Now that the magnitude of the mitzvah of giving loans has been explained, it is necessary to detail the obligations of the borrower.
Our Sages taught: “Paying off a debt is a mitzvah” (Kesubos 86a), so one cannot excuse himself from keeping this mitzvah just as he cannot exempt himself from other mitzvos, such as Sukkah, Shofar or Tefillin. One who refrains from paying back his debts, transgresses the Torah’s prohibition of You shall not cheat your fellow (Vayikra 19:13).
The Sages also said that there are four types of people who are called “wicked,” and one of them is a person who borrows but does not pay back. How ashamed one should be with himself if he knows that he has the ability to pay his debt yet he does not, thereby giving himself the label of a “wicked person.” Even if he can cover up his deeds in front of other people, but in front of Hashem everything is open and He knows the degree of the person’s iniquity.
One should also be aware of the fact that money that belongs to others which he sinfully withholds will never bring the person success. It is thus written, One who amasses wealth unjustly, in the middle of his days it will leave him (Yirmiyah 17:11). Not only that, but that non-kosher money will also destroy the kosher money that he has, as our Sages said: “If you take that which is not yours, then yours will be taken from you” (Derech Eretz Zuta).
But one who guards himself to behave only in accord with justice, is counted among those who hasten the salvation of Hashem for Israel, as it is written, Observe justice and perform righteousness, for My salvation is soon to come and My righteousness to be revealed (Yeshayah 56a).