Sunday, September 21, 2008


During my first marriage, I extended to my then-husband a business loan. When our marriage dissolved, the one stipulation in our divorce settlement was that he pay me back the loan at a rate of a small sum monthly over the course of 5 years. Since he has not made it a habit of paying me promptly however, the majority of the loan remains outstanding. So this morning I went to make a prozbul.

I find it quite interesting that you can use a prozbul to circumvent releasing debts during shemitta. As I was waiting for the Rav though, I found myself stressed out instead of mentally preoccupied with the legal ins and outs of the contract. The main source of my stress was the fact that I had been unable to find a shop that sold the contract, as the Rav had recommended. Instead, after failing to purchase the document, I did a search and found a yeshivah online that seemed to have the appropriate wording. The other source of stress was that I was the only woman around, and I was worried about contacting the Rav and otherwise having the proceedings occur without causing a stir. I just prayed that everything would go smoothly.

When I finally met with the Rav, he examined the document and said that it would be fine. Then he told me to meet him at the Beit Din's office. Phew! First hurdle over! I had never been inside the Beit Din's office (B'H'), and was impressed: I found it to be modern, clean, yet mildly inviting. The Rav told me to have a seat, and then collected some information. Then he went and got two witnesses, who took their jobs most seriously. They discussed/argued a bit in Yiddish before each signed. One witness even returned to discuss one more point and review the document a second time.

The Rav gave me the prozbul, wrote down my name and number and that was it. Not so painful in the end. All I can say is, I finally understood why my friend always claims that this "Beit Din is known to be honest". They were thorough and did everything very visibly with yirat shemayim. What started out as a fretful ordeal wound up being an inspiring one. A nice turn of events indeed, eh?

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