If Reuven owes Shimon $10, and shemittah passed, and Reuven remembered he never paid Shimon, yet he still wants to, should he? Is it honorable?

2 Answers 2


Mishnah Shevi'it 10:9:

הַמַּחֲזִיר חוֹב בַּשְּׁבִיעִית, רוּחַ חֲכָמִים נוֹחָה מִמֶּנּוּ.

One who repays his debts after the seventh year, the sages are pleased with him.


It's perfectly OK, as Joel K already answered, and actually the lender may even peer pressure him to do so.

However, the money needs to be given as a gift, and not as repayment of the loan, otherwise, the lender may not accept the money.

See the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in 180:14 who spells out the details.

לֹוֶה שֶׁבָּא לִפְרֹעַ לַמַּלְוֶה חוֹב שֶׁעָבַר עָלָיו שְׁמִטָּה, יֹאמַר לוֹ הַמַּלְוֶה, מְשַׁמֵּט אֲנִי אֶת הַחוֹב וּכְבָר נִפְטַרְתָּ מִמֶּנִי.‏

אִם אָמַר לוֹ הַלֹּוֶה, אַף עַל פִּי כֵן רוֹצֶה אֲנִי שֶׁתְּקַבֵּל מִמֶּנִּי, מֻתָּר לַמַּלְוֶה לְקַבְּלוֹ מִמֶּנוּ.‏

וְאַל יֹאמַר הַלּוֶֹה, בְּחוֹבִי אֲנִי נוֹתֵן לְךָ, אֶלָּא יֹאמַר לוֹ, שֶׁלִּי הֵם וּבְמַתָּנָה אֲנִי נוֹתְנָם לָךְ.‏

וְיָכוֹל הַמַּלְוֶה לַעֲשוֹת הִשְׁתַּדְּלוּת וְהִתְפָּעֲלוּת, שֶׁיֹּאמַר הַלֹּוֶה שֶׁהוּא נוֹתְנָם לוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִפְעֹל זֹאת, אַל יִקָּחֵם.‏

If a borrower comes to pay his debt to the lender after the Shemitah had passed, the lender should say to him: "I have canceled your debt, and you are released from my claims."

If the borrower says: "Even so, I want you to accept the money," the lender is permitted to accept it.

However, the borrower should not say, "I am paying this on the account of my debt;" rather, he should say to him: "The money is mine, and I am giving it to you as a gift."

The lender is [even] permitted to make an effort to persuade the borrower to say "I am giving you the money as a gift." However, if he is unable to [persuade him] he may not accept the money from him.

  • 3
    Can you source your claim that "the lender may even peer pressure him to" repay the loan?
    – msh210
    Aug 25, 2020 at 14:47
  • 1
    @msh219 I guess it's the last paragraph of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
    – robev
    Aug 25, 2020 at 18:12
  • @robev: That paragraph doesn't say that the lender can pressure the borrower to repay the debt, only that the lender can pressure the borrower to agree that it's a gift (because the lender can't accept it otherwise).
    – ruakh
    Aug 26, 2020 at 8:01

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