Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When do I write a prozbul?


Do all of my loans become void this Rosh haShanah, when the shemitah year begins?

The Torah states that we should allow loans to go unclaimed every seven years, with the shemitah year. We are instructed to annul these debts, and not to pursue their collection. There is some debate regarding the applicability of these laws in a time when the laws of yovel do not apply, but the general consensus is that they apply at least rabbinically, and perhaps biblically.

Loans are nullified at Rosh haShanah at the end of the shemitah year, not at its beginning. Also, only loans that were due for collection before that Rosh haShanah are cancelled; loans that are due later are not cancelled.

The prozbul document, formalized by Hillel, enables loans to survive shemitah. Ideally, a prozbul should be drafted before the shemitah year begins, but it may also be prepared during the shemitah year.

(Devarim 15:1-3; Gittin 36a-b; Arachin 28b; Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Shemitah 9:1-4; Rosh to Gittin 4:18-20; Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 67:30-31; Shulchan Aruch haRav Choshen Mishpat Halvaah 36; Aruch haShulchan Choshen Mishpat 67:2, 10)

Have a great day,

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