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Halacha For - Monday ,  - August 31, 2015

The Lesson We Learn From the Mitzvah of Cancellation of Debts By Shevi’it Nowadays

The Message of the great Rishon Le’Zion, Moreinu Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a on Behalf of “Halacha Yomit”

Hashem has commanded us with a positive Torah commandment to cancel debts at the conclusion of the Shemitta year, as the verse states, “At the end of every seven years shall you make a release. And this is the matter of the release: Every creditor shall release that which he has lent to his friend; he shall not exact it of his friend and of his brother because Hashem’s release has been proclaimed.” One of the reasons behind this precious Mitzvah Hashem has commanded us to perform is in order to guide is to behave with good and proper character traits by acting mercifully and easy going with our money in order to help others.

Indeed, the Sefer Ha’Chinuch (Mitzvah 477) that we have been commanded to release our debts at the conclusion of the Shemitta year in order to teach ourselves the superb character traits of generosity and a good eye (good will towards others). He continues that the Mitzvah of cancelling debts comes to establish in our hearts the great trust in Hashem; in this way, our souls will be worthy of receiving good from Hashem accompanied by blessing and mercy. This means that when we give up our money, we acquire trust in Hashem and realize that He is the One who makes one rich or poor and everything is from the Almighty alone.

As a result of the Mitzvah of cancelling debts, we distance ourselves from any bad character trait related to stealing, as the Sefer Ha’Chinuch concludes that by observing the Mitzvah of cancelling debts, this creates a strong fence and an iron curtain to separate one from thievery and desire, for if the Torah tells one to release money that was his and one loaned it to another, one may certainly not steal or embezzle that which belongs to another. One must therefore extremely distance one’s self from thievery and anything related to it.

Based on this, even nowadays when everyone fills out Prozbul forms, we must nevertheless learn from the Mitzvah of cancelling debts at the conclusion of Shevi’it to behave with the traits of Avraham Avinu by having good will towards others, being low of spirit, and humble and by helping, being responsible, and respectful of one another by trying as much as possible to help others bodily and financially. As a result, may we all merit fulfillment of the Torah’s blessing, “For because of this matter thing shall Hashem your G-d bless you in all of your work and in everything you put your hand to.” As our Sages expound (Tosefta Pe’ah, Chapter 4), the words “For because of this thing” teach us that even if one only offers a pauper some encouraging words (but not financial help), one will be rewarded for this deed as well.


   
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