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Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Quick Vort
Parshas Behar: Chazon Ish & Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz - On The Evils Of Ribbis
"Al Tikach Mei'ito Neshech U'Marbis." Do not take from the poor man interest on a loan (Behar 25:36).  The gemara Bava Metzia says that by making a contract for an interest bearing loan it is as though you wrote a document and had witnesses sign that you are a Kofer in Hashem.  The Mishulchan Govo'a says that one time the Chazon Ish was asked why this aveira is so Chamur among other seemingly more severe infractions.
The Chazon Ish answered that a person's earnings are declared on Rosh HaShana.  By lending with interest a person is saying that he doesn't believe Hashem can deliver his budgeted income to him and only through crooked ways can he receive it.  By putting these sentiments into a written document, he is confirming his apikursos in writing and with witnesses!

The Chazon Ish also explains that Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz stated that the reason for the severity of Ribbis is that since it is mitzva to lend another Yid money, the mitzva must be done exclusively L'Shem Shamayim.  At the moment the lender charges interest, he is taking something very holy and pure, and is turning it into a personal material gain.  This is the greatest crime of them all.
RELATED ARTICLES:apikursos  Chazon Ish  L'Shem Shamayim  Parshas Behar  Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz  ribbis

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Visitor Comments: 1

RS, Gateshead UK, 2009-05-15 04:17:10
I heard from the Gateshead Rosh Yeshiva Rav Leib Gurwicz zt"l another explanation;
With every other aveira, there is always the (often legitmate) excuse that it was done in haste, at a weak moment, or without time to think.
Not so when it comes to Ribbis. No one ever lends money in haste! Many hours are spent investigating the reliability of the borrower,and his financial credibility , considering what alternative investment the lender may be forfeiting, and so on. Also security arrangements need to be put in place. (that is why the gemoro mentions the document and witnesses).
If, after all this soul-searching, the lender has not been put off by the realisation that he is violating Retzoin Haboirei....... he can be nothing but a Koifer BeEloikei Yisroel!

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