To Lend or Not To Lend Books?

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Reading is a virtue, but tradition is divided on the relative merits of borrowing, lending, and purchasing books.

In Judaism, it is often considered a great virtue to lend Jewish books. Some sages of the Talmud interpreted the verse “Happy are they that do righteousness” (Psalms 106:3) as referring to those who write books and lend them. Rabbi Yehuda ha-Hasid of Regensburg in the 13th century taught that the reward for those who lend books to their students in the world to come which will be as great as if they themselves had studied from those texts since they were the vehicles who enabled knowledge to be learned by the borrowers. Continue reading

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