Among the many civil and monetary laws in this week's parsha is the Torah's first mention of the prohibition against taking interest: "When you lend money to My people (ki tilveh es ami), to the poor person who is with you, do not act toward him as a creditor; do not lay interest upon him." [Shmos 22:24]

Homiletically, the Kotzker Rebbe offers an insight into this pasuk [verse] that differs from the p'shuto shel mikra [simple interpretation].

We learn in Pirkei Avos [Ethics of the Fathers]: "When a person dies he is not accompanied by his wealth or by his jewelry or by his precious stones, only by his Torah and his good deeds" [Avos 6:9]. This Mishnah expresses a truth with which we are all familiar -- "You can't take it with you." This idea is one of the recurring themes of the Book of Koheles, which deals at length with the futilities of this world. With that in mind, the Kotzker Rebbe gives a Chassidic insight into this pasuk.

The word 'Tilveh' which means 'lend' can also (by changing the vowels) be read 'Tilaveh' which means escort. The reading then is "If there is any type of money that will escort My people (to the World to Come) it is the money given to the poor person with you (as charity and kindness). That is the only type of money that will accompany a person to the next world.

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