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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Nedarim - Chapter 7, Nedarim - Chapter 8, Nedarim - Chapter 9

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Nedarim - Chapter 7

1

When two people are forbidden - by vow or by oath - to derive benefit from each other, they are allowed1 to return a lost article to each other, because doing so is a mitzvah.2 In a place where it is customary for the person who returns a lost article to receive a reward, the reward should be given to the Temple treasury.3 For if [the person who returns the lost article] will take the reward, he will be receiving benefit.4 If he does not take it, he will be giving the other person benefit.5

א

שנים שנאסרה הנאת כל אחד מהן על חבירו בין בנדר בין בשבועה הרי אלו מותרין להחזיר אבידה זה לזה מפני שהוא מצוה ובמקום שדרכן שנוטל שכר המחזיר את האבידה יפול השכר להקדש שאם יטול שכר נמצא נהנה ואם לא יטול נמצא מהנה:

2

They are [both] permitted [to make use of] those entities that are owned jointly by the entire Jewish people,6 e.g., the Temple Mount, its chambers, its courtyards, and a well in the midst of a highway.7 They are forbidden [to make use of] those entities that are owned jointly by all the inhabitants of that city,8 e.g., its marketplace, its bathhouse, its synagogue, its ark, and its holy texts.

ב

ומותרין בדברים שהם בשותפות כל ישראל כגון הר הבית (והלשכות) והעזרות והבאר שבאמצע הדרך ואסורין בדברים שהם בשותפות כל אנשי העיר כגון הרחבה שבעיר והמרחץ ובית הכנסת והתיבה והספרים:

3

What can they do so that they will be permitted to use these entities? Each one of them should sign over his portion to the nasi9 or to another person and have him acquire that portion through the medium of another person.10 Thus when either of them enter a bathhouse belonging to all the members of the city or to the synagogue, he is not entering the property of the colleague [from whom he is forbidden to benefit], for each of them has relinquished his share of the place and given it away as a present.

ג

וכיצד יעשו כדי שיהיו מותרין בדברים אלו כל אחד ואחד משניהם כותב חלקו לנשיא או לאחד משאר העם ומזכה לו בחלקו ע"י אחר ונמצא כל אחד מהם כשיכנס למרחץ שהוא לכל אנשי העיר או לבית הכנסת אינו נכנס לרשות חבירו אלא לרשות אחרים שהרי כל אחד מהם נסתלק מחלקו שבמקום זה ונתנו במתנה:

4

[The following laws apply when] they are both partners in a courtyard.11If it can be divided,12 they are forbidden to enter it unless it is divided and each person enters his portion. If it cannot be divided,13 each one should enter his house, saying: "I am entering my property."14 Regardless,15 they are both forbidden to place a mill or an oven there or to raise chickens in this courtyard.16

ד

היו שניהם שותפין בחצר אם יש בה דין חלוקה הרי אלו אסורין להכנס לה עד שיחלוקו ויכנס כל אחד לחלקו ואם אין בה דין חלוקה כל אחד ואחד נכנס לביתו והוא אומר בתוך שלי אני נכנס ובין כך ובין כך שניהם אסורים להעמיד רחיים ותנור ולגדל תרנגולין בחצר זו:

5

When two people are partners in a courtyard17 and one of them takes an oath that the other may not benefit from him, we force the person who took the oath to sell his portion.18

If he took an oath not to benefit from the other person, he is permitted to enter his home, for he is entering his own domain.19 He may not, however, make any other use of the courtyard, as explained [in the previous halachah].20

ה

שנים שהיו שותפין בחצר ונדר אחד מהן שלא יהנה בו השני כופין את הנודר למכור חלקו נדר שלא יהנה הוא בשני הרי זה מותר להכנס לביתו מפני שברשותו הוא נכנס אבל אינו יכול להשתמש בחצר כמו שבארנו:

6

If a person from outside was forbidden to benefit from either of [the owners of the courtyard],21 he may enter the courtyard,22 for he tells [the person from whom he is forbidden to benefit]: "I am entering your colleague's domain, not yours."

ו

היה אחד מן השוק אסור בהנאת אחד משניהם הרי זה מותר להכנס לחצר מפני שהוא אומר לו לתוך של חבירך אני נכנס איני נכנס לתוך שלך:

7

When a person forbids himself from benefiting from one of the nations, he is permitted to buy [an article] from them at more than the market price and sell to them at less than the market price.23 If he forbids them from benefiting from him, if they are willing, it is permitted for him to purchase from them for less than the market price and sell to them at more than the market price.24 We do not issue a decree forbidding him to sell [at less than the market price], lest he purchase [at less than the market price].25 [The rationale is that] he did not take a vow concerning only one individual, in which instance such a decree would be appropriate, but concerning an entire nation and if it is impossible for him to do business with one person, he will do business with another.26 Therefore, if he forbade himself from benefiting from them, he may lend both articles and money to them, but may not borrow either of these from them.27

ז

מי שאסר הניית אומה מן האומות על עצמו הרי זה מותר ליקח מהן ביותר ולמכור להן בפחות אסר הנייתו עליהם אם שומעין לו שיקח מהן בפחות וימכור ביותר מותר ואין גוזרין כאן שלא ימכור גזירה שמא יקח שהרי לא נדר מאיש אחד כדי שנגזור עליו [אלא] מאומה כולה שאם אי אפשר לו לישא וליתן עם זה ישא ויתן עם אחר לפיכך אם אסר הנייתן עליו הרי זה משאילן ומלוה אותן אבל לא ישאל מהם ולא ילוה מהן:

8

If he forbade them from benefiting from him and himself from benefiting from them, he should not do business with them, nor may they do business with him.28 He may not borrow an article from them or lend an article to them, nor borrow money from them or lend money from them.

ח

אסר הנייתו עליהן והנייתן עליו לא ישא ויתן עמהם וכן לא ישאו הן ויתנו עמו ולא ישאיל להן ולא ילוה מהם ולא ילוה אותן:

9

If he forbade himself from benefiting from the inhabitants of a city, he is forbidden to ask the sage of the city for the repeal of his vow.29 If, however, he did ask him and he released the vow, the vow is released, as explained.30

ט

אסר על עצמו הניית בני העיר אסור להשאל על נדרו לחכם מבני אותה העיר (ההיא) ואם נשאל והתיר לו הרי נדרו מותר כמו שבארנו:

10

When a person forbade himself from benefiting from any other people, he is permitted to derive benefit from leket, shichechah, pe'ah31 and the tithe for the poor that is distributed in the granaries,32 but not that [which is distributed] from one's home.33

י

מי שאסר הניית הבריות עליו הרי זה מותר ליהנות בלקט שכחה ופאה ומעשר עני המתחלק בגרנות אבל לא בתוך הבית:

11

When a person forbade priests or Levites from benefiting from his property, they may come and take the gifts [to be separated from his produce]34 against his will.35

If he says: "These priests and these Levites [are forbidden to benefit from my property,]" they are bound by the prohibition.36 He should give his terumah and tithes to other priests and Levites. Similar laws apply with regard to the gifts for the poor37 and the poor.

יא

מי שאסר הנייתו על הכהנים ועל הלוים הרי אלו באין ונוטלין מתנותיהם על כרחו ואם אמר כהנים אלו ולוים אלו הרי אלו אסורין ויתן תרומותיו ומעשרותיו לכהנים ולוים אחרים והוא הדין במתנות עניים עם העניים:

12

When it is forbidden for a person to benefit a colleague and that colleague has nothing to eat, the person may go to a storekeeper and say: "So-and-so is forbidden to benefit from me and I don't know what to do."38 It is permitted for the storekeeper to go and give [food] to the colleague and take [payment] from that person.39

יב

מי שהיתה הנייתו אסורה על חבירו ואין לחבירו מה יאכל הולך אצל החנוני ואומר איש פלוני אסור בהנייתי ואיני יודע מה אעשה אם הלך החנוני ונתן לו ובא ונטל מזה הרי זה מותר:

13[Similar laws apply]40 if it is necessary to build [that colleague's] house, put up a fence for him, or harvest his field. If the person from whom it was forbidden to benefit approached workers and told them: "So-and-so is forbidden to benefit from me and I don't know what to do,"41 They may then perform these activities, go back to that person, and he may pay them. For he is paying the debt of the colleague and we already explained42 that a person [from whom one is forbidden to benefit] may pay a debt for his colleague.יג

היה ביתו לבנות גדרו לגדור שדהו לקצור והלך אצל פועלים ואמר איש פלוני אסור בהנייתי ואיני יודע מה אעשה והלכו הן ועשו עמו ובאו לזה ונתן להן שכרן הרי זה מותר שנמצא זה שפרע לו חובו וכבר בארנו שזה מותר לפרוע לו חובו:


14

If the two43 were traveling on a journey and [the person who is forbidden to benefit from his colleague] does not have anything to eat, [that colleague] may give [food] to another person as a present and [the person who is forbidden] is then permitted to partake of it.44 If there is no one else with them, [the person whose property is forbidden] should put [food] on a stone and say: "This [food] is considered ownerless for everyone who desires it."45 The other person may then take it and eat.46

יד

היו מהלכין בדרך ואין לו מה יאכל נותן לאחר משום מתנה והלה מותר בה ואם אין עמהם אחר מניח על הסלע ואומר הרי הן מופקרין לכל מי שיחפוץ והלה נוטל ואוכל:

15

If, [however,] he gives a colleague a present [of a feast] and tells him: "This feast is given to you as a present. Let so-and-so who is forbidden to benefit from me come and eat with us," this is forbidden.47 Moreover, even if he gave the present without saying anything, but afterwards48 said: "Do you want so-and-so to come and eat with us?" it is forbidden if it appears that initially, he gave the present solely so that ultimately so-and-so could eat with them. For example, it is a large feast and he wants his father, his teacher, or the like to partake of the feast. For [the size of] the feast indicates that he did not intend to give it to him. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

טו

נתן לאחד מתנה ואמר לו הרי סעודה זו נתונה לך מתנה ויבא פלוני שהוא אסור בהנייתי ויאכל עמנו הרי זה אסור ולא עוד אלא [אפילו] אם נתן לו סתם וחזר ואמר לו רצונך שיבא פלוני ויאכל עמנו אם הוכיח סופו על תחלתו שלא נתן לו אלא על מנת שיבוא פלוני ויאכל אסור כגון שהיתה סעודה גדולה והוא רוצה שיבוא אביו או רבו וכיוצא בהן לאכול מסעודתו שהרי סעודתו מוכחת עליו שלא גמר להקנות לו וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

16

Any present that, were it to be consecrated [by the recipient], the consecration would not be effective, is not considered as a present.49

Whenever a person gives a colleague a present with the stipulation that he transfer it to another person, that other person acquires ownership at the time the first [recipient] transfers it to him.50 If the first recipient does not transfer it to that other person, neither the first, nor the second [recipient] acquires it.51

טז

כל מתנה שאם הקדישה לא תהיה מקודשת אינה מתנה וכל הנותן לזה מתנה על מנת להקנותה לאחר הרי זה האחר קנה בעת שיקנה לו הראשון ואם לא הקנה לו הראשון לאותו אחר לא קנה לא הראשון ולא השני:

17

[The following principle applies when a person's son-in-law is forbidden to benefit from him and he desires to give his daughter money so that she can benefit from it and spend it as she desires.52 He should give her a present and say: "This money53 is given to you as a present on the condition that your husband has no authority over it.54 Instead, it shall be used for what you put in your mouth, what you cloth yourself, and the like."55 Even if he said: "...on the condition that your husband has no authority over it. Instead, it shall be used for whatever you want to do with it,"56 the husband does not acquire it and she may do what she desires with it.

If, however, he gave her a present and told her. "...on the condition that your husband has no authority over it," but did not specify the purpose for which the present was being given or even did not say that it was intended for whatever she desires, the husband acquires it to derive benefit from it.57 This would be forbidden, because he is forbidden to benefit from his father-in-law.58

יז

מי שנאסרה הנייתו על בעל בתו והוא רוצה לתת לבתו מעות כדי שתהיה נהנית בהן ומוציאה אותן בחפציה הרי זה נותן לה ואומר לה הרי המעות האלו נתונין לך במתנה ובלבד שלא יהא לבעליך רשות בהן אלא יהיו למה שאת נותנת לפיך או למה שתלבשי וכיוצא בזה ואפילו אמר לה על מנת שאין לבעליך רשות בהן אלא מה שתרצי עשי בהן לא קנה הבעל ומה שתרצה תעשה בהן אבל אם נתן לה מתנה ואמר לה על מנת שאין לבעליך רשות בהן ולא פירש שתהיה המתנה הזאת לכך ולכך או למה שתרצה תעשה בהן הרי קנה אותה הבעל לאכול פירותיה ודבר זה אסור שהרי הוא אסור בהניית חותנו:

Footnotes
1.

And since they are allowed, they are obligated.

2.

For he is not returning it as a favor to him, but instead, in fulfillment of the Torah's command [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 4:2).

3.

Or, in the present age, to charity. This is preferable to destroying it.

4.

I.e., he will be returning it for the sake of the reward and not for the sake of the mitzvah (ibid.).

5.

For ordinarily the person would pay a reward for the return of the lost article.

6.

Technically, the other person has a share in these places, for they are owned communally. Nevertheless, since each person's individual share is so small, these places are considered as if they are ownerless and not as communal property (see ibid. 5:4).

7.

I.e.., a well built for the pilgrims' journey to Jerusalem from Babylon for the pilgrimage festivals (ibid.).

8.

For in this instance, each person's share is greater and more distinct.

The Ramban and the Ran object to the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that this ruling does not apply with regard to an entity like a synagogue that cannot be divided. In such an instance, it is considered as a communal entity and the person who took the vow is allowed to make use of it. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 224:1) quotes both views. See the Lechem Mishneh and the Turei Zahav 224:1 who elaborate in support of the Rambam's position.

9.

The leader of the Jewish people. He is mentioned, because it is very unlikely that he will forbid a member of the people from using his property (Nedarim 48a).

10.

I.e., the person acquiring the portion need not know about his acquisition. We follow the principle that a person can acquire property without his knowledge if it is to his benefit to do so (see Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 4:2).

11.

In the Talmudic era, it was common that several houses would open up to a courtyard that was the combined property of the homeowners. In this halachah, we are speaking of an instance where two of those homeowners took vows forbidding them to benefit from each other.

12.

See Hilchot Shechenim 2:1 which states that if after the division of a courtyard, each of the homeowners will receive a plot of land four cubits by four cubits as his individual property, the courtyard should be divided if one of the neighbors requests that this be done.

13.

I.e., if it were to be divided, the homeowners would not receive a portion of land that size.

14.

Rabbenu Nissim explains this ruling based on the principle of bereirah, i.e., retroactively, it becomes apparent that when he enters the courtyard, he is entering property that was designated as his. We are forced to accept this definition (even though generally, the principle of bereirah is not followed in questions of Scriptural Law), for there is no alternative in this instance. The person has a right to the courtyard and he cannot be forbidden from using his own property. See Siftei Cohen 226:4, Turei Zahav 226:1.

15.

Whether it cannot be divided or whether it can be divided, but was not divided yet.

16.

Bava Batra 57b relates that partners in a courtyard have the right to prevent each other from performing such activities. Although most partners do not exercise this right, in this instance, by failing to exercise the right, one is providing benefit to the other person (Rabbenu Nissim).

17.

I.e., a courtyard to small for the owners to divide.

18.

His vow imposes unnecessary hardship on the other person who has a legitimate right to the property. Hence, we compel him to sell his share of the courtyard rather than put his colleague in a situation where he might transgress.

19.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 226:2) states that the person who took the vow is forbidden to enter the courtyard. The rationale is that the Rambam's understanding is accepted, except that an additional stringency is applied, lest the person remain in the courtyard for other purposes besides entering and departing his home (Siftei Cohen 226:10).

20.

We do not force him to sell his portion of the courtyard because he is causing difficulty only to himself and he is willing to abide by his prohibition (Radbaz).

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, citing Nedarim 46a as support for his understanding. He mentions that the Jerusalem Talmud (Nedarim 5:2) appears to support the Rambam's interpretation, but states that we should abide by the principle that whenever there is a difference of opinion between the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, the perspective of the Babylonian Talmud should be followed. See the Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh who try to reconcile the differences in the positions of the two Talmuds. As mentioned, the Shulchan Aruch follows the Rambam's understanding, but is even more stringent.

21.

This is speaking about a courtyard that is too small to require division (Radbaz).

22.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 226:1) states that this applies only when the other owner of the courtyard needs that person. Otherwise, he is forbidden to enter.

23.

For thus he is suffering a loss every time he deals with them.

24.

For they are suffering a loss every time they deal with him.

25.

As a decree was made with regard to an individual. See Chapter 6, Halachah 16.

26.

I.e., with regard to one individual, there is room for stringency, but this stringency is not required with regard to an entire nation, for there is (Radbaz).

27.

I.e., we do not make a decree like we do with regard to an individual (Siftei Cohen 227:7).

28.

For one of them, either they or he will be benefiting from the sale.

29.

For this is a benefit that he is receiving.

30.

For when a sage releases a vow, it is as if it never existed. Hence, it is as if he were never forbidden to approach the sage. See Chapter 4, Halachah 13, and notes.

31.

Leket refers to crops that drop from a reaper's hand in the field. He is forbidden to pick them up again, but instead must leave them for the poor (Leviticus 19:10). Shichechah refers to crops or bundles forgotten in the field by accident. The harvesters may not return and collect, but must instead leave them for the poor (Deuteronomy 24:19). Pe'ah refers to a corner of the field which must be left unharvested, so that it could be harvested by the poor (Leviticus 19:9). See Hilchot Matanot Aniyim chs. 1,4, and 5 where these mitzvot are discussed.

32.

In the third year of the six-year agricultural, instead of taking the second tithe to be eaten in Jerusalem in a state of holiness, it is given to the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28; Hilchot Matanot Aniyim ch. 6). The person who took the vow is allowed to benefit from these crops, because the owner of the field is not considered as giving him anything of his own. Instead, he is fulfilling a mitzvah.

33.

Nedarim 83-84a explains this distinction. When the tithe for the poor is distributed in the granaries, it may be taken by a poor person without asking. The owner does not have the right to decided to whom he will give it. If, however, he has already brought produce from the tithe for the poor home, he has the right to choose to whom to give it.

34.

I.e., the tithes that must be given to the Levites and terumah which must be given to the priests.

35.

Since he is obligated to give these presents to the priests and Levites, he has no choice in the matter and must make these gifts. Generally, a person is allowed to decide which Levite and which priest, he desires to give these gifts to. In this instance, however, since he forbade all priests from benefiting from his property, there is no one to whom he can give it. Hence his right to decide is taken from him and any priest or Levite can come and take the portions.

36.

Since the terumah and tithes may be given to others, there is no reason to take away the person's right to distribute them as he desires, for that right is of financial value (Nedarim 84b).

37.

E.g., those mentioned in the previous halachah. See Siftei Cohen 227:9 and Turei Zahav 227:3 who rule that this concept also applies with regard to charity.

38.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 221:8) is even more lenient and states that he may say: "Anyone who sustains so-and-so will not suffer a loss," for he is still merely intimating that one should support him. He may not say: "Whoever hears my voice should sustain so-and-so," for that it a direct command. Nor may he tell one person: "If you sustain so-and-so, you will not suffer a loss," for then it appears as if he is appointing him as an agent for this purpose.

39.

Since the person did not charge the storekeeper with providing the colleague with food, he is not responsible for the account [Rama (Yoreh De'ah 221:8)]. If he, nevertheless, chooses to pay it, he is not considered to have given benefit to that colleague.

40.

The Kessef Mishneh states that the two instances are not entirely analogous, for the first involves providing the person with food necessary for his livelihood, while the second involves the performance of a task that is important, but not vital for him. Perhaps this is the reason why in the preceding halachah, the Rambam stated: "The person may go to a storekeeper," i.e., he is permitted as an initial and preferred option. In this halachah, by contrast, he states: "If the person... approached workers," i.e., the Rambam is describing a law that applies after the fact, but not initially.

41.

The Radbaz explains that although the previous law was mentioned, it is also necessary to state this law, because it is uncommon for workers to extend credit on money do them. This is, by contrast, a common practice for storekeepers.

42.

Chapter 6, Halachah 4.

43.

I.e., a person who took a vow not to benefit from a person and that person.

44.

Giving a present is not permitted in the situations described in the previous halachot, because there are other alternatives. Hence it is considered as too great a leniency. In this situation, there is no other alternative and therefore it is permitted. See Siftei Cohen 221:52.

45.

Generally, according to Rabbinic Law, there must be three people present when an object is declared ownerless. In this instance, however, since there is no other alternative, we do not require anything more than required by Scriptural Law (Siftei Cohen 221:53).

46.

For then he is not partaking of the property of the person from whom he is forbidden to benefit, but from ownerless property.

47.

For he is obviously making this gift solely so that the other person may partake of it. If it is a large feast, it is obvious that a person is not preparing it for the sake of giving it to a colleague. Nedarim 48b gives as an example, an instance where a person's father was forbidden to benefit from him. When he made a wedding feast for his son, he tried to employ this tactic to enable his father to attend.

48.

The Kessef Mishneh states that there are opinions that maintain that this law applies only when the statements were made immediately after giving the feast. The wording chosen by the Rambam, however, indicates that the law applies even if he makes the statements later. The interpretation of the Kessef Mishneh is borne out by the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 5:5).

49.

I.e., the giver tells the recipient: "I did not give you the present so that you could consecrate it."

Nedarim, loc. cit., states this principle in continuation of the above story. After the son gave the wedding feast to a colleague so that his father could attend, that colleague consecrated it. When the giver, protested saying that he had not given it to him for that purpose, the recipient complained that he was not going to serve as a medium to allow the first person to break his vow. When the Sages were asked to rule about this situation, they stated the principle mentioned by the Rambam here.

50.

I.e., we do not say that since the first recipient is going to give to the second, the second acquires it when it is acquired by the first. This is not a situation where the first recipient is acting as an agent for the second. Instead, he acquires it first on his own behalf and then transfers it to the other person.

51.

The first does not acquire it, because it was given to him only on condition that it be transferred to the second. Since that condition was not fulfilled, his own acquisition is not binding (see Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 3:6). The second person does not acquire it, because ownership was never transferred to him.

52.

Ordinarily, whatever a woman acquires immediately is given to her husband's jurisdiction. While she remains the legal owner, he has the legal right to control it and use the profits as he sees fit. In this instance, this would be forbidden for the son-in-law is prohibited against benefiting from his father-in-law, as the Rambam states in the conclusion of the halachah.

53.

If he gives her the food itself, it is not necessary to make any stipulations (Radbaz, Siftei Cohen 222:1).

54.

Tosafot Yom Tov (Nedarim 11:8) states that from Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 3:13, it appears that the inclusion of this part of the statement is not an absolute necessity. As long as he specifies that the present is being given for a specific purpose alone, the husband does not acquire rights to it. Rav Yosef Caro does not accept this option, however, in his Kessef Mishneh and quotes the Rambam's wording from this halachah in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 222:1; see Siftei Cohen 222:2).

55.

Since the father has designated the money for a specific purpose, it may be used only for that and thus the son never acquires a right to it. The rationale is closely related to the concept of a vow. Just as a vow can determine how property may be used even after it leaves the domain of the person who took the vow, so, too, the father can determine how his property may be used even after it leaves his domain.

This ruling teaches that even though it is to the husband's benefit that his wife eats or is clothed - indeed, he is responsible to provide for these needs of hers - the husband is not considered to have benefited from this present (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Nedarim 11:8).

56.

In this instance, even though the specific purpose for which the present was given was not stated at the outset, when the woman decides what she desires to do with the present, retroactively, it is as if it was given for that purpose alone.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam concerning this point, noting that although the law stated in the first clause is accepted by all authorities, the one stated in this clause is the subject of a difference of opinion between the Sages Rav and Shmuel in Nedarim 88b. The Rambam's ruling follows the opinion of Shmuel although generally, with regard to matters involving the Torah's prohibitions, the halachah follows that of Rav. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh state that other Rishonim also follow Shmuel's perspective and give logical support for it. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 222:1) quotes both views without stating which should be followed.

57.

See Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 3:13. The rationale is that the giver does not have the prerogative of negating the rights given the husband by the Rabbis.

58.

Nevertheless, the present is binding. The husband should purchase something that brings income with the money. That article belongs to his wife. He should give the proceeds to charity, since he is not allowed to benefit from them (Radbaz)

Nedarim - Chapter 8

1

When a person takes a vow or an oath and at the time of the vow or the oath specifies a stipulation for which he is making the vow, it is as if he made the vow or the oath dependent on that matter. If the stipulation for which he took the oath is not fulfilled, he is permitted [to act is if the oath had never been taken].1

א

מי שנדר או נשבע ופירש בשעת נדרו דבר שנדר או נשבע בגללו הרי זה כמי שתלה נדרו או שבועתו באותו דבר ואם לא נתקיים אותו דבר שנשבע בגללו הרי זה מותר:

2

What is implied? If he took an oath or vow saying: "I will not marry this-and-this woman whose father is evil" or "I will not enter this house, because there is a harmful dog within it," if they died or the father repented, he may [do so]. This is comparable to someone who says "I will not marry so-and-so..." or "...not enter this house unless the harmful factor is removed."2 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ב

כיצד נדר או נשבע שאיני נושא אשה פלונית שאביה רע שאיני נכנס לבית זה שכלב רע בתוכו מתו או שעשה האב תשובה הרי זה מותר שזה כמי שנדר או נשבע ואמר שלא אשא פלונית ולא אכנס לבית זה אלא אם נסתלק ההיזק וכל כל כיוצא בזה:

3

[A different rationale applies] when one takes a vow or an oath: "I will not marry so-and-so who is ugly," and it is discovered that she is beautiful,3 "...who is dark-skinned," and it is discovered that she is light-skinned, "...who is short," and it is discovered that she is tall, or "I am taking a vow that my wife shall not benefit from me, because she took my wallet and beat my son," and it was discovered that she did not take it or beat him. He is permitted, because the vow was taken in error. It is included among the category of inadvertent vows that are permitted.4 This does not resemble an instance where the vow was made dependent on a stipulation and that stipulation was not kept.5 For the reason for which the vow was taken never applied. Instead, it was an error [of perception].

ג

אבל הנודר או הנשבע שאיני נושא פלונית הכעורה ונמצאת נאה שחורה ונמצאת לבנה קצרה ונמצאת ארוכה קונם שאין אשתי נהנית לי שגנבה את כיסי ושהכתה את בני ונודע שלא גנבה ושלא הכתה הרי זה מותר מפני שהוא נדר טעות והוא בכלל נדרי שגגות שהן מותרין ואין זה כתולה נדרו בדבר ולא נתקיים הדבר שהרי הסבה שבגללה נדר לא היתה מצויה וטעות היה:

4

Moreover,6 even if a person saw from a distance that people were partaking of his figs and he said [concerning] them: "They are like a sacrifice for you,"7 but when he came close to them and looked [at them], he saw that they were his father and his brothers, they are permitted [to partake of them]. Even though he did not explicitly state the reason why he took a vow [forbidding] them, it is as if he did. For it is obvious that he forbade his produce to them only because he thought they were people at large.8 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ד

ולא עוד אלא מי שראה אנשים מרחוק אוכלים תאנים שלו ואמר להן הרי הן עליכם קרבן כיון שקרב אליהם והביט והרי הן אביו ואחיו הרי אלו מותרין אף על פי שלא פירש הסבה שהדירן בגללה הרי זה כמו שפירש שהדבר מוכיח שלא אסר עליהם אלא שהיה בדעתו שהן זרים וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

5

When a person took a vow or an oath and then a factor came up that was not in his mind at the time he took the oath or the vow, he is forbidden [in the matter] until he requests a sage to release his vow.

What is implied? A person forbade himself from benefiting from so-and-so or from entering this-and-this place and that person became the city scribe9 or a synagogue was made at that place.10 Even though he said "If I knew that this person would become the scribe or that in this place a synagogue would be made, I would not have taken the vow or the oath," he is forbidden to benefit [from the person] or enter the place until he has his vow released, as we explained.11 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ה

מי שנדר או נשבע ונולד לו דבר שלא היה בלבו בשעת השבועה או בשעת הנדר הרי זה אסור עד שישאל לחכם ויתיר את נדרו כיצד אסר את עצמו בהניית פלוני או שלא יכנס למקום פלוני ונעשה אותו האיש סופר ואותו מקום בית הכנסת אף על פי שהוא אומר אילו הייתי יודע שזה נעשה סופר ובמקום זה יעשה בית הכנסת לא הייתי נודר או נשבע הרי זה אסור ליהנות ולהכנס עד שיתיר נדרו כמו שבארנו וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

6

Whenever a portion of a vow is nullified, the entire vow is nullified.12 This law also applies with regard to oaths.

What is implied? A person saw from a distance that people were partaking of his figs and he said [concerning] them: "They are like a sacrifice for you," but when he came close to them and looked [at them], he saw that they were his father and people at large. Since his father is permitted [to partake of them],13 they are all permitted.14 Even if he said: "So-and-so and so-and-so are forbidden and my father is permitted, they are all permitted.15

If, however, when he reached them he said: "If I would have known that my father is with you, I would have said: 'You are all forbidden [to partake of my produce], except my father,' they are all forbidden except his father. For he revealed his intent was not to release a portion of his vow,16 but to make a vow as he did, but to make a stipulation concerning his father.17

ו

כל נדר שהותר מקצתו הותר כולו והוא הדין בשבועה כיצד ראה אנשים מרחוק אוכלין פירותיו ואמר הרי הן עליכם קרבן וכשהגיע אליהם והנה הם אביו ואנשים זרים הואיל ואביו מותר כולן מותרין ואפילו אמר אילו הייתי יודע כן הייתי אומר פלוני ופלוני אסורין ואבי מותר הרי כולן מותרין אבל אם אומר כשהגיע אליהן אילו הייתי יודע שאבי ביניכם הייתי אומר כולכם אסורין חוץ מאבי הרי כולן אסורין חוץ מאביו שהרי גלה דעתו שלא התיר מקצת הנדר אלא כמו שנדר היה נודר ומתנה על אביו:

7

Similar [laws apply] when one says: "Wine is like a sacrifice18 for me, because wine is bad for digestion," but he was told: "Aged wine is good for digestion." If he said: "Had I known, I would not have taken the vow" or even: "Had I known, I would have said: 'Fresh wine is forbidden, but aged wine is permitted,' he is permitted [to drink] both fresh wine and aged wine.19 If, however, he said: "Had I known, I would have said: 'All wine is forbidden for me except aged wine,' he is permitted [to drink] only aged wine.20Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ז

וכן האומר היין קרבן עלי מפני שהיין רע לבני מעיים ואמרו לו הרי המיושן יפה לבני מעיים אם אמר אילו הייתי יודע לא הייתי נודר ואפילו אמר אילו הייתי יודע הייתי אומר החדש אסור והישן מותר מותר בישן ובחדש אבל אם אמר אילו הייתי יודע הייתי אומר כל היינות אסורין עלי חוץ מן המיושן הרי זה מותר במיושן בלבד וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

8

Whenever a person takes a vow or an oath, we consider the motivating factor for the oath or the vow and extrapolate from it what the person's intent was. We follow his intent, not the literal meaning of his words.21

What is implied? He was carrying a load of wool or of linen and was perspiring, causing a foul odor. If he took an oath or a vow that he would never have wool or linen upon him again, he is permitted to wear woolen or linen clothes and cover himself with them. He is only forbidden to carry them on his back like a burden.

If he was wearing woolen clothing and became aggravated because of these garments and took an oath or a vow that he would never have wool upon him again, he is forbidden to wear [woolen clothes], but is permitted to carry wool and to cover himself with woolen spreads. For he intended only [to forbid] woolen clothes. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ח

כל הנודר או נשבע רואין דברים שבגללן נשבע או נדר ולמדין מהן לאי זה נתכוון והולכין אחר הענין לא אחר כל משמע הדבור כיצד היה טעון משא של צמר או של פשתים והזיע והיה ריחו קשה ונשבע או נדר שלא יעלה עליו צמר או פשתים לעולם הרי זה מותר ללבוש בגדי צמר או פשתים ולכסותן ואינו אסור אלא להפשילן לאחוריו היה לבוש בגדי צמר ונצטער בלבישתן ונשבע או נדר שלא יעלה עליו צמר לעולם אסור ללבוש ומותר לטעון עליו ומותר להתכסות בגיזי צמר שלא נתכוון זה אלא לבגד צמר וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

9

[Similar laws apply if] people were asking him to marry his relative,22 but he refused and they pressured him, so he took a vow or an oath that she could not benefit from him forever. Alternatively, a person divorced his wife and took an oath that she would never benefit from him. These women are permitted to derive [ordinary] benefit from him. His intent was that only [to prevent himself from] marrying them.

ט

היו מבקשין ממנו שישא קרובתו והוא ממאן ופרצו בו ונדר או נשבע שלא תהנה בו לעולם וכן המגרש את אשתו ונשבע או נדר שלא תהנה בו לעולם הרי אלו מותרות ליהנות לו שאין כוונתו אלא לשם אישות:

10

Similarly, if a person called to his friend, [inviting him] to eat at his [home] and he took an oath or a vow not to enter his home or even drink cold water of his, he is permitted to enter his home and drink his water. His intent was only that he would not eat and drink with him at that feast.23 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

י

וכן הקורא לחבירו שיסעוד אצלו ומיאן ונשבע או נדר שלא יכנס לביתו ולא ישתה לו טפת צונן הרי זה מותר להכנס לביתו ולשתות לו צונן שלא נתכוון זה אלא שלא יאכל וישתה עמו בסעודה זו וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

11

When a person takes a vow or an oath, telling a colleague: "I will never enter your house" or "...buy your field," and [that colleague] dies or sells [the property] to someone else, [the person who took the vow] is permitted to enter the house or purchase the field from the heir or from the purchaser.24 His intent [when establishing the prohibition] was only for the time they belonged to [the original owner].25

If, by contrast, he said: "I will never enter this house" or "I will never purchase this field," even if [the original owner] dies or sells [the property] to someone else, [the person who took the vow] is forbidden.26

יא

האומר לחבירו קונם לביתך אני נכנס ושדך אני לוקח בין בנדר בין בשבועה ומת או מכרן לאחר הרי זה מותר להכנס לבית וליקח השדה מן היורש או מן הלוקח שלא נתכוון זה אלא כל זמן שהן ברשותו אבל אם אמר לבית הזה איני נכנס ושדה זה איני לוקח ומת או מכרן לאחר הרי זה אסור:

12

[The following laws apply when a person] asks a colleague: "Lend me your cow," he answers him: "She is not free," and [the first person] takes an oath or a vow,27 saying: "I will never plow my field with it." If he is accustomed to plowing his field himself, he is forbidden to plow [his field with that cow], but any other person is permitted to plow [his field] with it.28 If he is not accustomed to plowing his field himself, both he and everyone else is forbidden to plow [his field] with it.29Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

יב

האומר לחבירו השאילני פרתך אמר לו אינה פנויה נשבע או נדר ואמר קונם שדי איני חורש בה לעולם אם היה דרכו לחרוש בידו הוא אסור וכל אדם מותרין לחרוש לו בה ואם אין דרכו לחרוש בידו הוא וכל אדם אסורין וכן כל כיוצא בדברים אלו:

13

When a person takes an oath or a vow that he will marry a woman, purchase a house,30 depart with a caravan, or set out to sea, we do not obligate him to marry, make the purchase, or set out immediately. Instead, he may wait until he finds something appropriate for himself.

An incident occurred concerning a woman who took a vow that she would marry anyone who asked her to marry him. Men who were not appropriate for her jumped at the opportunity. Our Sages ruled that her intent was [to marry] anyone from among those appropriate for her who asked her. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

יג

מי שנשבע או נדר שישא אשה או שיקנה בית או שיצא בשיירא או יפרוש בים אין מחייבין אותו לישא אשה או לקנות או לצאת מיד אלא עד שימצא דבר ההגון לו מעשה באשה שנדרה שכל מי שיתבע אותה תנשא לו וקפצו עליה בני אדם שאינן הגונין לה ואמרו חכמים לא נתכוונה זו אלא לכל מי שיתבע אותה מן ההגונין לה וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

14

When a person administers a vow to a colleague or takes an oath telling him to come and take a kor of wheat or two barrels of wine for his son, [the colleague] can release the vow without asking a sage to do so. [He need only] say: "Your intent was only to honor me.31 It is a greater token of respect for me not to take [the gift].32 I already received the honor that you desired to give me through your vow."

Similarly, if one took an oath or a vow: "You may not derive any benefit from me until you give my son a kor of wheat and two barrels of wine, he can release the vow without asking a sage to do so. [He need only] say: "It is as if I received them and they reached my hand." Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

יד

המדיר את חבירו או שנשבע ואמר לו שתבוא ותטול לבניך כור אחד חטים או שתי חביות של יין הרי זה יכול להתיר נדרו בלא שאלה לחכם ויאמר לו כלום נתכוונת אלא לכבדני כבודי שלא אטול וכבר הגיע אלי כבוד שנדרת בשבילי וכן הנודר או הנשבע שאין אתה נהנה לי אם אין אתה נותן לבני כור של חטים ושתי חביות של יין הרי זה יכול להתיר נדרו שלא בשאלת חכם ויאמר הריני כאילו נתקבלתי והגיעו לידי וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

Footnotes
1.

He need not seek the release of the oath (Radbaz). This law applies with regard to vows as well.

2.

Even though the father dies or repents after the vow was taken, with his death or repentance, the vow is nullified, because the conditions under which it was taken no longer apply.

3.

If, however, she was ugly at the time the vow was taken, but was made beautiful, the vow takes effect [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 232:6)].

4.

See Chapter 4, Halachah 1, which states that such vows are not binding.

5.

As described in the first two halachot.

6.

I.e., the previous halachah describes an instance where one explicitly stated the condition under which he took the vow. This halachah, by contrast, describes a situation where the condition is not stated, but is self-apparent.

7.

Which would cause them to be forbidden to eat the figs.

8.

And thus the vow was taken in error.

9.

And everyone in the city needs the scribe to compose legal documents for him. Hence, he no longer desires to be forbidden to benefit from him.

10.

And everyone desires to be able to enter the local synagogue.

11.

Hilchot Sh'vuot 6:5, 12. As stated there, the vow was not made initially in error, for at the outset, he did not desire that the person become the scribe. Hence, the oath takes effect.

The Ra'avad suggests that the statement from Halachah 3: "This does not resemble an instance where the vow was made dependent on a stipulation and that stipulation was not kept" should be included here, for this is a different category of vows than those mentioned in the previous halachot.

12.

The Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 1:1 derives this from the exegesis of Numbers 30:3: "He shall do all that he utters from his mouth." Implied is that everything that he utters must be fulfilled or the vow does not take effect. Rabbenu Nissim gives a logical explanation for this concept. At the outset, his intent was that the vow would be kept in its entirety. If a factor arose that prevented that from taking place, it is as if the vow was taken in error.

13.

As explained in Halachah 4.

14.

Because the prohibition against them was mentioned in the same vow.

15.

Because the vow was taken against all of the persons together. Hence, it cannot be nullified only in part.

16.

For even when qualifying his statement, he still says that all of the individuals are forbidden, indicating that he did not desire to retract his original statement (Kessef Mishneh). In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 232:8), Rav Yosef Caro appears to follow a slightly different rationale.

17.

I.e., that the prohibition would not include his father.

18.

I.e., forbidden.

19.

The portion of the vow involving aged wine is nullified, because it was taken in error. And accordingly, the portion involving fresh wine is also nullified, based on the principle stated in the previous halachah.

20.

For he did not seek to nullify his former vow, merely to qualify it, as stated in the conclusion of the previous halachah.

21.

The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 218:1) emphasizes that this applies when a person takes a vow on his own initiative. If, however, he takes a vow in response to wording chosen by a colleague, we follow the meaning of that wording.

22.

For it is desirable that a person marry his relatives (see Yevamot 62b).

23.

The Radbaz states that he is even permitted to enter his home at the time of the feast.

24.

For it is no longer the colleague's house or field (Siftei Cohen 216:10).

25.

As emphasized by the fact that he said: "Your house" and "Your field."

26.

For in this instance, the vow was not associated with the owner of the property, but with the property itself. Compare to Chapter 5, Halachot 4-5.

27.

As an expression of resentment for the owner's refusal (Kessef Mishneh).

28.

Since he is accustomed to plowing his field himself, we assume that his vow applied only to his own actions.

29.

Since he is not accustomed to plowing his field himself, we interpret his vow as meaning that he would never have another person plow the field with it.

30.

Although the standard published text of Bava Kama 80a mentions purchasing a house or marrying a woman in Eretz Yisrael, the commentaries [nor the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 219:1)] see no reason why the Holy Land is different from other places in this regard.

31.

By giving me a present in public.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 332:20) states that the person who administered the vow need not explicitly agree to this interpretation. Even if he remains silent, we accept it. The Siftei Cohen 332:46 states that if the person specifically says that he administered the vow so that he would receive honor by having the other person receive a gift from him, his word is accepted and a sage must be approached to have the vow released.

32.

For people seeing that I demur will respect me more.

Nedarim - Chapter 9

1

With regard to vows, we follow the intent of the words people use at that place, in that language, and at that time when the vow or oath was taken.1

What is implied? A person took a vow or an oath not [to partake of] cooked food. If it was customary in that place in that language and at that time to call roasted meat and boiled meat2 also cooked food, he is forbidden to partake of all types of cooked food. If they were accustomed to use the term cooked food only to refer to meat cooked with water and spices, he is permitted [to partake of] roasted meat or boiled meat. Similarly, with regard to smoked food or food cooked in the hot springs of Tiberias. We follow the terminology used by the people of that city.

א

בנדרים הלך אחר לשון בני אדם באותו מקום ובאותו לשון ובאותו זמן שנדר או נשבע בו כיצד נדר או נשבע מן המבושל אם דרך אותו מקום באותו לשון באותו זמן שקוראין מבושל אפילו לצלי ולשלוק ה"ז אסור בכל ואם אין דרכם לקרות מבושל אלא לבשר שנתבשל במים ובתבלין הרי זה מותר בצלי ובשלוק וכן המעושן והמבושל בחמי טבריא וכיוצא בהן הולכין בו אחר הלשון של בני העיר:

2

[The following rules apply if a person] took a vow or an oath not to partake of salted foods. If it is customary to call all salted foods "salted food," he is forbidden to partake of all of them.3 If it is customary to use the term "salted food" to refer only to salted fish, he is only forbidden to partake of salted fish.

ב

נדר או נשבע מן המליח אם דרכם לקרות מליח לכל המלוחין הרי זה אסור בכל המלוחין ואם אין דרכם לקרות מליח אלא לדג מליח בלבד אינו אסור אלא בדג מליח:

3

[The following rules apply if a person] took a vow or an oath not to partake of pickled foods. If it is customary to call all pickled foods "pickled food," he is forbidden to partake of all of them.4 If it is customary to use the term "pickled food" to refer only to pickled vegetables, he is only forbidden to partake of pickled vegetables. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ג

נדר או נשבע מן הכבוש אם דרכם לקרות כבוש לכל הכבושים הרי זה אסור בכל ואם אין דרכם לקרות כבוש אלא לירק כבוש בלבד אינו אסור אלא בכבוש של ירק וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

4

If some of the people would refer to food with one term and others would not use that term, we do not follow [the practice of] the majority. Instead, it is considered an unresolved question with regard to his vow. And whenever there is an unresolved question with regard to a vow, we rule stringently.5 If one violates the vow, however, he is not worthy of lashes.6

ד

היו מקצת בני המקום קורין לו כך ומקצתם אין קורין אין הולכין אחר הרוב אלא הרי זה ספק נדרים וכל ספק נדרים להחמיר ואם עבר אינו לוקה:

5

What is implied? A person takes a vow [not to partake] of oil in a place where both olive oil and sesame seed oil are used. When most people from that place use the term "oil" without any modifier, they mean olive oil. When they refer to sesame seed oil, they call it "sesame seed oil." A minority of the populace, however, also refer to sesame seed oil with the term "oil" without a modifier. [Hence,] he is forbidden to partake of both of them, but is not liable for lashes for [partaking of] sesame seed oil. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ה

כיצד נדר מן השמן במקום שמסתפקין בשמן זית ובשמן שומשמין ורוב אנשי המקום אין קורין שמן סתם אלא לשמן זית וקורין לשמן שומשמין שמן שומשמין ומיעוטם קורין אף לשמן שומשמין שמן סתם הרי זה אסור בשניהם ואינו לוקה על שמן שומשמין וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

6

Whenever an agent in a given locale would have to question [the principal if that was his intent], it is considered in the category of the substance that was mentioned to the agent when [the term is mentioned] without a modifier.

What is implied? In a place where if a person would send an agent to buy meat without using a modifier to describe the term, the agent would tell him: "I found only fish [being sold],"7 [a person who took a vow not to partake of meat] is forbidden to partake of fish as well.8 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

In all places, a person who takes a vow [not to partake] of meat is forbidden to partake of fowl and of the entrails,9 but is permitted to partake of grasshoppers.10 If it appears that at the time he took the vow, his intent was only to forbid meat from an animal - or meat from an animal and fowl - he is permitted [to partake] of fish even in a place where an agent would question [if fish would be considered as meat].11

ו

כל דבר שדרך שליח באותו מקום להמלך עליו הרי הוא בכלל המין שנאמר לשליח סתם כיצד מקום שדרכן אם ישלח אדם שליח לקנות לו בשר סתם אמר לו לא מצאתי אלא דגים אם נשבע או נדר במקום זה מן הבשר נאסר אף בבשר דגים וכן כל כיוצא בזה ובכ"מ הנודר מן הבשר אסור בבשר עופות ובקרבים ומותר בחגבים ואם מראין הדברים בעת שנדר שלא נתכוון אלא בבשר בהמה בלבד [או לבשר עוף ובהמה בלבד] הרי זה מותר בבשר דגים ואפילו במקום שהשליח נמלך עליהן:

7

When a person takes a vow against partaking of cooked food, he is permitted to partake of an egg that has not been cooked until it hardens, but has merely been soft-boiled.12 When a person takes a vow [not to partake of food] boiled lightly in a pot,13 he is only forbidden [to partake] of those foods that are boiled in a pot, e.g., groats, dumplings, and the like.14 If he forbade himself from partaking of anything placed in a pot, he is forbidden to partake of all food cooked in a pot.

ז

הנודר מן המבושל מותר בביצה שלא נתבשלה עד שקפתה אלא נתגלגלה בלבד הנודר ממעשה קדרה אינו אסור אלא מדברים שמרתיחין אותן בקדרה כגון ריפות ולביבות וכיוצא בהן אסר עצמו מכל היורד לקדרה הרי זה אסור בכל המתבשלין בקדרה:

8

A person who vows [not to partake] of fish is permitted to partake of brine and a dip made with fish oil.15 A person who vows [not to partake] of milk is permitted to partake of the whey, i.e., the liquid that is separated from the milk. If he vows [not to partake] of whey, he is permitted to partake of milk. If he vows [not to partake] of cheese, he is forbidden to partake of both salted cheese and unsalted cheese.16

ח

הנודר מן הדגים מותר בציר ובמורייס של דגים הנודר מן החלב מותר בקום והוא המים המובדלין מן החלב נדר מן הקום מותר בחלב נדר מן הגבינה אסור בה בין מלוחה בין תפלה:

9

A person who vows not to partake of grains of wheat is forbidden to partake of wheat kernels whether they are fresh or cooked. If he says: "Neither wheat, nor grains of wheat will I taste,"17 he is forbidden to partake of either flour or bread. "I will not taste wheat," he is forbidden to partake of baked goods, but permitted to chew kernels of wheat. If he states: "I will not partake of grains of wheat," he is permitted to partake of baked goods, but forbidden to chew kernels of wheat. If he says: "Neither wheat, nor grains of wheat will I taste," he is forbidden to partake of baked goods, nor may he chew kernels of wheat. When a person takes a vow forbidding himself from partaking of grain, he is forbidden only [to partake of] the five species.18

ט

הנודר מן החטים אסור בהן בין חיין בין מבושלין חטה חטים שאני טועם אסור בהן בין קמח בין פת חטה שאני טועם אסור באפוי ומותר לכוס חטים שאני טועם מותר באפוי ואסור לכוס חטה חטים שאני טועם אסור בין באפוי בין לכוס והנודר מן הדגן או מן התבואה אינו אסור אלא בחמשת המינין:

10

When a person takes a vow [not to partake of] green vegetables, he is permitted to partake of squash.19 If he takes a vow [not to partake of] leek, he is permitted to partake of the poret.20

If a person takes a vow [not to partake of] cabbage, he is forbidden to partake of the water cooked with cabbage, for the water in which food is cooked is considered as the food itself.21 If, however, he vowed not to partake of the water in which a food is cooked, he may partake of the cooked food itself.22

A person who takes a vow [not to partake of] sauce is permitted [to partake of] the spices. [One who takes a vow not to partake] of the spices is permitted [to partake of] the sauce. One who takes a vow [not to partake of] groats23 is forbidden [to partake of] the thick sauce produced by the groats.24

י

הנודר מן הירק מותר בדלועין הנודר בכרישין מותר בקפלוטות הנודר מן הכרוב אסור במים שנתבשל בו הכרוב שהרי מי שלקות כשלקות נדר ממי השלקות מותר בשלקות עצמן הנודר מן הרוטב מותר בתבלין שבו מן התבלין מותר ברוטב הנודר מן הגריסין אסור במקפה של גריסין:

11

A person who takes a vow [not to partake of] the produce of the earth is forbidden to partake of all the produce of the earth,25 but is permitted [to partake of] fungi and mushrooms.26 If he says: "Everything that grows upon the earth is [forbidden] to me," he is forbidden to partake of even fungi and mushrooms. [The rationale is that] although they do not derive their nurture from the earth, they grow upon the earth.

יא

הנודר מן פירות הארץ אסור בכל פירות הארץ ומותר בכמהין ופטריות ואם אמר כל גידולי קרקע עלי אסור אף בכמהין ופטריות אף על פי שאינן יונקין מן הקרקע גדלין הן בקרקע:

12

When a person takes a vow forbidding himself from partaking of the produce of a particular year, he is forbidden to partake of all the produce of that year. He is, however, permitted to partake of kid-goats, lambs, milk, eggs, and, chicks.27 If, however, he said: "All of the products of a given year are [forbidden] to me," he is forbidden to partake of all of them.28

When a person takes a vow forbidding himself from partaking of the fruits of the kayitz, he is forbidden only to partake of figs.29

יב

הנודר מפירות השנה אסור בכל פירות השנה ומותר בגדיים ובטלאים ובחלב ובביצים ובגוזלות ואם אמר כל גדולי שנה עלי אסור בכולם הנודר מפירות הקיץ אין אסור אלא בתאנים:

13

In all of the above - and in analogous instances - follow this general principle: With regard to vows, we follow the intent of the words people use at that place, in that language, and at that time when the vow or oath was taken.30 Based on this principle, one should rule and say: "The person who took the vow is forbidden [to benefit from] these entities and permitted [to benefit from] these entities."

יג

ובכל הדברים האלו כיוצא בהן הזהר בעיקר הגדול שהוא בנדרים הלך אחר לשון בני אדם שבאותו מקום באותו לשון ובאותו זמן ועל פי עיקר זה תורה ותאמר זה הנודר אסור בדבר פלוני ומותר בדבר פלוני:

14

When a person takes a vow [not to partake of grapes], he is permitted to partake of wine, even fresh wine.31 [If he takes a vow not to partake] of olives, he is permitted to partake of oil. [If he takes a vow not to partake] of dates, he is permitted to partake of date-honey. [If he takes a vow not to partake] of grapes that blossom in the fall,32 he is permitted to partake of vinegar that is produced from them.33

If he takes a vow not to partake] of wine, he is permitted to partake of apple wine. [If he takes a vow not to partake] of oil, he is permitted to partake of sesame seed oil. [If he takes a vow not to partake] of honey,34 he is permitted to partake of date honey. [If he takes a vow not to partake] of vinegar, he is permitted to partake of vinegar produced from grapes that blossom in the fall. [If he takes a vow not to partake] of vegetables, he is permitted to partake of vegetables that grow on their own.35 [The rationale for all of these rulings is] that [the names of] all these substances have a modifier36 and [when] the person took the vow, he referred to the substance without a modifier. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

יד

הנודר מן הענבים מותר ביין ואפילו החדש מן הזיתים מותר בשמן מן התמרים מותר בדבש תמרים מן הסתוניות מותר בחומץ סתוניות מן היין מותר ביין תפוחים מן השמן מותר בשמן שומשמין מן הדבש מותר בדבש תמרים מן החומץ מותר בחומץ סתוניות מן הירק מותר בירקות שדה מפני שכל אלו שם לווי הם והוא לא נדר אלא משם שאינו לווי באותו מקום וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

15

When a person takes a vow not to wear clothing, he is permitted [to cover himself] with sackcloth,37 a coarsely woven thick fabric,38 a thick sheet used as a rainshield.39

[When a person takes a vow not to enter] a house, he is forbidden to enter its loft. For the loft is part of the house. [If he] takes a vow [not to enter] a loft, he is permitted [to enter] the home.

[When a person takes a vow not to] use a dargeish,40 he is permitted [to use] a bed. [If he takes a vow not to use] a bed, he is forbidden to use a dargeish, because it is like a small bed.

טו

הנודר מן הכסות מותר בשק וביריעה ובחמילה מן הבית אסור בעליה שהעליה בכלל הבית נדר מן העליה מותר בבית מן הדרגש מותר במטה מן המטה אסור בדרגש שהוא כמו מטה קטנה:

16

When a person takes a vow not to enter a particular house, he is forbidden to enter from the doorframe onward. When one takes a vow not to enter a particular city, he is permitted to enter its Sabbath limits.41 He is, however, forbidding to enter its outlying areas.42

טז

הנודר שלא יכנס לבית זה הרי זה אסור מן האגף ולפנים נדר שלא יכנס לעיר זו מותר להכנס לתחומה ואסור להכנס לעיבורה:

17

When a person takes a vow not to benefit from the residents of a city and a person comes and lives there for twelve months, it is forbidden for the person who took the vow to benefit from him.43 If he stays for a lesser time, it is permitted.

If he takes a vow from those who dwell in a city, he is forbidden to benefit from anyone who dwells there for 30 days. He is permitted to benefit from one who dwells there for a lesser period.44

יז

הנודר הנייה מבני העיר ובא אדם ונשתהה שם שנים עשר חדש הרי זה אסור ליהנות ממנו פחות מכאן מותר נדר מיושבי העיר כל ששהה שם שלשים יום אסור ליהנות ממנו פחות מכן מותר:

18

When a person takes a vow [not to benefit] from the water that flows from this-and-this spring, he is forbidden [to benefit] from all the rivers that derive nurture from it. Needless to say, this refers to those that flow directly from it. Although the name [of the body of water] has changed and it is now called "the So-and-So River" or "the So-and-So well," and we do not associate it at all with the name of the spring concerning which a vow was taken, since it is the source for these bodies of water, he is forbidden to benefit from all of them. If, however, a person takes a vow [not to benefit] from this-and-this river or spring, he is only forbidden [to benefit] from those rivers called by that name.

יח

הנודר מן המים הנמשכין ממעין פלוני אסור בכל הנהרות היונקות ממנו ואין צריך לומר הנמשכות אע"פ שנשתנה שמם ואין קורין אותן אלא נהר פלוני ובאר פלוני ואין מלוין אותן לשם המעין הנדור הואיל והוא עיקרן אסור בכל אבל אם נדר מנהר פלוני או ממעין פלוני אין אסור אלא בכל הנהרות הנקראות על שמו:

19

When a person takes a vow not [to benefit] from sea-farers,45 he is permitted [to benefit] from those who dwell on the land. When he takes a vow not [to benefit] from those who dwell on the land, he is forbidden [to benefit] from sea-farers even though they set out to the Mediterranean Sea. For sea-farers are considered as among those who dwell on land.46

When he takes a vow not [to benefit] from those who see the sun, he is forbidden to benefit from the blind.47 For his intent was those who are seen by the sun. If he takes a vow not [to benefit] from those who are dark-haired, he is forbidden to benefit from men who are bald and grey-haired48 and permitted to benefit from women49 and children.50 If it customary to refer to all people as dark-haired, he is forbidden to benefit from everyone.

יט

הנודר מיורדי הים מותר ביושבי היבשה מיושבי היבשה אסור ביורדי הים אף על פי שהן מפרשים באמצע הים הגדול שיורדי הים בכלל יושבי היבשה נדר מרואי חמה אסור בסומין שלא נתכוון זה אלא ממי שהחמה רואה אותו נדר משחורי הראש אסור בקרחים ובעלי שיבות ומותר בנשים ובקטנים ואם דרכן לקרות שחורי הראש לכל אסור בכל:

20

When a person takes a vow not [to benefit] from those who rest on the Sabbath, he is forbidden [to benefit] from Jews and Samaritans.51 One who takes a vow not [to benefit] from those who make pilgrimages to Jerusalem is forbidden to benefit from the Jews and permitted to benefit from Samaritans. For his intent was to include only those for whom it is a mitzvah to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.52

When one takes a vow not [to benefit] from the descendants of Noah, he is permitted to benefit from the Jews.53 For the term "descendants of Noah" is used only to refer to members of other nations.

כ

נדר משובתי שבת אסור בישראל ובכותיים נדר מעולי ירושלים אסור בישראל ומותר בכותיים שלא נתכוון זה אלא למי שמצוה עליו לעלות לירושלים והנודר מבני נח מותר בישראל שאין נקראים בני נח אלא שאר האומות:

21

When a person takes a vow not [to benefit] from the descendants of Abraham, he is permitted [to benefit] from the descendants of Yishmael and the descendants of Esau.54 He is forbidden to benefit only from the Jews,55 as [indicated by Genesis 21:12]: "Through Isaac, your offspring will be called."56 And Isaac told Jacob [ibid. 28:4]: "And I will give you the blessing of Abraham."57

כא

נדר מזרע אברהם מותר בבני ישמעאל ובני עשו ואינו אסור אלא בישראל שנאמר כי ביצחק יקרא לך זרע והרי יצחק אמר ליעקב ויתן לך את ברכת אברהם:

22

When a person takes a vow not [to benefit] from uncircumcised individuals, he is forbidden [to benefit] from circumcised gentiles,58 but is permitted [to benefit] from uncircumcised Jews. If he takes a vow not [to benefit] from circumcised individuals, he is forbidden [to benefit] from uncircumcised Jews, but is permitted [to benefit] from circumcised gentiles.

[The rationale is that] the foreskin is identified with the gentiles, as [Jeremiah 9:25] states: "For all the gentiles are uncircumcised. His intent is only to refer to those who are commanded concerning the circumcision and not to those who were not commanded concerning it.

כב

נדר מן הערלים אסור במולי עכו"ם ומותר בערלי ישראל נדר מן המולים אסור בערלי ישראל ומותר במולי עכו"ם שאין הערלה קרוייה אלא לשם עכו"ם שנאמר כי כל הגוים ערלים ואין כוונתו של זה אלא למי שהוא מצווה על המילה ולא למי שאינו מצווה עליה:

23

When a person takes a vow not [to benefit] from the Jewish people, he is forbidden [to benefit] from converts. [When a person takes a vow not to benefit] from converts, he is permitted [to benefit] from natural born Jews. When he takes a vow [not to benefit] from Israelites, he is forbidden [to benefit] from priests and Levites.59 [When he vows not to benefit] from the priests and the Levites, he is permitted to benefit from an Israelite. [When he vows not to benefit] from the priests, he is permitted to benefit from the Levites.60 [When he vows not to benefit] from the Levites, he is permitted to benefit from the priests. [When he vows not to benefit] from his sons, he is permitted to benefit from his grandchildren.61In all these and analogous matters, the laws regarding those who take a vow and an oath are the same.

כג

הנודר מישראל אסור בגרים מן הגרים מותר בישראל הנודר מישראל אסור בכהנים ולוים מן הכהנים ומן הלוים מותר בישראל הנודר מן הכהנים מותר בלוים מהלוים מותר בכהנים הנודר מבניו מותר בבני בניו ובכל הדברים האלו וכיוצא בהן דין הנודר והנשבע אחד הוא:

Footnotes
1.

The Rambam's rationale is that since everything depends on the person's intent, it is logical to assume that the meaning of his statements follows the usage common at that time and place. See also Halachah 13.

One might ask: If so, why in the halachot that follow does the Rambam set out guidelines with regard to vows. The Radbaz (in his gloss to Halachah 13) explains that these guidelines should be followed only in places where there is no clarity regarding the expressions commonly used.

2.

I.e., boiled without spices (Rav Avraham MinHaHar).

3.

Although the Rambam's ruling runs contrary to the statements of the Mishnah (Nedarim 6:2), the Rambam relies on the principle that the determinant factor in values is the meaning attached to the terms used by people at that time and in that place. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 217:3) follows the Rambam's approach.

4.

Although the Rambam's ruling runs contrary to the statements of the Mishnah (Nedarim 6:2), the Rambam relies on the principle that the determinant factor in values is the meaning attached to the terms used by people at that time and in that place. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 217:3) follows the Rambam's approach.

5.

Since there is a possibility that a prohibition is involved, we must rule stringently.

6.

For corporal punishment is inflicted only when we are certain that a prohibition has been violated.

7.

I.e., he is not certain whether the principal's intent when telling him to buy meat was to buy fish or not.

8.

For in that locale, it is possible that it is referred to as "meat."

9.

For they are generally referred to as meat.

10.

For they are not. In the present age, this principle also applies to fish. The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 217:8) goes further and states that even fowl is not usually implied by the term "meat."

11.

The commentaries have noted that the Rambam's ruling is not entirely identical with that of his source (Nedarim 54a). In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Chullin 8:1), the Rambam explains this difficulty, stating that the meanings of terms used today are different than the meanings used for the same terms in the Talmudic period.

12.

See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 6:1).

13.

This is the implication of the Hebrew term used by the Rambam [Bayit Chadash (Yoreh De'ah 217)].

14.

E.g., porridge (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, loc. cit.). See also Hilchot Berachot 3:4 which discusses these terms.

15.

See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 6:3).

16.

In the Talmudic and Rabbinic era, most hard cheeses were salted to preserve them.

17.

The term chittim is plural, implying many kernels of grain. Chitah is singular, referring not to a single kernel, but rather to a single entity made from wheat flour (Rabbenu Nissim, as cited by the Kessef Mishneh).

18.

I.e., wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt. Other grains, e.g., rice and millet, are not included.

19.

For in Talmudic terminology, the term green vegetable refers to vegetables that are eaten raw and squash must be cooked.

20.

These two species of vegetables are similar, but not identical. Therefore, the Rambam feels it necessary to make this clarification. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 5:7), he uses the same Arabic term to define the two species but explains that the latter is more commonly grown in Eretz Yisrael.

21.

For through the cooking process, it takes on the flavor of the food (see Berachot 39a; Hilchot Berachot 8:4). In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 5:8), the Rambam maintains that this is the meaning of the first clause of that mishnah. Rashi and others, while accepting this principle, interpret that clause differently.

22.

For there is obviously a difference between the food and the liquid in which it was cooked.

23.

I.e., ground beans (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, loc. cit.).

24.

For it has the flavor of the groats.

25.

Not only vegetables, but fruit as well [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 217:23)].

26.

Our Rabbis explain that the terms refer to species that have little botanical difference between them. The first term refers to those mushrooms which grow on the earth and the second, to those which grow in trees. The rationale is that, as the Rambam states, these fungi do not have roots. Thus they do not derive their nurture from the earth, but from the atmosphere (see Nedarim 55b; Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 7:4).

27.

The Hebrew word peirot can also be interpreted as: "benefit accruing from." Thus these entities could be included in the term. Nevertheless, since this is not the popular usage, they are not included.

28.

The Siftei Cohen 217:31 explains that this applies only when it is possible for a person to abide by this prohibition. If, however, the vow prevents him from eating enough to maintain his wellbeing, it is nullified.

29.

The term kayitz has a specific meaning "fruit harvested by hand," rather than cut from the tree with a knife. Therefore, it refers to the fig harvest alone (Nedarim 61b).

30.

As stated in Halachah 1. The Radbaz explains that the only reason the Rambam mentioned all the principles in the above and following halachot is to clarify the guidelines set forth by our Sages. They should be followed only in places where there is no clarity regarding the expressions commonly used.

31.

Even though the wine tastes the same as grapes, since it is called by a different name, it is not considered in the same category (Siftei Cohen 216:27). This principle is reflected in all the rulings of this halachah: As long as an entity has a different name, even if its flavor is the same as another entity and even their substance is fundamentally the same, they are considered as different entities with regard to vows.

32.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 6:6) explains that these grapes are not fit to be eaten and instead, are used to produce vinegar.

33.

The substances produced by the fruit are considered as being different from the fruit itself.

34.

Although the Torah uses the term honey to refer to date-honey, in common usage, everyone understands the term as referring to bee honey (Siftei Cohen 217:22).

35.

The Siftei Cohen 217:15 states that in the present age, people do not make such a distinction when referring to these vegetables.

36.

I.e., they are not referred to by the name of the substance as it is used without a modifier.

37.

This term refers to a weave from goat's hair (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Nedarim 7:3).

38.

This translation is taken from the above source.

39.

This translation is also taken from the above source. The rationale is that none of these fabrics are considered as garments.

40.

A small bed that is placed before a larger bed to use as a stepstool for the larger bed (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Nedarim 7:4).

41.

The area 2000 cubits around the city. See Hilchot Shabbat 27:1-2.

In other contexts, this area - and indeed, even further removed places - are considered as part of a city. With regard to vows, this is not the case, for we follow the terminology people commonly used (Siftei Cohen 217:35).

42.

This term refers to homes that are located within 70 cubits of each other on the perimeter of the city. As long as they are within that distance of another home, they are considered as part of the city itself (Hilchot Shabbat 28:1; the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Nedarim, loc. cit.).

Nedarim 56b derives these concepts from the exegesis of Biblical verses. Joshua 5:13 states: "And while Joshua was in Jericho" and describes an event that took place while the Jews were camp on the outer reaches of the city. And when speaking about measuring the area 2000 cubits around a city, Numbers 35:5 speaks of measuring "outside the city."

43.

Note the parallel to Hilchot Shechenim 6:5 which states that a person who lives in a city for twelve months becomes obligated to pay all the city's levies.

44.

See the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 217:32) and the Siftei Cohen 217:37 who emphasizes that if the common terminology used at present is different, the laws are dependent on the current usages.

45.

This term refers to people who set out on extended journeys, not on short jaunts.

46.

For they do not remain on an ocean journey forever and ultimately, return home.

47.

Even though they cannot see the sun.

48.

For this term is generally used to refer to men, even if they do not have dark hair.

49.

For they are referred to as being "covered-haired" (Rabbeinu Nissim).

50.

For they are referred to as being "uncovered-haired" (ibid.).

51.

This term refers to the people brought by the Assyrians to settle in Samaria after they exiled the Ten Tribes. At first, they converted and observed the rudiments of Judaism. Afterwards, however, they became like gentiles entirely.

52.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 3:8), the Rambam explains that the Samaritans despise Jerusalem and make their pilgrimages to Mount Gerizim instead. The Merkevat HaMishnah explains that since the Samaritans are converts, they do not have a right to a portion in Eretz Yisrael. Hence they are not obligated to ascend to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festivals (see Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 11:15).

53.

Although the Jews are also of Noah's descendants, they are not popularly referred to with that term.

54.

Although actually, both of these nations descended from Abraham, Yishmael being Abraham's son and Esau, Isaac's.

55.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 217:40) states that this includes converts.

56.

Thus excluding Yishmael and his descendants.

57.

Thus excluding Esau and his descendants. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 3:11), the Rambam adds another point. In the covenant God made with Abraham bein habetarim, he was told that his descendants would be "strangers in a foreign land" and only Jacob's descendants - not those of Esau or Yishmael - were subjected to this decree.

58.

This includes both gentiles who circumcise themselves for health reasons and those - like the Arabs - who circumcise themselves for religious reasons. The rationale is that the majority of gentiles and uncircumcised and the person made his statements with the intent of referring to the majority. See the Commentary of Rav Ovadiah of Bartenura to Nedarim, loc. cit.

59.

For when the term Israelite is used, it refers to the entire Jewish people as a collective. As Yoma 66a states: "Are not the priests part of Your nation Israel?"

60.

Even though in the Torah, the priests are identified as Levites at times (Deuteronomy 17:9, et al), we follow the wording used by people at large (Radbaz).

61.

Although Yevamot 62b states that grandchildren are considered as children, that is not the meaning employed by people at large (Radbaz).

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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