Thursday, September 6, 2007

Shmittah Year

This coming Jewish Year is a Sabbatical Year called “Shmittah.” It is the last year in the seven-year cycle, and has its own special laws.
In the land of Israel, it involves a prohibition against all agricultural activity. Out of the Land of Israel, special laws apply to the eating of Israeli produce.
For Jews, the world over, another law applies as follows.
Any loans made before the Shmittah year may not be reclaimed after Shmittah, as the word "Shmittah" means "release."
The exact cut off date is the subject of differing opinions; some maintain it is at the beginning of Shmittah, whilst others maintain it is at the end of Shmittah.
During Temple times, this law was readily observed. However, later in history people became reluctant to lend money to other Jews in the months before Shmittah, for fear of not being able to reclaim the money later on.
It was Hillel the Elder who lived two thousand years ago who developed the idea of Pruzbul. This is a method that allows one to reclaim debts after Shmittah, by turning one's debts into public debts before Shmittah begins.
This is done quite easily by appointing a “court” of three adult Jews and declaring before them: ‘I hereby transfer to you all debts that are owing to me, so that I may reclaim them whenever I so desire’.
Go to
and fill out the form. This should be done on or before Erev Rosh Hashanah, Wednesday 12 September, 2007.
We will also do the oral declaration of Pruzbul at the beginning of our Rosh Hashana service on Wed. 12 at Westborough High School, 90 W Main.
Please join us!
Shana Tova,
Rabbi Green

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