Lending Money

"If you lend money to My people, the poor among you"Exodus 22:24.

We are commanded to lend money to the impoverished, in order to help relieve them and ease their burden. This mitzvah is even greater than that of giving charity; for one who has already reached the point where he has to openly ask people for money is less bothered and pained by [having to ask for assistance] than one who has not yet reached this level. He therefore needs assistance to keep his situation from being known and reaching such a level.

Demanding Payment of a Loan from a Destitute Borrower

"You shall not be to him as a creditor"Exodus 22:24.

It is forbidden to demand payment of a debt from a borrower if the lender is aware that the borrower has not the means to repay. It is even forbidden for the lender to pass before the borrower [lest his presence, and therefore the acute awareness that he owes him money, shame him].

Demanding repayment of a debt that includes interest is also included in this prohibition.