Dec 092016

The gemara enumerates more cases revolving around business dealings and discusses ramifications pertaining to interest, commitments (whether or not one can back out of a deal), shlichut, etc.  A debate between Rav and Shmuel is brought relating to the definition of “yesh lo” when one has the produce – how many steps can be left in the process before the final product will be ready and it can still be considered yesh lo?  Both opinions are questioned based on the details brought in our mishna and are resolved.

Dec 082016

Various cases of business transactions – many of them actual cases that were going on at the time of the amoraim – are brought and analyzed as to whether or not they are allowed or should be forbidden because they are considered interest payments or they looks like interest payments.

Dec 072016

Cases are discussed relating to converts paying interest after they converted or taking interest from a loan they had lent before they converted.  Various cases are brought in which something about the shtar (document) is invalid (i.e. it was a loan with interest) – does it invalidate the entire document or can the part that is true/good, still be valid.   Differences between the different cases are analyzed.  The mishna discusses the halachot about buying produce up front in the beginning of the season but only to receive the produce later – in what circumstances is this forbidden because it may be interest (if the produce goes up in value) and in what circumstances is it permitted (if the seller has the produce in his property at the time of the sale or the market value has already been set).

Dec 062016

Can one take interest from non Jews?  Under what circumstances?  A pasuk is brought to show that one who takes interest will lose his money.  The gemara then questions that against reality where we see righteous people who lose their money also.  Rebbi raises 2 problems where the Torah says one thing about a ger  and the halacha doesn’t match that.  One about a hebrew slave and one about taking interest.  They are both resolved.  The gemara then proceeds to describe cases where one is permitted to be a guarantor for a loan on interest.  THe cases in the mishna are explained where there are 3 people – 2 Jews and a non Jew and one takes the loan off the other and pays the interest for him . The gemara describes 4 possible cases – 2 of which are allowed and 2 of which aren’t.  This related to the issue of a Jew being a messenger for a non Jew.  2 versions of a radical statement by Rav Ashi on the topic are brought – and are both rejected.

Dec 052016

More types of investments are discussed and in what situations and with what stipulations are they allowed.  There are certain things allowed to orphans that are forbidden to others.  What exactly these are are a matter of discussion in the gemara.  Suggestions are given as to how best to deal with an orphan’s money.  Is it considered a good thing to take interest from non Jews or is it frowned upon, despite the fact that it is permitted by Torah law?

Dec 042016

In what manner can people invest with others and share the profits without being concerned about it being interest?  This is called an iska and is allowed as long as the one who receives the investment and does the work gets some sort of minimum salary so that the investor doesn’t get a service for free (which would then be perceived as an interest payment).  There is a debate about how much salary one needs to give – how minimal it can be.  Various cases and situations are described to explain what methods of investing are and are not allowed.  Renting out money is not the same as renting out an item for two reasons described in the gemara and therefore it is forbidden.  One can lend out money with interest if the lender is not the one who receives the interest or the borrower is not the one who pays the interest – meaning there is a third person who pays or gets the interest – as long as he is not acting as a messenger of the lender or borrower.

Dec 022016

Does the law that asmachta is not a valid sale apply only to land or also to moveable property?  If someone is allows someone to take something of theirs without complaining (mechila) and later finds out that it was a mistake, is this valid or not?  Does it depend on the situation?  Cases are discussed regarding one who eats fruit off of property given to him as collateral – does it need to be returned or not (is it interest from the rabbis or from the Torah)?  Does depend on the whether it is a place where the borrower can kick the lender off the property as soon as he pays back his loan or whether it is a place where the borrower does not have rights to kick the lender off his property until the time of the loan has ended.  What other differences are there between land in the hands of the lender in each of these places?

Dec 012016

If someone commits during or following a transaction to something exaggerated, is it considered valid or not?  Do we say that he never intended to commit to that and was only saying it to inspire confidence.  Various cases are brought regarding these types of statements.

Nov 302016

If one takes interest forbidden by the Torah, according to rabbi Elazar, the court can force him to return it.  Various cases are brought in which the interest was different than they had agreed upon.  In each case, does the lender need to return what was agreed upon or what he actually received?   The mishna distinguishes between rentals and sales in terms of agreeing to a higher price if the buyer/renter pays at a later date.  In rental contracts it is allowed because generally rentals are paid at the end so there is no benefit to paying at the end as that is what is expected.  This is different from a sale where money is generally paid from the beginning.  Some rabbis each try to explain cases from their business practices explaining how they justify that they charge a higher rate to those who pay at a later date.  If a buyer pays only part of the money and says he will pay the rest later, what happens in the interim period?  Can either side eat the produce?  A braita is brought which explains that there are 4 possible options – depending on what the wording of the agreement was.