Collateral may not be taken from a widow, whether she is rich or poor, whether it is taken at the time the loan is given, or after the time the loan is given, as Deuteronomy 24:17 states: "You shall not take the garment of a widow as collateral." This prohibition applies even when the court would supervise the matter.

If a creditor takes such collateral, it must be returned, even against his will. If the widow admits the debt, she must pay. If she denies its existence, she must take an oath. If the security the creditor took became lost or was consumed by fire before he returns it, he is punished by lashes.


אַלְמָנָה בֵּין שֶׁהִיא עֲנִיָּה בֵּין שֶׁהִיא עֲשִׁירָה אֵין מְמַשְׁכְּנִין אוֹתָהּ לֹא בִּשְׁעַת הַלְוָאָה וְלֹא שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת הַלְוָאָה וְלֹא עַל פִּי בֵּית דִּין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד יז) "וְלֹא תַחֲבל בֶּגֶד אַלְמָנָה". וְאִם חָבַל מַחֲזִירִין מִמֶּנּוּ בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ. וְאִם תּוֹדֶה לוֹ תְּשַׁלֵּם וְאִם תִּכְפֹּר תִּשָּׁבַע. אָבַד הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן אוֹ נִשְׂרַף קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּחְזִיר לוֹקֶה:


Similarly, whenever a person lends money to a colleague - whether he offers the loan in exchange for collateral, he takes collateral after the loan was given, or the collateral was given him by the court - he should not take utensils that are used for making food - e.g., a mill, kneading troughs, large cooking pots, a knife used for ritual slaughter or the like - as Deuteronomy 24:6 says: "Do not take as collateral... for one is taking a life as collateral."

If a creditor takes such collateral, it must be returned, even against his will. If the security he took became lost or was consumed by fire before the creditor returns it, he is punished by lashes.


וְכֵן הַמַּלְוֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בֵּין שֶׁהִלְוָהוּ עַל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן בֵּין שֶׁמִּשְׁכְּנוֹ אַחַר הַלְוָאָה בְּיָדוֹ אוֹ עַל פִּי בֵּית דִּין לֹא יַחֲבל כֵּלִים שֶׁעוֹשִׂין בָּהֶם אֹכֶל נֶפֶשׁ כְּגוֹן הָרֵחָיִם וְהָעֲרֵבוֹת שֶׁל עֵץ וְיוֹרוֹת שֶׁמְּבַשְּׁלִין בָּהֶם וְסַכִּין שֶׁל שְׁחִיטָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד ו) "כִּי נֶפֶשׁ הוּא חֹבֵל". וְאִם חָבַל מַחְזִיר בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ וְאִם אָבַד הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן אוֹ נִשְׂרַף קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּחְזִיר לוֹקֶה:


When a person takes several utensils that are used to produce food - e.g., he took a kneading trough, a pot and a knife - he is liable for each utensil independently. Even if he took two utensils that are used for the same activity, he is liable for taking two utensils and is given lashes for taking each of them.

This is implied by the verse cited above, which mentions taking "a lower millstone and an upper millstone." This indicates that he is liable for each of the millstones independently. Just as the upper millstone and the lower millstone are two utensils that serve a single purpose, and the person is liable for each one independently; so, too, a person is liable for any other two utensils independently even though they serve the same purpose. Similarly, if he takes as collateral a yoke for oxen that plow, he is liable for two transgressions.


חָבַל כֵּלִים הַרְבֵּה שֶׁל אֹכֶל נֶפֶשׁ כְּגוֹן שֶׁחָבַל עֲרֵבָה וְיוֹרָה וְסַכִּין חַיָּב עַל כָּל כְּלִי וּכְלִי בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. אֲפִלּוּ שְׁנֵי כֵּלִים שֶׁהֵן עוֹשִׂין מְלָאכָה אַחַת חַיָּב עֲלֵיהֶן מִשּׁוּם שְׁנֵי כֵּלִים וְלוֹקֶה שְׁתַּיִם עַל שְׁנֵיהֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד ו) "לֹא יַחֲבל רֵחַיִם וָרָכֶב" לְחַיֵּב עַל הָרֵחַיִם בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וְעַל הָרֶכֶב בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהָרֶכֶב וְהָרֵחַיִם מְיֻחָדִין שֶׁהֵן שְׁנֵי כֵּלִים וּמְשַׁמְּשִׁין מְלָאכָה אַחַת וְחַיָּב עַל זֶה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וְעַל זֶה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ כָּךְ כָּל שְׁנֵי כֵּלִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְּשַׁמְּשִׁין מְלָאכָה אַחַת חַיָּב עַל זֶה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וְעַל זֶה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. וְכֵן אִם חָבַל צֶמֶד בָּקָר הַחוֹרֵשׁ לוֹקֶה שְׁתַּיִם:


When a person gives a loan to a colleague - whether the borrower is rich or poor - he should not take security himself. Instead, he should charge the court with this responsibility.

Moreover, even an agent of the court who comes to collect security should not enter the borrower's house to collect the security. Instead, he should stand outside. The borrower should go into his own house and bring out the security for him, as Deuteronomy 24:11 states: "You shall stand outside."

If so, one might ask: What is the difference between the creditor himself and the agent of the court? The agent of the court may take the security from the borrower by force and give it to the lender. The creditor himself, by contrast, may not take the security unless it is willingly given him by the borrower.

If the creditor transgressed and entered the house of the borrower and took security, or took collateral away from him by force, he is not punished by lashes. The rationale is that the prohibition can be corrected by the performance of a positive commandment, as Ibid.: 13 states: "You shall certainly return the security to him before the setting of the sun."

If he did not fulfill the positive commandment concerning it - e.g., the collateral became lost or was consumed by fire - he is punished by lashes. In such an instance, the creditor should calculate the value of the collateral, subtract it from the debt, and lodge a suit for the remainder.


הַמַּלְוֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ [אֶחָד] עָנִי וְאֶחָד עָשִׁיר לֹא יְמַשְׁכְּנֶנּוּ אֶלָּא בְּבֵית דִּין וַאֲפִלּוּ שְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין שֶׁבָּא לְמַשְׁכֵּן לֹא יִכָּנֵס לְבֵיתוֹ וִימַשְׁכְּנֶנּוּ אֶלָּא עוֹמֵד בַּחוּץ וְהַלּוֶֹה נִכְנָס לְבֵיתוֹ וּמוֹצִיא לוֹ הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד יא) "בַּחוּץ תַּעֲמֹד". אִם כֵּן מַה בֵּין בַּעַל חוֹב לִשְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין. שֶׁשְּׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין יֵשׁ לוֹ לִקַּח הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן מִיַּד הַלּוֶֹה בִּזְרוֹעַ וְנוֹתְנוֹ לַמַּלְוֶה וּבַעַל חוֹב אֵין לוֹ לִקַּח הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן עַד שֶׁיִּתֵּן לוֹ הַלּוֶֹה מִדַּעְתּוֹ. עָבַר בַּעַל חוֹב וְנִכְנַס לְבֵית הַלּוֶֹה וּמִשְׁכְּנוֹ אוֹ שֶׁחָטַף הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן מִיָּדוֹ בִּזְרוֹעַ אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי נִתַּק לַעֲשֵׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד יג) "הָשֵׁב תָּשִׁיב לוֹ אֶת הַעֲבוֹט כְּבוֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ". וְאִם לֹא קִיֵּם עֲשֵׂה שֶׁבָּהּ כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָבַד הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן אוֹ נִשְׂרַף לוֹקֶה. וּמְחַשֵּׁב דְּמֵי הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן וְתוֹבֵעַ הַשְּׁאָר בְּדִין:


When a person takes collateral from a colleague, whether through the medium of the court, or he personally takes it from him either by force or by consent of the lender he is not always entitled to maintain possession. If the borrower is poor and the creditor took as collateral an article that the borrower needs, he is commanded to return the collateral to the borrower at the time that the borrower needs it. For example, he should return a pillow at night for him to sleep on it and a plow during the day for him to work with. This is implied by Deuteronomy 24:13: "You must certainly return the collateral."

If the creditor transgressed and did not return to him a utensil to be used by day during the day, or a utensil to be used at night during the night, he transgresses a negative commandment, as ibid.:12 states: "Do not sleep with his collateral." This means: "Do not go to sleep while his collateral is in your possession"; this refers to a garment worn at night. With regard to articles that he wears or uses to perform work during the day, Exodus 22:25 states: "Until the setting of the sun, return it to him" - this teaches that he must return it to him throughout the day.

If the creditor must return the collateral to the debtor when he needs it, and may take it only when he does not need it, of what benefit is the collateral to him?

a) So that the debt will not be nullified in the Sabbatical year;

b) So that the collateral will not be considered part of the movable property inherited by the debtor's sons. Instead, the creditor may take payment from the collateral after the borrower dies.

Thus, a person who takes an object as collateral from a poor person who needs it and fails to return it at the appropriate time violates three commandments: "You shall not enter his house," "You must certainly return the collateral," and "Do not sleep with his collateral."

When does the above apply? When he took the collateral at a time other than the time the loan was given. If, however, he took the collateral from the debtor at the time the loan was given, he does not transgress these prohibitions.


אֶחָד הַמְמַשְׁכֵּן אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּבֵית דִּין אוֹ שֶׁמִּשְׁכְּנוֹ בְּיָדוֹ בִּזְרוֹעַ אוֹ מִדַּעַת הַלּוֶֹה אִם אִישׁ עָנִי הוּא וּמִשְׁכְּנוֹ דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְצֻוֶּה לְהַחְזִיר לוֹ הָעֲבוֹט בְּעֵת שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לוֹ. מַחְזִיר לוֹ אֶת הַכַּר בַּלַּיְלָה כְּדֵי לִישֹׁן עָלָיו וְאֶת הַמַּחְרֵשָׁה בַּיּוֹם כְּדֵי לַעֲשׂוֹת בָּהּ מְלַאכְתּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד יג) "הָשֵׁב תָּשִׁיב לוֹ אֶת הַעֲבוֹט". עָבַר וְלֹא הֵשִׁיב לוֹ כְּלִי הַיּוֹם בַּיּוֹם וּכְלִי הַלַּיְלָה בַּלַּיְלָה עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד יב) "לֹא תִשְׁכַּב בַּעֲבֹטוֹ" לֹא תִּשְׁכַּב וַעֲבוֹטוֹ אֶצְלְךָ זוֹ כְּסוּת לַיְלָה. וּבְכֵלִים שֶׁהוּא עוֹשֶׂה בָּהֶן מְלַאכְתּוֹ בַּיּוֹם אוֹ לוֹבְשָׁן הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמות כב כה) "עַד בֹּא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ תְּשִׁיבֶנּוּ לוֹ" מְלַמֵּד שֶׁיַּחֲזִירוֹ כָּל הַיּוֹם. אִם כֵּן הוּא שֶׁמַּחְזִיר לוֹ הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן בְּעֵת שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לוֹ וְלוֹקֵחַ אוֹתָהּ בְּעֵת שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לוֹ מַה יּוֹעִיל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן. כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׁמֵט הַחוֹב בִּשְׁבִיעִית וְלֹא יֵעָשֶׂה מִטַּלְטְלִין אֵצֶל בָּנָיו אֶלָּא יִפָּרַע מִן הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן אַחַר שֶׁמֵּת הַלּוֶֹה. הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁהַמְמַשְׁכֵּן אֶת הֶעָנִי דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לוֹ וְלֹא הֶחֱזִירוֹ לוֹ בִּזְמַנּוֹ עוֹבֵר מִשּׁוּם שְׁלֹשָׁה שֵׁמוֹת מִשּׁוּם (דברים כד י) "לֹא תָבֹא אֶל בֵּיתוֹ" וּמִשּׁוּם "הָשֵׁב תָּשִׁיב לוֹ אֶת הַעֲבוֹט" וּמִשּׁוּם "לֹא תִשְׁכַּב בַּעֲבֹטוֹ". בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁמִּשְׁכְּנוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת הַלְוָאָתוֹ. אֲבָל אִם מִשְׁכְּנוֹ בִּשְׁעַת הַלְוָאָתוֹ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר כְּלָל וְאֵינוֹ עוֹבֵר בְּשֵׁם מִן הַשֵּׁמוֹת הָאֵלּוּ:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


An agent of the court who comes to take collateral should not take articles that a person cannot give as collateral - e.g., the garment he is wearing, the utensils with which he eats, or the like. He should leave a bed and a mattress for a rich man, or a bed and a straw mattress for a poor man. Whatever possessions the debtor has besides these should be taken as collateral. The creditor will then return to him an article used by day during the day, and an article used at night during the night.

If the debtor has two of a particular article, the creditor may take one, but must return the other.

Until when is the creditor obligated to return the collateral and then take it again? Forever. If, however, the collateral was an article that the debtor did not need, nor an article that is left for a debtor, the creditor must keep it for 30 days. Afterwards, he may sell the collateral in a court of law.

If the debtor dies, the creditor is not required to return the collateral to his sons. If the debtor dies after the collateral was returned to him, the creditor may pull it away from his sons and does not have to return it to them.


שְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין שֶׁבָּא לְמַשְׁכֵּן לֹא יְמַשְׁכֵּן דְּבָרִים שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לָאָדָם לִתֵּן אוֹתָם מַשְׁכּוֹן כְּגוֹן בֶּגֶד שֶׁעָלָיו וּכְלִי שֶׁאוֹכֵל בּוֹ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ. וּמַנִּיחַ מִטָּה וּמַצָּע לֶעָשִׁיר וּמִטָּה וּמַפָּץ לֶעָנִי. וְכָל הַנִּמְצָא בְּיָדוֹ חוּץ מֵאֵלּוּ יֵשׁ לוֹ לְמַשְׁכְּנוֹ וְיַחְזִיר לוֹ כְּלִי הַיּוֹם בַּיּוֹם וּכְלִי הַלַּיְלָה בַּלַּיְלָה. הָיוּ לְפָנָיו שְׁנֵי כֵּלִים נוֹטֵל אֶחָד וּמַחֲזִיר אֶחָד. עַד מָתַי הוּא חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר וְלִקַּח עַד לְעוֹלָם. וְאִם הָיָה הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן מִדְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לָהֶם וְאֵין מַנִּיחִין אוֹתָן לַלּוֶֹה הֲרֵי זֶה מַנִּיחוֹ אֶצְלוֹ עַד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם וּמִשְּׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם וְאֵילָךְ מוֹכֵר הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן בְּבֵית דִּין. מֵת הַלּוֶֹה אֵינוֹ מַחְזִיר לְבָנָיו. מֵת הַלּוֶֹה אַחַר שֶׁהֵשִׁיב לוֹ הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן שׁוֹמְטוֹ הַמַּלְוֶה מֵעַל בָּנָיו וְאֵינוֹ מַחְזִיר:


A creditor may take collateral from a guarantor by force. He may enter the guarantor's house and take the collateral, as Proverbs 20:16 states: "Take his garment, because he guaranteed a stranger."

Similarly, a person who is owed a fee by a colleague - whether it be his own wages, a fee for his animal or his utensils, or rent for his house - may take collateral without consulting the court. He may enter his home and take collateral in lieu of his fee. If, however, he considered the fee as a loan, this is forbidden, as implied by Deuteronomy 24:10: "When you extend a loan of any type...."


הֶעָרֵב מֻתָּר לְמַשְׁכֵּן בִּזְרוֹעַ וּלְהִכָּנֵס לְבֵיתוֹ וְלִטּל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי כ טז) "לְקַח בִּגְדוֹ כִּי עָרַב זָר". וְכֵן מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ שָׂכָר אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ בֵּין שְׂכַר מְלַאכְתּוֹ בֵּין שְׂכַר בְּהֶמְתּוֹ וְכֵלָיו בֵּין שְׂכַר בֵּיתוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְמַשְׁכְּנוֹ שֶׁלֹּא עַל פִּי בֵּית דִּין וְנִכְנָס לְבֵיתוֹ וְנוֹטֵל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן בִּשְׂכָרוֹ. וְאִם זָקַף עָלָיו הַשָּׂכָר בְּמִלְוֶה אָסוּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד י) "כִּי תַשֶּׁה בְרֵעֲךָ מַשַּׁאת מְאוּמָה" וְגוֹ':


The following rules apply with regard to a person who has in his possession collateral belonging to a poor person. If the fee for the rental of that article is more than the depreciation of the collateral - e.g., an ax, a large saw, or the like - it is permitted for him to rent it out and continually deduct the money he receives as its fee. This is like returning a lost object to its owner. He need not ask the owner for permission.


מִי שֶׁהָיָה בְּיָדוֹ מַשְׁכּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עָנִי אִם הָיָה שְׂכָרוֹ יָתֵר עַל פְּחָתוֹ כְּגוֹן קַרְדֹּם וּמַסַּר [הַגָּדוֹל] וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְהַשְׂכִּירוֹ וּמְנַכֶּה שְׂכָרוֹ תָּמִיד בְּחוֹבוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁזֶּה כְּמֵשִׁיב אֲבֵדָה וְאֵין צָרִיךְ רְשׁוּת בְּעָלִים: