Project Genesis

Charging Interest to Non-Jews

Question: If usury is a deadly sin, an injustice and an obvious manifestation of human greed (Ezekiel 18:8; Psalm 14:5), why are the Jews forbidden to sin against each-other and allowed to sin against the non-Jews Deuteronomy 23:19-20)? Is Jewish justice and morals determined by racial and ethnic factors?

Answer: Not racial or ethnic but religious. The general attitude of the Torah is that usury is morally OK, but in order to create a religious fellowship among Jews, we are told to lend to each other freely without interest. The prophets sometimes chastised us for not fulfilling the Mitzvah of lending freely to each other, to create that fellowship. Hope that’s helpful.

All the Best,
Rabbi Azriel Schreiber

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