Mr. Guttyor and his family sat around the Shabbos table, partaking of the meal, singing zemiros and sharing divrei Torah.
“I can’t believe it’s almost Rosh Hashana!” exclaimed Mrs. Guttyor. “How the year flew by!”
“Indeed!” acknowledged Mr. Guttyor. “We’ve been preparing – blowing the shofar and saying Selichos. Tomorrow, erev Rosh Hashana, has very long Selichos.”
“Tomorrow we also do hataras nedarim – annulment of vows,” added their son, Avraham.
“And don’t forget pruzbul,” chimed in their son-in-law, Yitzchak.
“It’s going to be a long davening plus,” said Mr. Guttyor. “I’m glad I don’t have to rush off to work!”
“What about us?” asked Mrs. Guttyor. “The girls and I will be in the house tomorrow getting ready for Rosh Hashana. How do we do pruzbul?”
“Why do you need a pruzbul?” asked Mr. Guttyor. “Did you lend anyone money?”
“I did,” said Sara, their 19-year-old daughter. “A friend needed money, and I lent her $100 from my camp earnings.”
“And I babysat on Thursday night,” said Rivka, their 14-year-old daughter. “They almost always pay me immediately, but this week they didn’t have cash and I said it’s OK if they pay me later.”
“What about the bank account for the kids, which is in my name?” asked Mrs. Guttyor. “My pension also is in my name. What if it were a Jewish-owned bank?”
“This is real food for thought!” said Mr. Guttyor, as he sliced a piece of roast beef.
At Minchah, Mr. Guttyor asked Rabbi Dayan:
“Do women also need a pruzbul?”
“Shemittas kesafim might seem like a time-bound, positive commandment – mitzvah aseh shehazman grama – but women are also obligated,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “This is because the mitzvah to exempt the borrower applies at whatever time he comes after Shemittah to repay; because there is an associated negative prohibition in collecting the loan; and because, according to many, the cancellation of the loan is automatic, without action of the lender” (Sefer HaChinuch #477, 480; Shemittas Kesafim u’Pruzbul 7:5).
“Thus, a woman or young lady above bas mitzvah who granted a loan from her own money, or who has a liquid account under her name alone at a Jewish financial institution (as is common in Israel where many women have a keren hishtalmut – sabbatical fund, liquid after six years) – should write a pruzbul.
“However, a married woman who has only a joint account with her husband does not have to write her own pruzbul, since it suffices if one of the partners with signature rights does the pruzbul” (Derech Emunah 9:20).
“According to most poskim, the woman does not have to appear herself before beis din; her husband or father can fill out the pruzbul in her name on her behalf” (Shemittas Kesafim u’Pruzbul 11:1,11).
“The kesubah does not require a pruzbul, since it is not due until divorce or death. Even a woman who was divorced before Shemittah and hasn’t collected her kesubah does not need a pruzbul for it, since the kesubah is a debt imposed by the Sages. However, if she collected it partially, the remainder is now considered a regular debt and requires a pruzbul” (C.M. 67:17).
“A young lady who babysat and was not paid yet does not need a pruzbul for her wages, since only loan-debt is canceled by Shemittah, not wages due,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “However, if before Rosh Hashana she tallied the wages due as a sum-total bill (zakaf alav b’milveh), such as if she worked a few times and tallied the hours on Friday for a total payment of X dollars, the initial wages for babysitting are thereby converted into a global sum of debt owed by the employer, and it requires a pruzbul” (C.M. 67:14-15; Urim 67:30).
Verdict: Single women, women with accounts at Jewish financial institutions under their name alone, or women who extended loans of their own money should make a pruzbul. According to most poskim, their husband, father or other person can do it for them.