, where by their laws one removes the interest from the possession of the borrower to give to the lender, and yet by our laws one does not return the interest from the lender to the borrower, as taking this type of interest is not prohibited by Torah law. Rav Yosef said to him: The gentiles do not consider that transaction a loan. Rather, according to their laws, it entered the possession of the borrower with the status of a deposit, and consequently, returning the produce is not considered repayment of a loan with interest, even though its value is greater than it was at the outset.
א"ל רבינא לרב אשי והרי משכנתא בלא נכייתא דבדיניהם מוציאין מלוה למלוה
Ravina said to Rav Ashi: But there is the case of a mortgage without deduction, where the debtor’s field is held by the creditor until the debt is repaid, and while holding the field the creditor is allowed to consume the produce of the field without deducting from the debt the value of the produce he consumed. The consumption of the produce constitutes a type of interest, and in that case, by the laws of the gentiles one removes the interest from the possession of the borrower to give to the lender.