1) IS A CONVERT OBLIGATED TO PAY A DEBT OF INTEREST THAT HE OWES TO A JEW FROM BEFORE HIS CONVERSION?
OPINIONS: The Beraisa discusses the case of a Nochri who borrowed money from a Jew with Ribis, and then became a Ger. The borrower agreed with the lender that they would calculate the entire sum of money that he owed to the lender, and they would write in a Shtar that the borrower owes this amount to the lender. The Tana Kama says that the Halachah depends on whether the new Shtar was made before the Nochri became a Ger or afterwards. If it was made before the Nochri became a Ger, the Jewish lender may collect the entire sum, including the Ribis, even after the Nochri converts. If the new Shtar was made only after the Nochri became a Ger, the Jew may collect only the principal amount of the loan, not the Ribis. Rebbi Yosi argues that the Jew may collect all of the money, regardless of when the new Shtar was made. Rava explains that Rebbi Yosi's reasoning is that people should not say that the Nochri became a Ger in order to avoid paying his outstanding debt of Ribis.
According to Rebbi Yosi, when the new Shtar is made after the Nochri becomes a Ger, must the borrower (the Ger) pay the Ribis which accrued even after his conversion?
(a) The ROSH explicitly states that the Ger must pay his fellow Jew even the Ribis that accrued after he became a Jew. Why is this not considered a transgression of the Torah prohibition of Ribis? The Rosh explains that the Rabanan have the authority to uproot a Torah prohibition even if doing so means that a person will actively perform an act which the Torah prohibits (see Yevamos 89b).
The TIFERES SHMUEL questions why the Rosh considers this to be forbidden Ribis. Since the amount of interest was set at a time when the lender was permitted to charge interest (that is, when the borrower was a Nochri), what Torah prohibition is there when the borrower pays the Ribis, even Ribis that accrued after his conversion? No one transgressed the main component of the prohibition of Ribis (setting the terms of the interest)! RAV YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV shlit'a (quoted in He'oros b'Maseches Bava Metzia) comments that the words of the Tiferes Shmuel are difficult to understand. The prohibition of Ribis involves one Jew paying another Jew interest, not merely setting a rate of interest, and thus the Rosh's question certainly is justified.
(b) Although the RAMBAM (Hilchos Malveh v'Loveh 5:6) rules like Rebbi Yosi that the Ger must pay his fellow Jew the interest of the loan after he converts, he adds that Rebbi Yosi refers only to the interest which accrued before the borrower's conversion. Rebbi Yosi agrees that the Ger does not pay the interest that accrued after he became a Jew, for this would constitute the Torah prohibition of Ribis. The BEIS YOSEF (YD 171) rules in accordance with the view of the Rambam (which he also quotes in the name of the RAMAH and the TALMIDEI HA'RASHBA). (Y. MONTROSE)
2) PAYING THE BORROWER FOR HIS TROUBLE
OPINIONS: The Beraisa (end of 72b) discusses the case of a person who notices that his friend is going to sell merchandise in a place where he can receive a higher price for his goods, and he makes him an offer. Instead of his friend having to go from place to place to sell his merchandise, he will take it and sell it for him. However, he will keep as a loan the proceeds of the sales, and he will pay back the money at a later date. The Beraisa rules that if the merchandise remains in the possession of the original owner until it is sold, and the money becomes a loan only after the sale, such an arrangement is permitted. If, however, the merchandise is transferred to seller immediately, this arrangement is forbidden, because the merchandise in that place is worth less than the money that the borrower will pay back.
The Mishnah earlier (68a) teaches that a borrower may not work for free for his lender by selling merchandise for him. When the Beraisa here says that the transaction is permitted when the merchandise stays in the possession of the original owner until it is actually sold, does it mean that it is permitted only if the borrower is paid for selling the merchandise (as the Mishnah earlier states), or is this case different in some way from the case of the Mishnah earlier?
(a) TOSFOS (DH b'Reshus) says that the Beraisa permits this arrangement only when the seller (borrower) is paid for his work, as the Mishnah earlier states. If this, however, is the Beraisa's intention, then it is obvious. Since the Mishnah already permits such an arrangement, why does the Beraisa need to repeat it? Tosfos explains that the Beraisa mentions this Halachah only as an introduction to the following Halachah. The Beraisa says that if the merchandise is loaned immediately to the borrower before he reaches the place where it is more valuable, the arrangement is prohibited. Why would one have thought that it is permitted? Tosfos explains that one might have thought that since the normal way of doing business is to buy in a place where the merchandise is cheap and sell in a place where it is expensive, it is considered as though this merchandise has a higher value even in the place where it is cheap. This is why the Beraisa must teach that this arrangement nevertheless is considered Ribis.
(b) The RITVA quotes the RE'AH who says that the lender does not have to pay the borrower to sell the goods. This is also the opinion of the MORDECHAI and the OR ZARU'A. Three reasons are given to explain this opinion:
1. The Ritva explains that the case is where the borrower wants to gain a name as a seller of merchandise, and therefore he wants to sell things. In order to achieve his goals, he is willing to sell the other person's merchandise pro bono, even without receiving any loan.
The Ritva apparently understands that the case of the Beraisa is not comparable to the case of the Mishnah earlier because the Mishnah is discussing a person who is already an established merchant who does not want to be bothered selling merchandise without being paid.
2. The BEIS YOSEF (YD 173) understands that according to this opinion, there was never any agreement that the seller would receive a loan. The seller just happens to borrow the money afterwards (see the Gemara earlier on 43a, "Ma'os she'Einan Tzerurin," for why this is permitted).
3. The TAZ (YD 173:24) explains that the seller exerts himself for the owner of the merchandise because he wants to receive the loan, and not because he wants to benefit the owner. Although the money the seller borrows is a considerable benefit to the seller, these Rishonim maintain that he may sell the merchandise (and borrow the money) as long as it is not done in order to benefit the lender. (Y. MONTROSE)