- Question: [24th Elul, 5780]
I borrowed a treadmill for long-term use and find that because it’s on an incline it causes back pain to use (this is a known problem). If I wanted to put something underneath the back of the treadmill to eliminate the incline, must I ask permission from the lender first?
Anything that may permanently change the way the treadmill works may not be done without first asking permission from the owner. If it is a temporary change that can be reversed when it comes time for you to return it, then it is not a problem.
The reason: The rule by lent items is that we assess the lenders intent, and if even a minority of lenders may be particular about something done to the lent item, then it may not be done without explicit permission. However, a temporary change that can be reversed is not an issue.
Sources: See Admur 14:12; Binyamin Zev 199 that if one borrowed Tallis or Tefillin and it was folded, it must be also returned folded, as perhaps the owner may be Makpid; See also Admur Hilchos Sheila Usechirus Halacha 1-4 that we follow assessment of Kpeida of owner
- Question: [24th Elul, 5780]
I had lent a very large sum of money to a close relative over two decades ago, and the relative has yet to pay me back. I have not really pressured him, understanding that he simply does not have the money to pay, and pretty much forgot about the loan. Now, my relative calls me and asks if he can pay me back for the loan in monthly payments over the next several years. I was very happy to hear that he would finally pay me back, although I know that its forbidden to collect a loan after the Shemita cycle, and at least one [if not two!] Shemita cycles have passed since the loan. I had never heard of a Peruzbal before until I asked you this question, and don’t think I ever did one by the previous Shemita’s. So is my loan lost?
You may still collect your loan. However, prior to this coming years Shemita  initially make sure to perform a Peruzbal on Erev Rosh Hashanah.
The reason: a) In todays times it is customary to recite the Nussach of the Peruzbal on Erev Rosh Hashanah while performing Hataras Neddarim. Now, being that the above-mentioned individual stated that he participates in Hataras Nedarim each year in Shul, it is most probable that he said the Nussach of the Peruzbal by the previous Shemitas and simply does not remember. B) Even if one were to argue that a Peruzbal was not performed, practically, the custom is to allow collecting loans even if a Peruzbal was not done. C) Even according to the approach that prohibits the collection of a loan if a Peruzbal was not done, if the borrower insists on paying it back, one may collect it. Thus, due to any of the above three reasons, in the above case there is no issue with the questioner receiving back the money that he lent decades ago.
Sources: See regarding the custom of not performing Peruzbals today: Admur Halvah 35; Rama C.M. 67:1; See regarding collecting money today even if did not perform a Peruzbal: Teshuvah Meahava 1:72; Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat 2:15; Nitei Gavriel 5:4; See regarding allowance to receive money back even if Peruzbal not performed: Mishneh Shevius 10:9; Rambam Shemita 9:28; Nitei Gavriel 39; See here for the full details of this matter: https://shulchanaruchharav.com/halacha/in-todays-times/