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Owe Nothing

Romans 13:8. Owe no man anything, but to love one another, for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

In this retrospective month of Elul, we consider our lives, attitudes and the actions we have made over the last year. This time of year is the month that leads us to Rosh Hashanah, the feats of trumpets and ultimately the last feast of the year, Sukkot, or the feast of Tabernacles. In between the two feasts we find Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. By the time we get to Yom Kippur, we should have made the journey toward repentance or Teshuvah. Repentance toward YHVH and our neighbour, wipes the slate clean. Repentance means that we have through thoughtful consideration and prayer sought to bring our lives into balance by restoring a breach. If we have not lived our lives in the way we should and brought a fracture in our relationship with YHVH and others, we now have the time to do it. Forgiveness must find its way into the cut and heal the rift.

Despite asking for God’s help and grace, in making me a better person, despite asking that I be led away from bad company, decisions, thoughts and actions, I know that my imperfections only go to highlight that I am not perfect. That’s the purpose of them, I suppose.

In my ramble this week, I consider this passage:

Prov 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

The phrase ‘neither a lender nor borrower be,' comes from the William Shakespeare play, Hamlet, Act 1, scene 3, 75–77. In its entirety it reads:

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”

It’s not Bible verse at all.

In Judaism, a lender must not put the borrower under his power. The lender is not to charge interest on a loan to a fellow Israelite.

The loan, ideally, must be paid back as soon as possible, and any loan that exists at the time of the Shemitta and Jubilee years, must be cancelled, and lands must be returned to the owner if they can afford to repurchase. Lev 25:28. This the law of redemption.

This allows both the borrower and the lender to start a new page in their financial lives.