448. Interest of Words

65:9 If the borrower was not in the habit of greeting the lender first, he must not start greeting him first now. He may likewise not give the lender any honors in the synagogue or honor him in any way beyond what was normal before the loan. Similarly, any type of interest through speech is forbidden, as per Deuteronomy 23:20, “interest of any thing that one might take,” which includes words. (The word “davar” in the verse, meaning “thing,” also means “word.”) The lender must also be on guard against the interest of words. For example, if he asked the borrower to tell him when a certain person arrives, if he was not in the habit of doing so before the loan but he does so now because the borrower is obligated to him. Proverbs 22:7 tells us, “a borrower is the servant of his lender,” but that only applies to a financial dispute; if the borrower and the lender disagree about where to have their case litigated, the borrower must defer to the lender’s desire to go to a lower local court and he cannot compel the lender to travel in order to go to a higher court.

65:10 The lender is not permitted to derive any type of benefit from the borrower that he did not enjoy before the loan was extended. For example, if the borrower does not normally give the lender business, starting to do so because of the loan is forbidden as a form of interest.