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I borrowed money from a friend, but we are uncertain if I repaid the debt...

by Rabbi Shalom Hazan


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Although a Jewish Bet Din (court of law) cannot require you to repay this loan -- because there is no plaintiff, it would be proper for you to pay back the full amount of the loan. After all, it is a certainty that a debt existed, and there is doubt whether it was ever resolved.

Source: Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Choshen Mishpat Hilchot Halvaa 31.


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Re: I borrowed money from a friend, but we are uncertain if I repaid the debt...

Posted by: Sparky on Jan 20, 2007

Since they are both uncertain, wouldn't it be appropriate for them to agree on some compromise amount to be paid -- half, say?

I know that when the amount of a debt is disputed, it's a mitzvah for the creditor to accept less, and for the debtor to pay more, than either thinks is owed.

Editor's Comment

There is a principle in Jewish law that an uncertainty cannot remove a certainty. In this case, both are certain that there was a loan. The uncertainty revolves around whether the loan was repaid or not. The uncertainty of the possibility that the loan was already repaid does not remove the certainty that there was in fact a loan. There is NO possibility that only half the loan is owed, although the creditor has the option of excusing the debtor from paying half of the amount. However, a Jewish court could not require the debtor to pay since the creditor does not clearly recall that the debt was not repaid.