— Said R. Elai: What if a man declares to his neighbour, 'Let this field which I am selling you be consecrated when I buy it back from you', — is it not consecrated?1 R. Jeremiah demurred to this: How compare! [In the case of] 'Let this field which I sell you [etc.],' it is now in his possession; but is it in a woman's power to consecrate the work of her hands?2 This is [rather] to be compared only to a man who says to his neighbour, 'Let this field, which I have sold to you, be consecrated when I repurchase it from you,' — is it consecrated?3 R. Papa demurred to this: How compare! In the case of purchase the matter is definitely closed;4 but as for a woman, is the matter definitely closed?5 This can only be compared to a man who declares to his neighbour. 'Let this field, which I have mortgaged to you, be consecrated when I redeem it from you', — is it not consecrated? R. Shisha the son of R. Idi demurred to this: How compare! As for the field, it is in his power to redeem it; but does it lie with a woman to be divorced? This is [rather] to be compared to one who says to his neighbour. 'Let this field, which I have mortgaged to you for ten years, be consecrated on its redemption,' — is it not consecrated?6 R. Ashi demurred to this: How compare! There is a definite term [for redemption]; has then a woman a definite term [when she can encompass her divorce]?7
Original footnotes renumbered.
- Surely it is! So here too the vow is valid in respect of a future state through it is not valid when made.
- Obviously not.
- Surely not. Thus, he argued, this analogy proves on the contrary that the woman's vow is invalid.
- Neither the field nor its produce belongs, for the time being, to the vower.
- For her body at least still belongs to herself.
- Surely it is, though it cannot be redeemed before a certain date; so in the case of a woman too, though she cannot procure her divorce. As far as actual law is concerned this Rabbi agrees with the preceding: he merely varies the analogy for the sake of greater accuracy, though the result is the same.
- Obviously not; hence it should follow that her vow is invalid.
But, said R. Ashi, konamoth are different, since they have the force of intrinsic sanctity;1 and [it is] in accordance with Raba's dictum, For Raba said: Hekdesh,2 [the prohibition of] leaven, and manumission [of a slave] release from [the burden of] mortgage.3 If so, why state LEST HE DIVORCE HER?4 — Learn: moreover, LEST HE DIVORCE HER.5
MISHNAH. IF HIS WIFE VOWED, AND HE TOUGHT THAT HIS DAUGHTER HAD VOWED, OR IF HIS DAUGHTER VOWED AND HE THOUGHT THAT HIS WIFE HAD VOWED; IF SHE TOOK THE VOW OF A NAZIRITE, AND HE THOUGHT THAT SHE HAD VOWED [TO OFFER] A SACRIFICE, OR IF SHE VOWED (TO OFFER] A SACRIFICE, AND HE THOUGHT THAT SHE VOWED A NAZIRITE VOW; IF SHE VOWED [TO ABSTAIN] FROM FIGS, AND HE THOUGHT THAT SHE VOWED FROM GRAPES, OR IF SHE VOWED [TO ABSTAIN] FROM GRAPES AND HE THOUGHT THAT SHE VOWED FROM FIGS,6 HE MUST ANNUL [THE VOW] AGAIN.
GEMARA. Shall we say that ['if her husband] disallow her'7 is precisely meant?8
Original footnotes renumbered.
- Lit., 'bodily sanctity'. I.e., of objects consecrated in themselves, and which are offered on the altar; these are irredeemable. The term is opposed to 'monetary consecration,' i.e., objects which are consecrated so that they may be redeemed and their redemption money dedicated to Temple Service. As seen above (p. 105, n. 8), konam is really a form of consecration, and it is here stated that its prohibition is as strong as that which is intrinsically consecrated.
- V. Glos.
- If one pledges an unblemished animal for repayment of a debt, and then consecrates it, the intrinsic sanctity it acquires liberates it from the bond and the creditor cannot seize it in payment. Similarly, if one pledges leaven to a Gentile, the advent of Passover and the resultant prohibition cancels the pledge, and the Jew is bound to destroy it, like any other leaven. Likewise, if one mortgages a slave and then manumits him, he is released from the pledge, and the creditor cannot take him on payment. Hence, if a woman declares her hands konam, she thereby destroys their pledged character, and the vow is valid.
- For according to this the vow is valid even before.
- I.e., actually the vow is valid even now, since konam has the force of intrinsic consecration. But should you dispute this, for the Rabbis strengthened the husband's rights, so that not even konam may cancel them, the husband must still annul the vow, lest he divorce her. The objections raised above to the assumption that the vow has after-divorce validity are now inapplicable. Since in fact the vow should be valid immediately, but that the Rabbis, by a special decree, strengthened the husband's rights and rendered it valid, it follows that on divorce the law is restored to its proper basis. — In Keth. 59b the text reads: 'the Rabbis strengthened the husband's rights, so that the consecration should not be valid from now'; and the reading of Rashi, Tosaf. and Asheri is the same here too. Cur. edd., however, and also Ran, have the reading as given.
- And on these assumptions he annulled the vow.
- Num. XXX, 9.
- I.e., he must intend to disallow her, not a different person.