Religion Magazine

Social Shmitta - Wiping Away Debt

By Gldmeier @gldmeier

I like the initiative of what is being promoted as "shmitta chevratit" - social shmitta... the promoters want government offices and other public debt holders to honor the mitzva of shmitta in regards to financial concerns and wipe away any financial debt, at least for segments of the population that are economically weaker.
I like the idea in a general way. Any aspect of keeping shmitta more, and especially with intent on helping those who need it, is good.
Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Rav Eli Ben Dahan has joined the group of those who want the shmitta chevratit. Ben Dahan said that government institutions are able to wipe away the debts. He called upon institutions to wipe away the debts of the elderly - such as Bituach Leumi, banks, and other public institutions...
source: Srugim
I would not mind if they wiped away my mortgage..
While I like the idea, I am not sure why institutions, especially banks which are really privately held, would wipe away the debt, which probably adds up to a lot of money. Just like people will keep their privately held debt, perhaps by writing a pruzbol, I imagine most institutions won't want to give up all that money either, and will want to employ the pruzbol or whatever else they might do. Just like some farmers will keep shmitta and not work the land at all, while most will employ the hetter mechira.
I guess if even just a small number of institutions wipe away the debt, it will be good - it will help some people, it will be a start of a good thing. Maybe next time maybe more will do similarly.

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