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Tevet 29, 5774

Heter Iska


Rabbi Moshe Leib Halberstadt

Question:
I had no choice almost a year ago to have a frum wealthy business man help me save my home once again from foreclosure technically the need for help was only because as a laywer he never responded in an timely manner ie vanished o/s for a month and then the bank no longer wanted arrears they demanded the lot. When this help reappeared he got me a loan with very high interest it has so far cost me $50k so far as I cant see this as helpfull I thought i best check out the heter iska just be sure its all kosher and Ive been told by 4 Dayanim its not valid. Please tell me what I should do now as he must of known it wasnt the real deal and now Im breaking jewish law that I do try very hard to live by,all the papers I stupidly signed only have the word interest everywhere,not "profit "as one would imagine the word would change to,Im accountable for his wrong doing?
lease advise thankyou,
K.

Answer:
I understand that you were in a very difficult situation and under pressure when you signed the documents without checking whether they actually meet the requirements of Jewish law. But in any case a person is responsible for his actions, as we see that one who sins unintentionally is also considered a sinner as it says: "If a person sins unintentionally" (Leviticus 4, 2. - See the reason in Michtav Me'Eliyahu Part A page 189).

And as soon as he discovers that things were done not in accordance Jewish law, he must take action to correct it immediately and do everything according to Jewish law.

At the same time he should repent according to the ways of repentance detailed in Maimonides Laws of Repentance (2,2); which are leaving the sin, regret, confession and taking upon himself to never return to this sin again.


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