(In order to understand the dinim of Ribis and if this particular case would be problematic I will give a localized example. However please don't close the question or say it's too "local" because the whole point in these questions is to understand the issur of Ribis better and more clearly and how it can be applied to other cases as well.)

A poor person went collecting Tzedeka on Purim. Towards the end of the day he came to a rich person who said that he had already run out of money and had no more to give that day. The poor person proposed the following. He said he'd loan the rich person 100 shekels now in order that he should be able to give it right back to him as tzedeka, and, after Purim, the poor person would come back and the rich person would pay back the poor person the 100 shekels that had been given as a loan. As I understand, if the rich person wouldn't be willing to give over the 100 shekels now as charity that the poor person had just lent him, then there would be no such arrangement to begin with.

Is this a problem of ribis?

Perhaps this similar to the case saying that you'll make a loan to someone only on condition that they give tzedeka to certain organization (which is a problem as I've heard -- no source at the moment). Or perhaps the 100 shekels in this case being given on Purim could be looked at as a matana (gift) since it's being given as Tzedeka.

(If anyone feels the question needs editing or addtional sources, please feel free to add or edit it yourself. I will bli neder try and go back and post more however I'm putting up the question now in order to hopefully get answers as well as improve upon it.)

  • Maybe I'm missing something, but how is the first scenario anything like ribis? All the rich person is doing is obligating himself to pay 100 shekels. The back and forth of the physical money is meaningless. Is the poor person perhaps not collecting this money for himself? (But if so, why specify "poor"?) – Ariel Nov 21 '12 at 6:29
  • @Ariel - If the rich person wouldn't be willing to give over the 100 shekels now and then pay back later another 100 shekels then the person wouldn't be making the loan to begin with! The back and fourth means a lot over here -- otherwise no loan would be made. – Yehoshua Dec 4 '12 at 14:22
  • What "another" - there is no another in your question. The loaner is giving the 100 shekels to tzedaka. There is no reason to hand them to the rich person first. The rich person simply agrees to give the loaner 100 shekels in the future. – Ariel Dec 5 '12 at 9:15
  • @Ariel So look it at this way. With a change of money between hands would there be a problem? The whole point is to have the mitzvah. Mistama the rich person would want to do it in such a way that there is an actual "giving" of tzedeka. Meaning he is koneh the money then hands it over. Otherwise ain hachi nami the whole thing would essential be telling him a 100 shekels at a different time. I've found a possible answer and will post it soon. – Yehoshua Dec 5 '12 at 10:12
  • I'm sorry. I sat on this for a while, but I just don't understand the distinction you are making. "the whole thing would essential be telling him a 100 shekels at a different time" I assume you mean "him giving" not "be telling", and yes, that's exactly what it is. I don't see how the other people giving him the money first, then handing it back changes anything. – Ariel Dec 11 '12 at 0:15

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