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Money Gemachs typically insist on at least one guarantor before they make a loan. Someone needing a loan, suggests to the Gemach that his guarantor will be his credit card. He is using the Gemach to avoid using the credit card. If when the loan to the Gemach needs to be repaid, he does not have the funds, he says that he will repay it by taking out a credit card loan.

Assuming that the Gemach accepts that he can be trusted to do this, is it permitted to make him a loan? Do we say that by delaying the point at which he has to pay interest, the Gemach has served a useful purpose or do we say that by accepting the credit card as a guarantor, we are going against part of the idea of a Gemach?

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Is this a ribbis question? I don't see how. Is this a best-practices in helping people question? I don't see how any one answer can suffice. Is there some official definition of a Gemach that I'm missing? –  Double AA Dec 22 '13 at 7:38

1 Answer 1

The Mitzva of lending a person money is based on the pasuk "Im Kesef Talveh Ess Ami" (You Shall Lend Money To My People) (Shemos 22:24)

However the lender has a right to demand proper collateral for his loan to guarantee that it will be paid back in a timely manner. If the lender is not satisfied with the guarantees provided, he has no obligation to lend, even if the borrower is a poor person.

So if the Money Gemach is satisfied with the persons promise there is no reason to deny him the loan. (I am assuming that the rules that govern the Money Gemach allow for such a dispensation and don't require a another person to sign as a third-party guarantor)

The Chafetz Chaim writes in Ahavas Chessed that even if the person requesting the loan is wealthy and by lending him money you prevent him from incurring a loss it's mitzvah to lend them money (Ahavas Chessed "Introduction to the attribute of Chesed - Siman 3 + footnote 5)

So by lending the person money even if ultimately he will need to take a credit card loan with interest to pay it back, but by giving him the loan you have pushed off that event, the Mitzvah of Gemach has still been performed.

I hope this addresses your questions.

Sources:

http://www.torah.org/advanced/business-halacha/5757/vol1no10.html http://www.ateret4u.com/online/f_01815.html

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