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Forgiving a debt

Rabbi Jonathan Blass18 Tammuz 5763
318
Question
Hi, I have a guy who borrowed a car from me some time ago for a daily rate of $XX. He gave me a document which states how much he owes me and for how many days. There were no witnesses. While using the car he got several parking tickets and never paid for them. Now he’s got financial problems and he refuses to pay for renting the car as well as for the tickets. What should I do in this case? We’re not so close friends, but I am compationate about his troubles and can’t really ask for money from him. Should I just hefker the document he gave me and annul his debt to me for the car and for tickets? Should I go to Beis-Din and try to make him keep his promise? What aveira is he commiting by not paying his debt? Am I doing something wrong? Thanks a lot. P.S. I know I should have asked my rabbi about it, but he was the one who introduced me to this guy and I dont want to make him feel uncomfortable.
Answer
All of your options are open. You are within your rights to demand payment in a Beit Din that will, if it recognizes your claim, arrange a schedule of payment that can be met. You can on your own reach an arrangement with the person you feel owes you money to defer his payment. Or you can waive payment entirely and if he is truly impoverished see it as an act of charity.There is a Torah obligation requiring a debtor to repay his debt. If he is penniless, he is unable to meet this obligation just as there are other mitzvot he will not be able to keep because he has no money.
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