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What is Ribbis Derech Mekach?

Rav Yosef Kushner

Question: I have heard the term ribbis derech mekach used quite a bit. What does it mean?

Answer:  To preface, it is important to know that the laws of ribbis are very complicated and a comprehensive explanation of all the variables is beyond the scope of these shiurim. The goal of these segments is simply to create an awareness of various issues so that people will know how to spot potential concerns that they should discuss with a competent halachic authority. 

Having said that, in my opinion, ribbis derech mekach is the application of ribbis that is most important to discuss. 

In general, people are aware that transactions in the form of a loan may be subject to ribbis issues. They know that they should ask a shailah if they are getting involved with a loan wherein the payment will be more than the amount of money that was lent. However, ribbis derech mekach is when a ribbis transaction is in the form of a business deal or purchase, and many people are unaware that ribbis issues could come into play at all. For this reason, it is important to discuss the laws of ribbis derech mekach, so that people will gain an awareness of the fact that business transactions and the like could be problematic and will know when they should be asking shailos.

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