The Gemara Makkos 3b says:

א"ר יהודה אמר שמואל המלוה את חבירו לעשר שנים אין שביעית משמטתו ואע"ג דאתי לידי לא יגוש השתא מיהא לא קרינן ביה לא יגוש

If someone who makes a loan only payable in 10 years, the loan survives Shmittah because it wasn't collectible at the time of Shmittah.

This is the Halacha as brought in Rambam (Shmittah VeYovelos 9:9) and Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 67:10).

However, the Torah says (Devorim 15:9):

הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן יִהְיֶה דָבָר עִם לְבָבְךָ בְלִיַּעַל לֵאמֹר קָרְבָה שְׁנַת הַשֶּׁבַע שְׁנַת הַשְּׁמִטָּה וְרָעָה עֵינְךָ בְּאָחִיךָ הָאֶבְיוֹן וְלֹא תִתֵּן לוֹ

That someone may say Shmittah is close, so I won't lend - this is an aveirah. (I have also heard this explain the idea of a Pruzbel - since Shmittah is rabbinic today, but not lending is Min HaTorah, so the Chachamim established a Pruzbel to prevent violating the Torah prohibition).

But if the loan can be made valid after Shmittah simply by making a longer term what is the problem? If the person is concerned about Shmittah, just make the term last past it. Why is this a problem?

It seems difficult to say that he wants the loan back close to the end of Shmittah, and will be worried he will be stuck in collections, as he can just avoid the problem by extending the term slightly anyway.

  • Not lending is seemingly only Min HaTorah when Shemitta is Min HaTorah, no? – Double AA Jun 11 '14 at 19:47
  • @DoubleAA What?? – Ypnypn Jun 11 '14 at 19:48
  • @Ypnypn How can there be a biblical prohibition on not lending for fear of Shemitta if there is no Shemitta? – Double AA Jun 11 '14 at 19:49
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    @yoni, I'm thinking more in the context of origination of the loan. Sure, the borrower may say let's make the loan end on the 29th of elul, but is that really the case contemplated here? – Yishai Jun 12 '14 at 10:54
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    Stam halvaah shloshim yom. If shmitah is coming I'll be fearful to lend. I can't count on being able to extend the loan. – Yoni Jun 17 '14 at 23:13

The Chinuch (580) addresses a slightly different but related question:

ואולי יעלה במחשבתך בני לאמר, ואיך ימנע אדם מהלואה לעולם מפני זה, ולמה נכתב על זה לאו, והלא בידו להתנות עמו על מנת שלא תשמיטנו בשביעית, וכדרך שאנו עושין תמיד בשטרותינו? אל יבהילך דבר זה, כי התורה תזהירנו בדברים, ואף על פי שאפשר בתקנות ותנאים.‏
And perhaps you, my son, might think to say: how could someone ever refrain from lending because of [fear of Shemitta]? Why is there a prohibition about this written, for he is able to stipulate with [the borrower that the loan is given] on the condition that Shemitta does not cancel the loan, like we do in all of our documents? This should not concern you, for the Torah warns us about things even if there are ways of [avoiding the issue] through enactments or stipulations. (my translation)

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    Not too satisfying, I know. – Double AA Jun 11 '14 at 19:58
  • Interestingly, he also says it applies even when Shmittah is rabbinic. But this question bothered me less because this is a stipulation that the borrower has to agree to. He may not, but you have lend anyway. Extending the term, on the other hand, is to the borrower's advantage. Anyway +1 for the answer and the comment. – Yishai Jun 11 '14 at 20:08

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