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Rav Kanievsky’s Story: “The Soul of Your Borrower Reincarnated in a Donkey”

Published on Sunday March 29th, 2020

Rav Chaim Kanievsky recommends that money lenders never keep unpaid loan documents handy. The Arizal writes that when a man dies, leaving debts in this world, he not only is forced to return in a Gilgul (reincarnation of souls), but his creditor too will have to reincarnate to be reimbursed by his borrower. Therefore, it is critical never to leave unpaid loans and letters of debt in lending societies, a/k/a G’mach (money-loan fund). This is how Rav Kanievsky justifies his remarks.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky reported a fascinating story on this subject, which occurred at the time of the Arizal.

"Once, the Arizal was invited to a wealthy man’s home. Suddenly, “out of nowhere”, he made an unusual request to his host. He asked the master of the house if he could visit his stable. The surprised rich man pointed out to his guest how to get to his stable. The Arizal observed both sides of the stable attentively and pointed to one of the donkeys. "Would you agree to give me that donkey?" He asked the owner of the stable.

"Do you want that donkey in particular?", replied the surprised rich man. "I will not be able to give it to you, it is very hard-working and achieves the workload of several donkeys, so I get much benefit from it." The Arizal was silent and returned to the rich man's living room. Then he asked him to show him a list of all the loans he had extended. The rich man took out a large pile of contracts. "This is the act of my Jewish neighbor, this one is of so-and-so, a notable from a neighboring city who recently ran into financial difficulties."

The Arizal then pointed to a crumpled piece of paper: "To whom does this one belong?" he asked his host. "To a Jew who passed away a long time ago. No chance that this sum of money will ever be reimbursed."

"Would you agree to give me this act as a gift?", asked the Arizal. The rich man shrugged his shoulders and exclaimed, "Why not?"

The Arizal took the piece of paper and tore it into pieces. "Now, go check on your donkey". The owner did just that and came back stunned, "The donkey is dead. I don’t know what happened. It was the best and strongest of all animals in my possession", he exclaimed.

"Know," said the Arizal, "that this donkey reincarnated the soul of the person who died before he was able to reimburse your loan. It was decreed from Heaven that his soul return to reimburse his debt. Now that you have forgiven him, his contrite soul has gone back to heaven and found peace at last."

Rav Kanievsky recounted this story to highlight the obligation to be extra vigilant concerning issues related to theft and the importance of reimbursing loans.

The Torah-Box Team - © Torah-Box

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