Clearly, one is not permitted to charge interest on a money loan. However, I believe there is no problem paying interest according to a previous agreement if the lender is not a Jewish person. And certainly one should not accept a loan from a Jewish person if the loan involves interest.

But it could easily happen nowadays, that the borrower did not know that the lender was Jewis, and then discovered that fact before the loan is paid back. Assuming that the borrower has no other options and even if the lender did not care that he would break a Torah mitzvah, is still one required to pay the interest?

Or should one not pay the interest and accept what ever financial consequences may result?

  • 1
    Are you asking about a real situation? Are you familiar with the concept of a heter iska? If this real, you should consult a rabbi who might help you convert a loan with interest to a heter iska, alternatively you might be able to pay back the loan without interest, and make a separate donation to cover the interest +/- a small sum. But you need to ask a competent rabbi in any case as small details will make a big difference (e.g., esp. if the lender was a corporate entity)
    – mbloch
    Jan 10 at 4:25

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