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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Positive Mitzvah 199;
Negative Mitzvah 240

  Day 297Day 299  

Positive Mitzvah 199: Returning Security for Loans
Deuteronomy 24:13 "You shall surely return the pledge to him"

Shani was playing with Debby's pocket computer game on the bus home from school. Debby's stop was coming up, and she requested her game back.

"Oh, please Debby! I'll give it back to you at school tomorrow, pleaded Shani.

"But what if it breaks?" asked her friend.

"Here take my pen-watch," Shani said. "It's worth as much as your game. You can keep it if I don't return your game or if it breaks."

"Do you have other clocks at home?" asked Debby.

"Of course!" answered Shani, surprised by her friend's question.

Debby got off the bus before Shani had a chance to find out why she asked such a strange question.

Debby was right in asking about other clocks.

She was concerned that Shani might need the watch before they met the next day.

She had learned that if a person takes security from someone else, he must return it when it is needed.

A person who borrows money may be asked to provide security for the loan. When he repays the loan, the lender will return the security.

However, the borrower may need the article he gave even before he repays the loan.

For instance, the Torah describes a situation where a needy person gives his only blanket as a security for a loan. The lender must realize that the borrower will need that blanket at night.

He is commanded to give it to the borrower at night and may collect it again the next morning. In other cases, as well, we are commanded to return security to a borrower whenever he needs it.

Negative Mitzvah 240: It is forbidden to prevent the borrower from using an article given as security in time of need
Deuteronomy 24:12 "You shall not sleep while holding his security"

Torah teaches us to be considerate when taking security for a loan.

If the borrower needs his security during the day, we should return it to him and collect it again at night.

For example, a poor farmer may have given his plow as security although he needs it to work.

Or the item may be needed at night, for example a quilted blanket which a poor person needs to sleep with. We must allow him to use it at night, and then collect it the next day.

When you hear a concept of Torah, you must meditate upon it. You must take what you hear from a state of understanding to a state of realization and vision. It must move you until you are no longer the same self and your day is no longer the same day. Then it has become yours.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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