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Daily Mitzvah

Positive Commandment 199; Negative Commandment 240

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Positive Commandment 199 (Digest)
Making Collateral Available to the Debtor when Needed

"As the sun sets, you shall surely return the pledge to him"Deuteronomy 24:13.

A creditor is commanded to return a debt collateral to its Jewish owner when he is in need of it. If the collateral is an item he needs during the daytime – e.g., the tools of his trade or an article of clothing – the creditor must return it to the debtor every day, and only take possession of it during the nighttime. If the collateral is an item needed by night – e.g., linens, blankets or pajamas – he must return it at night and only take possession of it again in the morning.

Negative Commandment 240 (Digest)
Withholding Collateral from the Debtor when it's Needed

"You shall not sleep while holding his security"Deuteronomy 24:12.

It is forbidden for a creditor to withhold a debt's collateral from its owner, the debtor, when he cannot do without it due to his poverty (see Positive Commandment 199). Rather he must return the collateral to him—an item used during the daytime must be returned for the duration of every day, and an item used at night must be returned for the duration of every night. As the Mishnah says, "He must return the pillow at night and the plow for the day."


Translation of (the unabridged text of) Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, member of the Rabbinical Court of Montreal and director of Teacher Training for the Jewish Learning Institute.

From "Sefer Hamitzvot in English," published by Sichos in English.
Daily Quote
Nor does darkness obscure for You; the night shines as the day, darkness is as light
  –Psalms 139:12
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