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Who Takes Precedence When Giving a Loan? 


Rav Yitzchok Grossman , Rosh Kollel of Greater Washington and Dayan at the Bais HaVaad


Question: There are typically two types of loans: loans given to poor people who need the money to live, and loans given to people of means who need liquid assets at the moment. Is the mitzvah of lending money only applicable when one is lending to a poor person, or does one also get a mitzvah when he lends to a rich person? 

Answer: The halacha is that there is a mitzvah to lend to a rich person as well. 

Although the pasuk specifically speaks about lending to a poor person, and the Rambam only says that it is a mitzvah to lend to a poor person, the Poskim conclude that lending to a rich person is also a mitzvah


Question: If one is approached by both a rich person and a poor person, and they both ask for a loan, should one give precedence to the poor person? 

Answer:  The Gemara says that since the Torah does specifically mention an ani, a poor person should be given precedence to a rich person.


Question: Does the way the borrower plans to spend this money impact the lender’s requirement to prioritize a poor man over a wealthy one?  

Answer: The Peleh Yoetz says that a poor person only takes precedence if he needs the money for pressing expenses. If he wants to borrow money for luxuries, and a rich man requires a loan to pay a debt that he currently owes, the rich man would take precedence, as he is considered the “poor one” in this instance. 


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