Nov 26, 2008

Yated, interest rates, and headlines..

This week, the Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fisher lowered interest rates to an unprecedented low of 2.5%.

I happened to see the Yated Ne'eman yesterday and their article on the matter stood out. Instea of using the usual terminology in the headline, they worded it differently.

The common word used when discussing interest rates is "Ribbis".

The Yated chose not to use the word "ribbis", but used the words "Sha'ar Ha'Ashrai" - the rate of credit.

Just as accurate, but it does not use the word that the Torah says is prohibited from transacting in...

Being that hetter iskas are in place, it seems interest is permissible, so I am not sure why there is a need to avoid the word... but I guess they have a certain sensitivity to using names of things that are prohibited...


  1. The term "ribbis" is not correct in this context. Ribbis is money which is given as interest. "Sha'ar Ha'Ashrai" is the rate at which ribbis is determined.

    It's the difference between the price of an item, and the money which is actually transacted.

  2. so you are saying the yated was more accurate than the rest of the media?

    or are you saying the supposed problem of using the word "ribbis" is unfounded because the prohibition of "ribbis" is not the same as the term "ribbis" as it is being used in this context?

  3. As far as I can tell, the word Ribbis is not accurate here. In America the financial media speaks about the "federal funds rate", but the general media reports the "interest rate". The difference is that this is not the interest rate paid by you or me (although it helps to determine it), but is (at least in America), the rate at which the central bank lends money to banks


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