Shmittah: Cancellation of Debts
1“At the end of every seven years you are to cancel debts.
2This is how you are to cancel debts: every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbor. He must not force his neighbor or his brother to repay, for Adonai’s debt cancellation has been proclaimed.
3A foreigner you may force, but your hand is to release whatever your brother owes you.
4“However, there should be no poor among you, for Adonai will surely bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess.
5If only you would carefully listen to the voice of Adonai your God, being careful to do all these mitzvah that I am commanding you today!
6For Adonai your God will bless you as He promised you. So you will lend to many nations, but not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.
7“If there is a poor man among you—any of your brothers within any of your gates in your land that Adonai your God is giving you—you are not to harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.
8Rather, you must surely open your hand to him and you must surely lend him enough for his need—whatever he is lacking.
9Watch yourself, so there is no unworthy thing in your heart saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of cancelling debts, is near,’ and your eye is evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing. Then he may call out to Adonai against you, and it will be a sin upon you.
10You must surely give to him, and your heart is not to be grieved when you give to him—for because of this thing Adonai your God will bless you in all your work and in every undertaking of your hand.
11“For there will never cease to be poor people in the land. Therefore I am commanding you, saying, ‘You must surely open your hand to your brother—to your needy and poor in your land.’
12“If your fellow Hebrew—a man or woman—is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you are to set him free.
13When you set him free, you are not to send him away empty-handed.
14You are to surely provide for him from your flock and threshing floor and winepress. As Adonai your God has blessed you, you are to give to him.
15You will remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God redeemed you; therefore I am commanding you this thing today.
16“Now if he tells you, ‘I will not go away from you’—because he loves you and your household since he is well off with you—
17then you are to take an awl and put it through his ear to the door, and he will be your servant forever. And to your female slave you are to do the same.
18It should not seem hard to you when you set him free from you, for he has served you six years—double the value of a hired worker. So Adonai your God will bless you in all that you do.
19“All the firstborn males that are born in your herd and your flock you are to consecrate to Adonai your God. You are to do no work with the firstborn of your herd or shear the firstborn of your flock.
20You are to eat it before Adonai your God year after year in the place Adonai chooses—you and your household.
21But if it has any blemish—if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish—you are not to sacrifice it to Adonai your God.
22You are to eat it within your gates, the unclean and the clean together, just as they eat the gazelle or deer.
23Only its blood you are not to eat—you must pour it out on the ground like water.