Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Bad Credit

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

He continued on his journey from the Negev toward Bethel, until he reached the spot where his tent had been originally, between Bethel and Ai. (Bereshith 13:3)

The fact that Avraham returned home from Egypt along the same route that he had traveled going there was no coincidence. When he traveled to Egypt, Avraham was forced to lodge on credit, for he lacked the funds to pay for his needs. On his return trip, he made sure to pay all his outstanding debts.(1)

Neglecting to repay a debt may seem to us a petty matter compared to intentional theft, but in practice just the opposite is true. There are preventive actions we can take to protect ourselves and our homes from theft, but if someone fails to repay a debt, the victim can take action only after the fact. Moreover, one who fails to repay a debt shows blatant ingratitude to someone who has done him a favor by extending credit to him. Also, this display of ingratitude (and sometimes deceit) may harm others, for the person who has lost money through giving credit may decide to curtail his policy of extending credit to others in the future.(2)

There was once a student in the yeshivah in Volozhin who had taken ill and needed to travel to his home, accompanied by a fellow student. They lodged at an inn along the way, but when they went to pay their bill, the student who was ill realized that he did not have enough money – he was short a few cents. Giving the innkeeper all that he had, the student promised him that he would send the rest as soon as he returned home. At home, true to his word, he gave his friend the amount he owed and asked him to pay the innkeeper on his return trip to the yeshivah. Unfortunately, the student never recovered, and his friend forgot all about his errand to repay the debt.

Not long after the student died, he appeared before Rav Chaim of Volozhin very late one night, when Rav Chaim was alone in his yeshivah. The student explained to Rav Chaim that the Heavenly Court had granted him a portion in the World to Come, but a prosecuting angel was refusing to allow the decision to be carried out, since the student had left a debt unpaid in this world. Indeed, the student had made an effort to repay it while he was alive, through his friend, but since the debt remained outstanding, he had the status of a thief, and could not claim his eternal reward. Since, however, he had done all that he could to settle the matter before he died, the Court had permitted him to return to this world to ask Rav Chaim to see that the debt was paid. Rav Chaim tended to the matter immediately, and the student was granted entrance into the World to Come.(3)


1. Bereshith Rabbah 41:3.

2. Pele Yo’etz – Gezel

3. Hizharu B’mamon Chavrechem, p. 223-5 in the name of Rav Chaim Volozhin.


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON BAMIDBAR AND SHAVUOS:

View Complete List

A Lesson from a Date
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Take Your Portion in Torah
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

"Get a Spiritual Life"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

> Everyone Counts
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Self-Evident Lessons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

But Who's Counting?
Shlomo Katz - 5772

ArtScroll

The Sotah In Us All
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

A Supernatural Existance
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

There's No Place Like Home
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

What's For Desert?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Jewish Organization, Oxymoron or What?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Dessert, Desert, and Deserters
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

More Than Just Stars and Stripes
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Love Child
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Ah, It's Nothing... Really.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

A Whole Part of the Whole
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information