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Ribbis: Matters Of Interest

Ribbis: Matters of Interest

TIPPING FOR DELAYS

Fischel has been tutoring Dan, a local Jewish boy. Dan’s father arranged to pay Fischel at the end of the year. However, at the end of the year Dan’s father experienced a cash flow shortage and asked Fischel to wait a few days to be paid.

On the appointed day, Dan’s father paid Fischel what he owed, and threw in a few extra dollars as a tip for the great work Fischel had been doing with Dan. May Fischel accept the tip?

If Dan’s father had offered the tip as compensation for the delay in payment, may Fischel accept?

Fischel should not accept the tip. The reason for this is that since the payment period has passed, the money owed to Fischel is viewed as a loan and the extra as ribbis.

It is possible, however, that if Fischel clearly expended extra effort when teaching Dan, he may accept the tip for his additional efforts. One must ask a shailah to be sure.

If the tip was offered for the delay it is only more reason to forbid accepting the tip.

Another option to avoid this issue is for Fischel to teach Dan some more on the day of payment. We then view the work as “ongoing,” never having achieved loan status, and the additional money as a larger payment.

All this would not be an issue if Dan’s father had paid on time, since then it would not have become a loan, rather would be viewed simply a payment.

This would also allow the addition of a tip, since the tip would be viewed simply as a larger payment. This is obviously the simplest solution, though not always viable.