Pruzbul 5782

  • Pruzbul - Transfer of Debts

    We are approaching the beginning of 5782, a Sabbatical or "Seventh" year. It is also known as the  Shemitah  year – the year of "release". Concerning the Shemitah year, the Torah states ( Deut. 15:1 -2): "At the end of seven years, you shall make Shemitah. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he has lent to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor; because the L-rd’s release has been proclaimed". This passage teaches that all debts are erased by the seventh, Shmittah, year.

    Years ago, because of the release of loans of the seventh year, many Jews ceased to lend money as the seventh year approached. To encourage the continuation of loans, the great scholar and leader Hillel instituted a custom which allows one to request repayment even after the onset of the seventh year. This custom, known as "Pruzbul", consists of the creditor transferring his debt to a Rabbinic court whereupon it ceases to be a private debt and therefore can be collected.

    Although loans are not canceled until the end of the Shemitah year, once the Shemitah year begins there are those who rule that a lender may not demand payment of a loan (although he may accept it without demurring if the borrower wishes to repay on his own). For this reason, many have the custom to make a pruzbul before Rosh Hashanah immediately prior to the Shemitah year, in addition to making a Pruzbul at the end of the Shemittah year.

    Once the pruzbul has been made, any additional loans will require an additional pruzbul.  It is customary for all Jews to make a Pruzbul - even those who do not have outstanding loans. This practice demonstrates how dear we hold a command of our Sages. 

    The Pruzbul is usually accomplished by means of a verbal statement made on Erev Rosh Hashana at the time of Hatarat Nedarim (annulment of vows). However, one may also do a Pruzbul in written form. For your convenience, you may submit the form below. If, after submitting the form, you give another loan, you must complete an additional Pruzbul form. Encourage your friends and relatives to participate as well. The transfer goes into effect the day before Rosh Hashanah.

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