[Avodah] How does Prozbul work?

Marty Bluke via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Sun Sep 20 03:33:28 PDT 2015

R' Akiva Miller wrote:
"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?"

If you look at the sugya of pruzbul (Gittin 36a-b) these points are all

The Gemara starts out with the fact that Hillel was mesaken pruzbul. Then
the Gemara asks how could he do that if the Torah (shemitas kesafim)
cancels the loan? Abaye answers that Hillel only made his takana of pruzbul
when shemittas kesafim was derabbanon. The Gemara then asks how could the
Chachamim be mesaken shemmitas kesafim derabbanon if min hatorah the lender
has to pay back the loan? Rava answers hefker beis din hefker.

We see clearly from the Gemara that the historical progression was
1. Shemmita ceased being min hatorah
2. Chachamim were mesaken shemitta miderabbonon including shemittas kesafim
3. After shemitta derabbonon was already established Hillel saw that people
were not lending money and therefore was mesaken pruzbul

In other words these things did not happen simultaneously, pruzbul was
enacted after shemmitas kesafim was already established.
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