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The Jewish people tried to work around some of the commands of the Torah that could not be practically enforced once the Jewish nation was no longer sovereign. One of those commands was the Sabbath Year. All debts were to be cancelled, but, under Roman rule, this could not work economically for the Jews. So they understood that whatever was borrowed would be paid back, but, in order to avoid violating the Sabbath year remission of debts, they would pay it back as a "gift." The wording of the payback as a "gift’ was so important that they could force someone to use the proper wording, as stated in the Talmud:

Gittin 37b

If a man repays another money which he owes him in the seventh year, the other should say to him, I remit it.1 If the debtor then says, ’All the same [take it]’, he may take it from him. [This rule is based on] the text, Now this is the word2 of the release.3 Rabbah said: The creditor may tie him up4 till he says so. Abaye raised an objection [from the following]: When [the debtor] offers him the money he should not say, This is in payment of my debt, but, ’It is my [money] and I make you a present of it’? — Rabbah replied: Yes; he ties him up until he says so.

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