The halachot of ריבית seem to be a monetary issue having to do with borrowing, lending, and general business issues. As such it seems like they should be in חושן משפט, but they're not - they're in יורה דעה. Why is that?

  • Why is the prohibition on doing business on Shabbat in Orach Chayim if it has to do with money?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:56
  • @Double-AA the topic is shabbos and has business ramifications, therefore it belongs in hilchos shabbos. Ribbis is purely monetary and should be with monetary law.
    – robev
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 4:26
  • @robev the topic is ritual prohibitions and has business ramifications, therefore it belongs in yoreh deah. Shabbos is purely business related and should be with business law.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 4:31

3 Answers 3


Yoreh Deah siman 159 is the halacha that it is permitted to loan to a non-Jew with interest. This is there, because it is following on the heels of other halachos related to how we treat non-Jews. In siman 160, the Tur starts by saying

רבית הואיל ואתא לידן נימא ביה מלתא

As long as we've mentioned interest, let's talk about it a little bit.

Both the Bach and the Perisha on that line comment that the Tur is explaining why the laws of interest are here, when seemingly they should be elsewhere, among the other monetary laws. The Bach points out that the Talmud put the laws of interest in Bava Metzia, amidst other monetary laws, and the Rambam put it in the laws of lending and borrowing, and the Tur wishes to explain why he didn't do so.

The words of the Perisha:

רצונו לומר ... הוה ליה לסדר הלכות רבית בחושן משפט בין דיני ממונות

He means to explain ... that he should have arranged the laws of interest in Choshen Mishpat among the monetary laws.

So the reason it is here is because it was mentioned, and now we're going off onto a tangent into the rest of the laws of interest.

Shulchan Aruch is merely following the Tur's model, as he does in all of Shulchan Aruch.

  • My sense is that that language is used to introduce something particular about a topic—not the entirety of it
    – Nahum
    Commented May 12 at 20:18

See here for an interesting point on this. However, the facts remain:

the laws of ribbit are found in Yoreh Deah (which deals with what is permitted and what is forbidden), whereas ona’ah is discussed in Choshen Mishpat (which deals with monetary matters).

Ribbit is about the prohibition of lending/borrowing, and not that concerned with returning such money, and is therefore placed in Yoreh Deah. Choshen Mishpat is about making sure that a person who rightfully deserves money gets it, not with Issurim.

  • Consider that interest is fundamentally a fair business practice which nevertheless is prohibited. Onaah, stealing, etc. are not.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 20:36
  • I heard a vort along those lines, if you can please find / reference the source. ty Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 21:42
  • @DoubleAA I think you'll find varying views in mefarshim (and varying indications from Chazal) about whether interest is fundamentally fair or fundamentally cruel. Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 20:32
  • @Yez I think you'll also find varying views in mefarshim (and varying indications from Chazal) about whether the prohibition on interest is fundamentally ritual law or fundamentally civil law.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 23:57
  • 1
    @DoubleAA Really? I was under the impression that the fact that you cannot be mochel on ribbis was pretty unanimously accepted as evidence that it is ritual law. Could you point me to some examples of who says it is civil law? Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 0:02

As ribbis is forbidden even tho both parties (lender and borrower) are cool with it (as opposed to say stealing etc or any other financial arrangement where if they're both ok with it then it is fine) and is problematic even if the borrower forgives the ribbis outright (https://tur.alhatorah.org/Full/Yoreh_Deah/160.5#e0n6), Tur classifies it as isur vheter and delineates it's laws in YD and not CM as there is no underlying monetary dispute between the parties and yet it is still forbidden.

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