Pressuring an employer to pay one’s salary, and pressuring a renter to pay rent

Pressuring an employer to pay one’s salary, and pressuring a renter to pay rent:

Some Poskim[1] rule that the above prohibition against pressuring a person who owes one money, at a time that he does not have the ability to pay, only applies if the person borrowed the money. However, if one is owed money for other reasons that are not under the circumstances of a loan, then one may pressure them to pay him, even if the debtor currently does not have the means to pay. [The pressure will force the debtor to either borrow money to pay what he owes, or get a job.[2]] This allowance would include any of the following cases:

  • One worked as an employee and his employer owes him a salary.
  • Someone stole money from him, and he needs to pay him back.
  • One is owed money for rent of a property or item.

Nevertheless, even in the above cases of debt, it is proper not to pressure the person to pay if one knows he does not have the ability to do so.[3]

Zakfan Alav Bemilveh-The law if the debt became the status of a loan:[4] The above alowance to pressure the debtor only applies if the debt did not become the status of a loan. If, however, the debt was reinsured into a loan [i.e. Zakfan Alav Bemilveh] then from the letter of the law it follows the same laws as all debts due to loans, and it becomes forbidden for one to pressure him to pay if he truly has no means to do so, as stated above in Halacha 4. [Practically, as soon as the final due date arrives, and the employer or renter has still not paid his obligations, the owed money’s become a debt.[5] Some say, however, that it becomes a debt as soon as one makes a calculation of the total amount he is owed.[6]]

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[1] Kesef Kedoshim 97:2 “A debt that is due to rent and the like, and not due to a loan, is not under the above prohibition” See Admur Halva 14 that regarding entering the home to take a Mashkon, that by a debt that is not due to a loan, it is permitted to do so. See Sefer Chevel Nachalaso 9:49 for a discussion on this matter, and that Rav Chaim Kanievsky is of the opinion that one does transgress the Biblical prohibition even by a debtor of a salary or rent.

[2] See Admur Halvah 5; Michaber 97:15

[3] Kesef Kedoshim ibid

[4] See Admur Halva 14; Rambam Malveh 3:13; Braisa Bava Metzia 115a; Sifri 142

[5] Admur Halva 39; Rama 67:17; Aruch Hashulchan 67:8

[6] Admur ibid

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