- Question: [Thursday, 26th Elul, 5782]
I did a Peruzbal last year before Rosh Hashanah 5782 as is the Chabad ruling and custom. Should I do so once again this year before Rosh Hashanah 5783?
Yes. Even those who already performed a Peruzbal before Rosh Hashanah of 5782, which was before the start of the Shemita year, are to do so again this year on Erev Rosh Hashanah 5783, before the end of the Shemita year. It can be performed either by adding one’s name to a Peruzbal contract, such as those found in the links below which can be filled out and sent online, or through stating before the men who sit as judges at the time of Hataras Nedarim on Erev Rosh Hashanah, that one “Hereby hands them all of his debts.” Certainly, if one did not do the Peruzbal by Erev Rosh Hashanah of last year, as is the mainstream custom to not do so before the Shemita year, then he is to perform it now, before Rosh Hashanah 5783. To note that this obligation of Peruzbal is applicable for all Jews throughout the world and is not limited to residents of Eretz Yisrael, which follow special agricultural Shemita laws.
Links for online Peruzbal contracts:
Explanation: There is a debate amongst the Poskim as to whether the prohibition for a lender to demand payment of a loan begins at the start of the Shemita year, or only at its end. According to all opinions, after the end of the Shemita year, a lender is prohibited from collecting a loan, and if he is offered payment by the debtor he must initially refuse to accept it by stating that the loan is forgiven. However, from the start of the Shemita year, it is debated whether or not a lender may ask for a debtor to pay him back the money that he is owed. Based on this, it is understood that a Peruzbal must be performed by a lender at the very least prior to the end of the Shemita year, and according to the stringent opinion it should be performed prior to the start of the Shemita year. Now, how do we rule regarding this debate? The Alter Rebbe concludes in his Shulchan Aruch, as do other Rabbanim and Poskim, that one should suspect for the stringent initially the Peruzbal is to be performed at the end of the sixth year, prior to Rosh Hashanah of the seventh year. The Rebbe even requested to publicize this ruling of Admur, as it is not well known to the public. The Nitei Gavriel relates that he was told by Rav S”Z Aurbach, that after receiving the above directive of the Rebbe, Rav A”C Naah publicized in 1952 to write the Pruzbal on Erev R”H of the end of the 6th year as rules Admur ibid.
Now, the Chabad custom is to perform the Pruzbal again also on Erev Rosh Hashanah of the seventh year, during Shemita, prior to its conclusion. This was the Rebbe’s custom and directive. The Rebbe stated the reason he made a Pruzbal also by Erev Rosh Hashanah of the end of the seventh year is in order to go according to all opinions. The explanation is as follows: There are opinions that rule that those loans which are given in the seventh year itself also require a Pruzbal in the end of the seventh year even if one already made a Pruzbal in the end of the sixth. Thus, if one made loans within the 7th year and they have not yet been paid, then a new Peruzbal is required.
Sources: See Choshen Mishpat Hilchos Halva Admur 36; Poskim who rule to do the Peruzbal before the start of the Shemita year: Admur ibid; Rosh Gittin 4:18; Rabbeinu Yerucham Nesiv 7; Haitur Pruzbal; Tur 67; Kaftor Vaferach 50; Tumim 67:54; Misgeres Hashulchan 180:9; Mahraiy Asad 2:79; Peas Hashulchan 97 that so ruled Gr”a; See Nitei Gavriel Pruzbal 15:2; Likkutei Sichos 7:355; 24:316; Gloss of the Rebbe printed in Sefer Haminhagim p. 197 [English]; Shulchan Menachem 7:44; See Nitei Gavriel Pruzbal p. 15 that he was told by Rav S”Z Aurbach that after receiving the directive of the Rebbe, Rav A”C Naah publicized in 1952 to write the Pruzbal on Erev R”H of the end of the 6th year as rules Admur ibid; The Minchas Yitzchak told him that this was the custom of Chabad of Manchester in 1959 and 1956 based on the directive of the Rebbe. The Pnei Menachem of Gur told him that the Rebbe did a great thing by publicizing this matter as when we annul the debts below in this world so too Hashem annuls the debts of the Jewish people in Heaven. See also Sichas Kodesh 1979 3:750 The reason behind these opinions: As there are opinions [Rosh ibid] which hold that although the seventh year only annuls the loan at the end of the year, as the verse states “At the end of seven years perform an annulment”, nevertheless once the Shemitah year has begun one is no longer allowed to demand payment of the debts. This is based on the verse “Do not demand payment from your friend as it is a Shemitah for Hashem”. From here it is learned that as soon as the year is called Shemitah it is forbidden to demand payment”. Nevertheless, even according to this opinion, there is a difference between the start of the seventh and the end of the seventh as if the borrower gives back the money within the Shemitah year then the lender may accept it and is not required to say “I forgive the loan.” However, after the Shemitah year has passed if the borrower comes to repay the loan the lender s required to tell him “I forgive the loan”. This is learned from the verse “Vizeh Dvar Hashemita….” which implies that one must verbalize with his mouth the nullification of the loan, however this itself must only be done at the end of the seventh year. Sources which state to do the Peruzbal again this year even for those who did so last year: Luach Kolel Chabad; Custom of the Rebbe in 1970 and 1988 which were Erev R”H of the end of the seventh year; Hayom Yom [printing of 1989] “In the end of 1988 the Rebbe requested that people recite the Pruzbal at the end of the seventh year”; Likkutei Sichos 12:256; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 41; Shevach Hamoadim footnote 11; Poskim who rule that a new Peruzbal is needed in 7th year if new loans took place that year: Bach 67; See Nitei Gavriel Pruzbal chapter 15:4; However from the wording in Admur ibid that “if he did not do so by the end of the sixth year then he should do so in the 7th” implies that if one did do the Pruzbal in the 6th year there is no need to do so in the 7th. [See Nitei Gavriel ibid] Perhaps however no inference can be made from here as Admur is referring to even one that did not make any loans in the 7th year that nevertheless Bedieved he can still make a Pruzbal in the seventh year for the loans of the previous years. If, however, in truth one made a loan in the seventh year then he would be required to make another Pruzbal by the end of the 7th year even if he already made one in the end of the 6th year. So also concludes the Rebbe in Likkutei Sichos 12:256, although he leaves the stringent opinion of the Rosh and Tur with a Tzaruch Iyun as how they would rule regarding loans of the 7th year.