[Avodah] How does Prozbul work?

Akiva Miller via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Sep 16 19:19:32 PDT 2015

R' Eli Turkel quoted Wikipedia:
> ...According to this theory, Prozbul, like
> `eruv <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eruv>, is a rabbinic exception
> to a rabbinic enactment. Prozbul cannot be used to get around the
> Torah commanded shmita and yovel, just as `eruv cannot be used to get
> around the fact that Torah prohibited carrying in the public domain.

As few days ago, I was thinking about comparisons between Prozbul and Eruv,
and it seems clear to me that while Eruv *is* an exception to an enactment,
Prozbul is a whole 'nother thing.

I think it makes no sense for Prozbul to be "an exception to an enactment",
because "why bother?" If the agricultural Shemitta stops being d'Oraisa,
then Chazal can certainly enact it on a d'rabanan level. But to do that for
Shemitas Kesafim means to legislate the following three things

1) Enact a law requiring cancellation of loans
2) Loans are exempt from cancellation if Prozbul is done
3) For the benefit of both poor and wealthy, everyone should do a Prozbul

Why enact such a set of laws? Wouldn't it be far simpler to just let
Shmitas Kesafim lapse, and NOT be enacted on a d'rabanan level?

Regardless of whether one holds Prozbul to work on a d'Oraisa level, I
think everyone can agree that Prozbul was enacted specifically because (as
the Torah feared) too many people refrained from lending money as Shmitta
got near. Therefore, it seems clear to me that IF Shmitas Kesafim was
enacted as a d'rabanan, THEN Prozbul was enacted LATER, and not at the same

In sharp contrast, I understand that Eruvin was a real "exception to an
enactment": Simultaneously to the new law which prohibited carrying in a
karmelis, an exception was included exempting certain areas under certain
condiitons, allowing the carrying there.

Akiva Miller
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