How do I know if I need to make a pruzbul?
The Torah says that on the year of Shviis all loans to fellow Jews are canceled, both in Eretz Yisroel and in Chutz Laaretz. Nowadays, when not all the shvatim dwell in Eretz Yisroel, Shmita is only midrabanan.
There are several situations when a loan is not cancelled by shmita:
(1) If the loan was made on condition that despite shmita it won’t be canceled. Since any condition can be made in monetary matters and the borrower accepted an extra obligated, thus the condition is binding.
(2) If the loan was given with a time frame which surpasses shmita (i.e. 10 years). Since shmita only stops the collection of a loan that’s up for collection and at the time of shmita this loan was not up for collection, thus the loan is unaffected by shmita.
(3) Similarly, a bill in a store is not up for collection, and thus not canceled by shmita, until the store owner set a date for payment before shmita. Some acharonim say that once the seller tallies up the amount which he is owed it is up for collection and canceled by shmita. The same is true of a worker who is payment is only due at the end of a season.
(4) If the lender hands over his promissory notes to Beis Din and they become responsible to collect the loan. The Torah only blocks collecting the loan from a fellow, whereas to the borrower Beis Din is a communal body.
Based on this last exception, Hillel instituted pruzbul, allowing one to entrust his loans to Beis Din without actually giving them the notes. This way people will lend without hesitation even right before shmita.Pruzbul is accomplished by writing or telling a Beis Din that the loan is being transferred to the Beis Din to collect.
The Rebbe suggested lending money before shmita specifically to fulfill the institution of pruzbul.
 שו”ע חו”מ סס”ז ס”א.שוע”ר הלכות הלוואה סל”ד.
 גיטין ל”ו ע”א. שוע”ר שם סל”ד. רמב”ם הלכות שמו”י פ”י ה”ח משגלו שבט ראובן גד וחצי מנשה.
 שוע”ר שם סעיף ל”ה.
 מכות ג’ ע”ב ושוע”ר שם סל”ט.
 שוע”ר שם סל”ט. וראה נט”ג הלכות שמיטה פ”י הע’ ו’ שהיום בקני’ שמיד כתוב לו במחשב סה”כ של החוב שלו לכאורה זהו בגדר זקפן עליו במלוה. ויל”ע.
 גיטין ל”ז ע”א.
 גיטין ל”ו ע”א.
 לקו”ש חכ”ד ע’ 316.
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