Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/54
Paragraph 1- If one paid back a portion of his debt and the lender so desires, the court will create a document for him of the remainder that the borrower owes him. They will write the new document with the original date, but not with the original witnesses on the document even if the borrower consents. Following the date of repayment, however, the witnesses can make another document with the consent of the borrower. If the lender wants, they will write a receipt for him. The lender must pay the cost of having the scribe write the receipt. If the lender does not have a document and the borrower asks for a receipt, the borrower must pay the cost.
Paragraph 2- If one comes to pay back his loan and the lender says he lost the document, the borrower may not say that he will not pay back until the lender returns the document. Rather, the lender will write a receipt for him and the borrower will pay back the entire debt. The borrower does have the power to place a general cherem on anyone who hides a document and claims that it is lost. If the borrower claims with certainty that the document is in the lender’s possession and that the lender is leaving it in his wallet, the lender must take a heses oath that he lost the document. Following the oath, the borrower will pay the debt and the receipt will be written.
Paragraph 3- If the lender says he does not have the document in his possession right now but it is in another city and he will write a receipt, there are those that say that we do not listen to him because the document is in existence so the borrower does not have to pay back until the lender returns the document. All the more so would the borrower not be required to pay back until the document is returned in a case where the lender has the document in his possession and does not want to return it. Even if the borrower swore to pay back he would be exempt from complying with the oath. If the lender says to pay him back first and then he will return the document and the borrower says to first return the document and then he’ll pay him, the borrower is in the right. It seems to me that if the lender does not trust the borrower he may give the document to a third party until the repayment has been completed. If one owes another a maneh in a document and confesses to 50 but has a claim on the other 50 and the possessor of the document says to give him the 50 the borrower admits to and he will bring a proof for the other 50 and the defendant says that he is not paying anything back until the lender returns the document, if the plaintiff has the ability to bring his proofs now and proceed with the case with the defendant, then the defendant is in the right. If, however, it is impossible for the lender to bring his proofs now or be judged now, as determined by the court, and there is no trickery involved or where the court needs to be patient in ruling, the plaintiff is in the right and the borrower must pay what he admits to immediately and the lender will provide a receipt. If a document states that it shall remain in force so long as it has not been torn up with a tear of the court and does not contain a confirmation of repayment on the document, a receipt would still be effective. When writing a receipt, if they recall the date of the document, they would write “receipt on the document dated such and such.” If they do not recall the date, they would simply write “on the document whose amount was such and such” and they would not write a date on the receipt lest the witnesses postdated the date of the loan in the document, which may result in the date of receipt preceding the date of the document and the lender will produce the later loan document and collect with it. Therefore, witnesses should not write a date in the receipt unless they remember the date of the loan. A receipt that simply says, “so and so paid back so and so” nullifies that any document that the lender has against the borrower. Similarly, if a borrower has witnesses that so and so has a repaid document in his possession, such so and so would not be able to produce a document against the borrower and say that it was a different document that was paid back. Rather, all of this lender’s document have the status of being repaid.
Paragraph 4- If the document and receipt are dated for the same day, the law was explained in 43:26.
Paragraph 5- If the receipt just says “dinarim,” it nullifies any document that has dinar in it. If, however, it says “such and such dinarim” and the amount was erased or if the amount was written on erasure and was not verified, we would judge it as if it had the lowest possible amount under that language.