R’ Tzvi Yaakov Stein: Halachos of Pruzbol


1. In addition to not working the land of Eretz Yisorel during Shmita, Shmitta also nullifies all loans that have come due that year. According to most opinions, this applies even outside of Eretz Yisroel. This is a positive commandment not a negative commandment.

2. Nowadays that we don’t have Yovel, this mitzva is miderabanan.

3. Since shmitta cancels all loans, the pruzbol was created in order to allow the loans to be collected.

3. It works by handing the loan over to Beis Din and Beis Din collects the loan on behalf of the lender (the lender actually collects their own loan).

⁃ Loans that are not due until after this Rosh Hashana don’t require a pruzbal.

⁃ There are opinions that the pruzbul had to have been signed before shmitta started (last year) however we pasken that it should be done this year.

⁃ Although there are many disagreements, ultimately all debts will be cancelled by shmitta.

⁃ Loans to non Jews don’t apply to these halachos.

⁃ The custom has become that everyone signs a pruzbul even if they don’t have outstanding loans.

⁃ Only the lender has to sign the pruzbul, not the borrower.

⁃ One document suffices for all the lenders loans.

⁃ Any loan made after the pruzbul was signed is not included. Therefore the custom has become to write it on erev Rosh Hashana.

⁃ Some say to lend someone money after signing the pruzbul in order to get the mitzva of not collecting loans by shmitta.

⁃ Any three adult men can sign the pruzbul. Sfardim prefer a Beis Din of experts.

⁃ Relatives can be the judges on the pruzbul.

⁃ It’s usually done Erev Rosh Hashana with the same three people that you do the hataras nedarim with.

⁃ One should hold on to the pruzbul but if it gets lost then it’s fine.

⁃ One can appoint a schliach to sign the pruzbul for them. However in person is better if it’s possible.

⁃ It can be written in English.

⁃ The pruzbul only works if the one who owes the money has land. It suffices to even rent land. If the borrower doesn’t own or rent land (very rare) then the pruzbul says that the lender gives him some land.

⁃ Women also need to write a pruzbul. If they have a joint bank account they’re included with their husbands pruzbul.

⁃ If one didn’t sign a pruzbul, in most cases the loan can still be collected after shmitta. A shaila should be asked.


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