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Halachic Forms

Heter Iska

The translation of  Heter Iska is ‘partnership clause’.

The Torah strictly forbids the collection or payment of interest on a loan, granted from one Jew to another.  Given that law, there is a procedure, called HETER ISKA (“partnership clause”) by which it is permitted to profit from funds (monies) extended to one’s fellow.

A HETER ISKA contract stipulates that the money is not a loan but an investment in a joint business venture, with profits to be shared between the owner of the capital and the one who has been granted the right to use it and deal with it.

The key question about a HETER ISKA is the following: Why is interest on a loan forbidden while profit sharing on an investment is permitted?

Legally, the difference is that in the case of a loan the money is no longer the property of the lender. From the moment the borrower receives it, it is his in every respect (on the premise that he assumes the obligation to make a payment for the same amount to the lender at some future date).

So, if the lender were to collect a fee or percentage, he, the lender, would be charging interest for money that was lent, something the Torah forbids.

When there is a HETER ISKA agreement, the money remains the property of the investor (in partnership with the one to whom the money has been entrusted) and the compensation he receives is not “free profit,” but profit that his investment is currently generating.


A PRUZBUL is a form that one fills out during the observance of the Shemittah – Sabbatical year.

Any debts that are unpaid at the conclusion of the last day of the Shemittah year are canceled. Even if a borrower wishes to repay his debt, the lender may not accept it unless he reminds the borrower that the debt has been canceled and the borrower still insists on giving him the money “as a gift.”

At the same time, the Torah forbids us to refrain from lending money for fear of Shemittah canceling the loan and commands us to lend, despite the possibility that we may not be paid back.

As the Shemittah year has, over the years, become a rabbinic law, one can circumvent this lender/borrower issue. Many have the custom to make a PRUZBUL before Rosh Hashanah immediately prior to the Shemittah year, to be able to collect payment throughout the Shemittah year. Once the PRUZBUL has been made, any additional loans will require an additional PRUZBUL.

Others make a PRUZBUL at the end of the seventh year, just before the loans are cancelled. And finally, others make the PRUZBUL twice, once before the Shemittah year, and once again just before it concludes.

Halachic Medical Directive for Quebec

A medical directive is an advance healthcare directive, also known as living will or health care proxy. It is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.

A living will, which can be very specific or very general,  is a written document that specifies what types of medical treatment are desired.

More specific living wills may include information regarding an individual’s desire for such services such as analgesia (pain relief), antibiotics, hydration, feeding and the use of ventilators or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

A health care proxy is a legal document in which an individual designates another person to make health care decisions if he or she is rendered incapable of making their wishes known.

The health care proxy has the same rights to request or refuse treatment that the individual would have if capable of making and communicating decisions.

Such a document is recommended for any patient who may be unable to make his or her wishes known during a long medical confinement.

Halachic Medical Directive For Quebec:

Halachic Medical Directive for Quebec Form

Terumah and Maaser

The following instructions have been compiled in consultation with Rabbi Yosef Efrati and Rabbi Shaul Reichenberg of the Beit Medrash Govoha for Halacha in Agricultural Settlements.

Before beginning tithing, one should be aware that the procedure is not a religious ceremony to permit the fruit or vegetables to be eaten but is a series of legal/halachic processes which alter the legal/halachic status of the produce, thereby permitting it. One should therefore have a basic understanding of the changes in status the produce will undergo as a result of tithing and fully intend that one’s actions should affect these changes.

Tithing should be done by the owner or his designated agent. A halachic minor (a boy younger than thirteen or a boy younger that twelve) should not tithe. A wife need not ask her husband to specifically appoint her as his agent to tithe produce bought for household use.

Before tithing one should ensure that all the produce being tithed is on the same surface, such as the same table or countertop, and not in separate places.

The first step of the procedure is to set aside just over one percent (1%) of the amount of produce being tithed. One should be certain that the amount set aside is not less that just over one percent of the amount of produce being tithed, but it may be more.

This step may sometimes require only part of a whole fruit or vegetable to be separated. In such a case the amount should be cut from the fruit or vegetable. One should be careful to wash the knife before it is used again with other food.

The separated produce need not be the choicest selection of the produce being tithed but must be edible and may not be spoiled.

Only the edible part of the produce may be reckoned in this amount. For example, the peel of an orange may not constitute part of the designated produce, only the flesh of the fruit.

The separated produce should be placed on a piece of foil or other such material suitable for the separated produce to be wrapped in prior to disposal.

The second step of the procedure is to designate a coin which will be used to redeem the sanctity (maaser sheini or neta revai) of the produce. The value of the coin should be equivalent to the price of one fortieth of a gram of pure silver. Since the price of silver fluctuates considerably, it is prudent to use a coin whose value is triple the current price of a fortieth of a gram of silver.  At the time of writing the price of silver as traded in Canada is $0.69 per gram.

The value of the coin should therefore be at least five cents and so a nickel may be used.

The third step is the actual separation of trumos and maasros followed by the redeeming of maasser sheini and revai. The procedure for this is outlined separately – see accompanying text.

Once the separation is complete the separated produce should be completely wrapped and disposed of. Likewise the coin used for the redeeming of maaser sheini and neta revai should either be destroyed or disposed of in a way that it could not be retrieved and used.

TERUMAH AND MAASER (Hebrew version), Click here to view