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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim

Folio 14a

that the positive may be inferred from the negative? But if R. Judah's, it is identical with the earlier Mishnah?1  — Because he [the Tanna] teaches, 'AS THE FLESH OF THE SWINE, AS THE OBJECT OF IDOLATROUS WORSHIP,' he teaches hullin too.2  Rabina said: This is what he teaches: NOW THESE ARE PERMITTED as [if he said WHAT I MIGHT EAT OF YOURS BE] HULLIN, VIZ., [IF ONE SAYS,] 'AS THE FLESH OF THE SWINE AS THE OBJECT OF IDOLATROUS WORSHIP'; and if HULLIN were not stated, I would have thought that absolution3  is required But could I possibly think so? Since the last clause teaches: IF ONE SAYS TO HIS WIFE, 'BEHOLD! THOU ART UNTO ME AS MY MOTHER,' HE MUST BE GIVEN AN OPENING ON OTHER GROUNDS, it follows that in the first cause absolution is unnecessary? But it is clear that HULLIN is mentioned incidentally.

Whence do we know it?4  — Scripture states, If a man vow a vow unto the Lord:5  This teaches that one must vow by what is [itself] forbidden through a vow.6  If so, even [if one vows] by a [Divinely] interdicted object too, since it is written, to bind his soul with a bond?7  — That is necessary for what was taught: Which is the bond referred to in the Torah etc.8

HE WHO SAYS TO HIS WIFE, BEHOLD! THOU ART UNTO ME AS MY MOTHER', etc. But a contradiction is shewn: If one says to his wife, 'Behold! thou art unto me as the flesh of my mother, as the flesh of my sister, as 'orlah,9  as kil'ayim10  of the vineyard, his words are of no effect.11  — Said Abaye: His words are of no effect by Biblical law, yet absolution is required by Rabbinical law. Raba answered: One refers to a scholar; the other refers to an 'am haarez.12  And it was taught even so: If one vows by the Torah,13  his words are of no effect. Yet R. Johanan commented: He must retract [his vow] before a Sage; while R. Nahman observed: A scholar does not need absolution.

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Supra 10b.
  2. I.e., hullin is unnecessary in itself, but mentioned merely for the sake of completeness.
  3. Lit., 'a request' (for revocation).
  4. That these vows are not binding.
  5. Num. XXX, 3.
  6. Translating: if a man vow by referring to a vow.
  7. Ibid. This may also be interpreted: to bind his soul by that which is already a bond, vis. something Divinely interdicted.
  8. V. supra 12a.
  9. V. Glos.
  10. V. Glos. Deut. XXII, 9.
  11. Because all these objects are forbidden by the Law.
  12. Lit., 'people of the earth' — an ignoramus. v. J.E. s.v. In the first case the vow is entirely invalid; but an ignoramus will treat vows too lightly if shewn leniency, and therefore needs absolution.
  13. (E.g., 'I vow by the Torah not to eat of this loaf' — in reality a kind of oath. V. infra (Ran).]
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Nedarim 14b

It was taught: If one vows by the Torah, his words are of no effect; by what is written therein, his vow is binding; by it and by what is written therein, his vow is binding. Since he states, 'by what is written therein, his vow is binding,' is it necessary to mention, 'by it and by what is written therein?' — R. Nahman answered: There is no difficulty: one means that a Torah is lying on the ground; the other, that [the vower] holds a Torah in his hand. If it is lying on the ground, his thoughts are of the parchment; if he holds it in his hand, his thoughts are of the Divine Names therein.1  Alternatively, [both clauses mean] that it is lying on the ground, and we are informed this: even when it is lying on the ground, since he vows, 'by what is written therein,' his vow is valid;2  and an anti-climax is taught.3  A further alternative: the whole [Baraitha] indeed means that he holds it in his hand, and we are informed this:4  Since he holds it in his hand, even if he merely says 'by it,' it is as though he said, 'by what is written therein'.5


GEMARA. It was stated: [If one says,] 'Konam be my eyes sleeping to-day, if I sleep to-morrow' — Rab Judah said in Rab's name: He must not sleep that day, lest he sleep on the morrow. But R. Nahman said: He may sleep on that day, and we do not fear that he may sleep on the morrow. Yet Rab Judah agrees that if one says, 'Konam be my eyes sleeping tomorrow, If I sleep to-day,' he may sleep that day;

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. The Heb. bamah shekathuw bah may mean either, by what is written therein, or, by that whereon it (the Law) is written. Now if the Scroll is lying on the ground, and one says, 'bamah shekathuw bah', we assume that he thought that it was a mere scroll not written upon, since it had been irreverently placed on the ground, and his words refer to the actual parchment, unless he says 'bah ubamah shekathuw bah', which can only mean by the scroll and by what is written therein. A reference to the parchment is invalid; to the Divine Names, is binding.
  2. I.e., we assume the Heb. bamah shekathuw bah to bear that meaning, not, 'by that whereon it is written'.
  3. In the clause: 'By it and by what is is written therein.' Lit., 'this, and the other goes without saying'.
  4. BaH. [Cur. ed.: 'the whole also, the middle clause etc.'. Ran: 'the final clause informs us this'. All of which shows the text is in disorder. An attempt may he made to restore the text on the basis of MS.M. and Ran: 'The first clause (refers to the case) where it lies on the ground (MS.M.), the final clause (Ran) where he holds it in his hand (MS.M.). Such a text is also implied in the Ran on the passage.]
  5. I.e., bah u-bamah shekathuw bah are now translated 'by it or by what is written therein', the copulative sometimes meaning or. The text is not quite clear, that of the Ran has been adopted as giving the most plausible rendering.
  6. I.e., I am forbidden by a vow to sleep, etc. [Lit., 'konam be that which I sleep'. V. Laible, MGWJ. 1916, pp. 29ff'.]
  7. Num. XXX, 3.
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