This week we read Parshat Mishpatim, a continuation of the laws given at Sinai. One of the laws mentioned focuses on the simple act of loaning money. We are told, “If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, do not act toward them as a creditor; exact no interest from them.”
This law creates an atmosphere of protection and care for the vulnerable in our community. We learn at least two things from this verse. First, we should be lending money to people to help get them through difficult times, and we should not make it extra burdensome by tacking on interest. Second, when we loan the money, we should not act like a creditor and belittle the debtor.
As far back as the late 1880s, major Jewish communities in the United States have established Free Loan Societies to help facilitate this great act of loving kindness.
Jewish Nevada launched its Hebrew Free Loan Program in December. Hebrew Free Loan provides interest-free loans to our community.
Here is a great video that talks about the connection between the verse in Mishpatim and the idea of a Hebrew Free Loan Society.
If you know someone who could use a small, interest-free loan, please be in touch with Rabbi Tecktiel.
Looking forward to greeting you this Shabbat, Friday at 7:30 pm and Saturday with HAZAK at 9:00 am.
Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel has been Midbar Kodesh Temple's spiritual leader since August 2008. Rabbi Tecktiel was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May of 1996. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one from List College and one from Columbia University. He also holds a Masters of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
You can follow him on Twitter @RabbiMKT.