Can you explain what a pruzbal is? Does one need to make one before ROSH HASHANA of this year? Can one have one made through your INSTITUTE even if one lives in the usa? And how?

Answer:

In principle a person needs to sign a pruzbul document at the end of the Shemittah year – meaning at the end of year 5775 (and not now, before the commencement of year 5775).

Some are particular to write a pruzbul now, before the Shemittah year – but this is not the general custom.

 

A pruzbul can be made with any Beis Din, irrespective of geographical location. It should read something along the following lines, and be countersigned by two witnesses:

“In the presence of the undersigned two witnesses there appeared before us [name of creditor] who declared before us as follows:

“Be my witnesses that I am submitting all of the debts owed to me to Beis Din Nesivos Chaim in Jerusalem, so that I may therefore collect these debts at any time that I desire.”

In witness whereof we hereby affix our signatures this [date] here in [place].

Signed: [witness]

Signed: [witness]”

 

Best wishes and sorry for delay in replying to this question.

Sources:

Shemittah cancels loans only at the end of the shemittah year. The Pasuk states “At the end of seven years you shall institute a remission. This is the matter of the remission: Every creditor shall remit his authority over what he has lent his fellow.” The words “at the end of seven years” are understood to mean that the loan is cancelled only at the end of the shemittah year. This is the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch, based on the Rambam (67:30-31).

However, the The Rosh (Gittin 4:18,20) cites a Tosefta that the pruzbul should be written “the eve of Rosh Hashanah of shevi’is”. He explains that Shemittah cancels the loan at the end of the seven years, so that the borrower is required to repay it during the Shemittah year. However, the creditor should not express his authority throughout the Shemittah year – from the beginning of the year.

Based on this some write that one should make the Pruzbul before Rosh Hashanah (see Sema 67:53). Yet, this is not the normative halachah.

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