Get the best of Chabad.org content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!
ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Shvuot - Chapter 4

Show content in:

Shvuot - Chapter 4

1

When a person takes an oath that he will not eat anything on that day and he ate less than an olive-sized portion of food, he is not liable. For "eating" does not involve a quantity less than an olive-sized portion.1 It is as if he partook of less than the minimum measure of a nevelah, a trefe, or the like.2

If he said: "[I am taking] an oath that I will not eat this substance," and he ate it, he is liable even if the substance concerning which he took the oath is one mustard seed or smaller.3

א

מִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל הַיּוֹם כְּלוּם וְאָכַל פָּחוֹת מִכְּזַיִת פָּטוּר. שֶׁאֵין אֲכִילָה פְּחוּתָה מִכְּזַיִת. וַהֲרֵי הוּא כְּאוֹכֵל חֲצִי שִׁעוּר מִנְּבֵלוֹת וּטְרֵפוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. וְאִם אָמַר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל דָּבָר זֶה וַאֲכָלוֹ חַיָּב. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה הַדָּבָר שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע עָלָיו זֶרַע חַרְדָּל אֶחָד אוֹ פָּחוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ:

2

If he took an oath that he would not taste anything and partook of even the smallest amount of food, he is liable.4

ב

נִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יִטְעֹם כְּלוּם וְאָכַל כָּל שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב:

3

When a person takes an oath that he will not eat on a specific day and drinks, he is liable, because [a prohibition against] eating includes drinking.5 Therefore, if he both ate and drank, he is liable only for one set of lashes6 if he acted willfully or one sin offering if he transgressed inadvertently.

ג

מִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל הַיּוֹם וְשָׁתָה חַיָּב שֶׁהַשְּׁתִיָּה בִּכְלַל אֲכִילָה. לְפִיכָךְ אִם אָכַל וְשָׁתָה אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא מַלְקוֹת אַחַת אִם הָיָה מֵזִיד אוֹ חַטָּאת אַחַת אִם הָיָה שׁוֹגֵג:

4

When a person took an oath not to drink on a given day, he is permitted to eat, because [a prohibition against] drinking does not include eating. How much must he drink for him to be liable? It appears to me7 that he is not liable unless he drinks a revi'it8 as is the case with regard to other prohibitions.9

ד

נִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁתֶּה הַיּוֹם הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לֶאֱכֹל. שֶׁאֵין אֲכִילָה בִּכְלַל שְׁתִיָּה. וְכַמָּה יִשְׁתֶּה וִיהֵא חַיָּב. נִרְאֶה לִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁתֶּה רְבִיעִית כִּשְׁאָר הָאִסּוּרִין:

5

When a person takes an oath that he will not eat on a particular day and partook of many types of food, or he takes an oath that he will not drink on a particular day and partakes of many types of beverages, he is only liable once.10 Even if he said: "[I am taking] an oath that today I will not eat meat, bread, or beans," and he eats all [these types of food]. He is only liable once. All [of these foods] can be joined together to reach the measure of an olive-sized portion.11

ה

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל הַיּוֹם וְאָכַל מִינִין הַרְבֵּה. אוֹ שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֶשְׁתֶּה הַיּוֹם וְשָׁתָה מִינֵי מַשְׁקִין הַרְבֵּה אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא אַחַת. וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמַר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל הַיּוֹם בָּשָׂר וּפַת וְקִטְנִית וְאָכַל הַכּל אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא אַחַת. וְכֻלָּן מִצְטָרְפִין לִכְזַיִת:

6

When a person takes an oath that he will neither eat nor drink and then eats and drinks, he is liable twice. Although drinking is included in eating, since he specifically said: "And I will not drink," he revealed his intention not to include drinking in eating.12 Thus it is as if he took an oath on this independently and this independently. Therefore he is liable twice.

ו

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל וְשֶׁלֹּא אֶשְׁתֶּה וְאָכַל וְשָׁתָה חַיָּב שְׁתַּיִם שֶׁהַשְּׁתִיָּה בִּכְלַל אֲכִילָה. וְהוֹאִיל וּפֵרֵט וְאָמַר וְשֶׁלֹּא אֶשְׁתֶּה גִּלָּה דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא כָּלַל הַשְּׁתִיָּה בִּכְלַל הָאֲכִילָה וְנִמְצָא כְּנִשְׁבָּע עַל זֶה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וְעַל זֶה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וּלְפִיכָךְ חַיָּב שְׁתַּיִם:

7

Similarly, if a person said: "[I am taking] an oath that I will not eat bread from wheat, bread from barley, or bread from buckwheat," he is liable for each one individually if he partakes of them. He mentioned "bread" three times13 to make a distinction and cause him to be liable for each one individually.

ז

וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל פַּת חִטִּין וּפַת שְׂעוֹרִין וּפַת כֻּסְּמִין וַאֲכָלָן חַיָּב עַל כָּל אַחַת וְאַחַת שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר פַּת וּפַת וּפַת אֶלָּא לְחַלֵּק וּלְחַיֵּב עַל כָּל אַחַת:

8

[The following laws apply when a person's] colleague was persistently imploring him to eat at his [home], telling him: "Come and drink with me, wine, milk, and honey." If he answers: "[I am taking] an oath that I will not drink wine, milk, and honey," he is liable for each one individually if he partakes of them. [To be liable only once,] he should have said: "[I am taking] an oath that I will not drink anything," or "...[that I will not drink] what you said." Since he repeated the phrase, stating each one individually,14 he revealed his intention that he obligated himself with an oath for each and every type [of beverage] individually. Therefore [the beverages] are not combined with each other [to reach the minimum measure]15 and the person is liable only when he eats the minimum measure from each one individually. Since a sin offering is required for each one individually, they are like fat and blood which cannot be combined for [the measure of] an olive-sized portion as explained in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot.16

ח

הָיָה חֲבֵרוֹ מְסַרְהֵב בּוֹ לֶאֱכל אֶצְלוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ בּוֹא וּשְׁתֵה עִמִּי יַיִן וְחָלָב וּדְבַשׁ. וְאָמַר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁאֵינִי שׁוֹתֶה יַיִן וְחָלָב וּדְבַשׁ וְשָׁתָה מֵהֶן חַיָּב עַל כָּל אַחַת וְאַחַת בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ לוֹמַר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁאֵינִי שׁוֹתֶה כְּלוּם אוֹ מַה שֶּׁאָמַרְתָּ וּמִשֶּׁחָזַר וּפֵרֵט גִּלָּה דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁחִיֵּב עַצְמוֹ בִּשְׁבוּעָה עַל כָּל מִין וּמִין בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין זֶה עִם זֶה וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַד שֶׁיֹּאכַל כַּשִּׁעוּר מִמִּין אֶחָד. הוֹאִיל וְהֵן חֲלוּקִין לְחַטָּאוֹת הֲרֵי הֵן כְּחֵלֶב וְדָם שֶׁאֵינָן מִצְטָרְפִין לִכְזַיִת כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת מַאֲכָלוֹת אֲסוּרוֹת:

9

[When one says: "I am taking] an oath that I will not eat this loaf," or "...that I will not eat it," once he eats an olive-sized portion of it, he is liable.17 [If he says:] "[I am taking] an oath that I will not eat it up,"18 he is not liable until he eats the entire loaf.

If he says: "[I am taking] an oath that I will not eat this loaf; [I am taking] an oath that I will not eat it up," should he eat it,19 he is liable only once.20

ט

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל כִּכָּר זוֹ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל אוֹתָהּ כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָכַל מִמֶּנָּה כְּזַיִת חַיָּב. שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכָלֶנָּה אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַד שֶׁיֹּאכַל אֶת כֻּלָּהּ. אָמַר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל כִּכָּר זוֹ שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכָלֶנָּה וַאֲכָלָהּ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא אַחַת:

10

Similarly, if one said: ["I am taking] an oath that I will not eat today,"21 and then took an oath concerning a loaf that he would not eat it up, [even though] he eats the entire [loaf] that day, he is not liable only once.22 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.23 [The rationale is that] an oath does not take effect when another is already in effect.24

If, however, one took an oath that he would not eat up a loaf and afterwards, took an oath that he would not eat anything or that he would not eat this loaf, he is liable twice. [The rationale is that] at the time he took the oath that he would not eat it up, he would not be liable unless he ate the entire loaf. Thus when he took a second oath that he would not eat anything or that he would not eat the loaf, he is liable [for the latter oath,] when he eats an olive-sized portion. And when he eats the entire [loaf], he is liable for his first oath.

י

וְכֵן אִם אָמַר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל הַיּוֹם וְחָזַר וְנִשְׁבַּע עַל הַכִּכָּר שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכָלֶנָּה וַאֲכָלָהּ כֻּלָּהּ בְּאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא אַחַת. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. שֶׁאֵין שְׁבוּעָה חָלָה עַל שְׁבוּעָה. אֲבָל אִם נִשְׁבַּע עַל הַכִּכָּר שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכָלֶנָּה וְחָזַר וְנִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל כְּלוּם. אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל כִּכָּר זוֹ וַאֲכָלָהּ כֻּלָּהּ חַיָּב שְׁתַּיִם. שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע בַּתְּחִלָּה שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכְלֶנָּה אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַד שֶׁיֹּאכַל כֻּלָּהּ. וּכְשֶׁחָזַר וְנִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל [כְּלוּם] אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל אוֹתָהּ מִשֶּׁיֹּאכַל מִמֶּנָּה כְּזַיִת יִתְחַיֵּב וּכְשֶׁיֹּאכַל כֻּלָּהּ יִתְחַיֵּב בִּשְׁבוּעָה רִאשׁוֹנָה:

11

[When a person takes] an oath not to eat figs and afterwards, takes an oath not to eat figs and grapes, he is liable twice for [eating] figs. [The rationale is that] he included the figs which were forbidden in the first oath with grapes that were permitted. Since the second oath took effect with regard the grapes, it also took effect with regard the figs and he becomes liable for two oaths, as we explained in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot.25

יא

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל תְּאֵנִים. וְחָזַר וְנִשְׁבַּע עַל הַתְּאֵנִים וְעַל הָעֲנָבִים. חַיָּב עַל הַתְּאֵנִים שְׁתַּיִם שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּלַל הַתְּאֵנִים שֶׁנֶּאֶסְרוּ בִּשְׁבוּעָה רִאשׁוֹנָה עִם הָעֲנָבִים שֶׁהָיוּ מֻתָּרִין וּמִתּוֹךְ שֶׁחָלָה שְׁבוּעָה שְׁנִיָּה עַל הָעֲנָבִים חָלָה עַל הַתְּאֵנִים וְנִתְחַיֵּב בִּשְׁתֵּי שְׁבוּעוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מַאֲכָלוֹת אֲסוּרוֹת:

12

[If one said: "I am taking] an oath that I will not eat eight [of this item]," "...an oath that I will not eat nine," and "...an oath that I will not eat ten," he is liable only once whether he ate eight, nine, or ten.26

יב

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל שְׁמוֹנֶה. שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל תֵּשַׁע. שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל עֶשֶׂר. בֵּין שֶׁאָכַל שְׁמוֹנֶה בֵּין שֶׁאָכַל תֵּשַׁע בֵּין שֶׁאָכַל עֶשֶׂר אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא אַחַת:

13

[If one said: "I am taking] an oath that I will not eat ten," "...an oath that I will not eat nine," and "...an oath that I will not eat eight," if he eats ten, he is liable three times, one for each oath.27 Similarly, if he eats nine, he is liable twice. If he eats eight, he is liable once.28

יג

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל עֶשֶׂר. שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל תֵּשַׁע. שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל שְׁמוֹנֶה. אִם אָכַל עֶשֶׂר חַיָּב שָׁלֹשׁ עַל כָּל שְׁבוּעָה וּשְׁבוּעָה אַחַת. וְכֵן אִם אָכַל תֵּשַׁע חַיָּב שְׁתַּיִם. אָכַל שְׁמוֹנֶה חַיָּב אַחַת:

14

[The following rules apply when a person says: "I am taking] an oath that I will not eat figs," and then takes another oath that he will not eat figs and grapes together.29 If he forgot, ate figs, and set aside a sacrifice,30 afterwards, forgot, and ate grapes, he is not liable for the grapes. [The rationale is that] this is like half the measure [for which one is liable]31 and one does not bring a sacrifice for half the measure.

יד

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל תְּאֵנִים וְחָזַר וְנִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל תְּאֵנִים וַעֲנָבִים כְּאַחַת. וְשָׁגַג וְאָכַל תְּאֵנִים וְהִפְרִישׁ קָרְבָּן. וְאַחַר כָּךְ שָׁגַג וְאָכַל עֲנָבִים אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַל הָעֲנָבִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כַּחֲצִי שִׁעוּר וְאֵין מְבִיאִין קָרְבָּן עַל חֲצִי שִׁעוּר:

15

Similar [laws apply if] one took an oath that he would not eat ten, and then took an oath that he would not eat ten and nine.32 If he ate ten, separated a sacrifice,33 and then forgot and ate nine, this is like half the measure and one does not bring a sacrifice for half the measure. For the final oath concerned not eating nineteen.34

טו

וְכֵן הַנִּשְׁבָּע שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל עֶשֶׂר וְחָזַר וְנִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל עֶשֶׂר וְתֵשַׁע וְאָכַל עֶשֶׂר וְהִפְרִישׁ קָרְבָּן וְחָזַר וְשָׁגַג וְאָכַל תֵּשַׁע הֲרֵי זֶה כַּחֲצִי שִׁעוּר. וְאֵין מְבִיאִין קָרְבָּן עַל חֲצִי שִׁעוּר. שֶׁעִנְיַן שְׁבוּעָה אַחֲרוֹנָה שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל תֵּשַׁע וְעֶשֶׂר:

16

[When a person says: "I am taking] an oath that I will not eat this large loaf if I eat this small loaf," if he forgets this stipulation when he eats the smaller loaf and afterwards willfully eats the larger [loaf], he is liable [for lashes].35

טז

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל כִּכָּר זוֹ הַגְּדוֹלָה אִם אֹכַל כִּכָּר זוֹ הַקְּטַנָּה וְשָׁכַח תְּנַאי זֶה בְּעֵת שֶׁאָכַל הַקְּטַנָּה וְאָכַל אַחַר כָּךְ הַגְּדוֹלָה בְּמֵזִיד חַיָּב:

17

If he ate the small one while he remembered the stipulation and knew that by eating it, the larger one would become forbidden and then forgot and ate the larger one while thinking that it was not forbidden yet, he is exempt.36 If he ate both of them unintentionally,37 he is exempt.38 [If he ate them] both willfully, he is liable,39 regardless of whether he ate the larger one first40 or last.

יז

אָכַל אֶת הַקְּטַנָּה וְהוּא זוֹכֵר הַתְּנַאי וְיוֹדֵעַ שֶׁבַּאֲכִילָתָהּ תֵּאָסֵר הַגְּדוֹלָה וְשָׁכַח וְאָכַל אֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה וְכִמְדֻמֶּה לוֹ שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא נֶאֶסְרָה פָּטוּר. אָכַל שְׁתֵּיהֶן בִּשְׁגָגָה פָּטוּר. שְׁתֵּיהֶן בְּמֵזִיד בֵּין שֶׁאָכַל הַגְּדוֹלָה בַּתְּחִלָּה אוֹ בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה חַיָּב:

18

Similarly, if he made the two loafs dependent on each other,41 taking an oath saying: "[I am taking] an oath that I will not eat one of these [loaves] if I eat the other." If he forgot the stipulation and ate one of them and then willfully ate the other, he is liable.42

יח

וְכֵן אִם תְּלָאָן זוֹ בָּזוֹ וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאָמַר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל אַחַת מֵהֶם אִם אָכַלְתִּי הָאַחֶרֶת וְשָׁכַח הַתְּנַאי וְאָכַל אַחַת מֵהֶן וְאָכַל הַשְּׁנִיָּה בְּזָדוֹן חַיָּב:

19

If he ate the first one willfully, but the second one inadvertently, he is exempt. [If he ate them] both willfully, he is liable.43

יט

אָכַל הָרִאשׁוֹנָה בְּזָדוֹן וְהַשְּׁנִיָּה בִּשְׁגָגָה פָּטוּר. שְׁתֵּיהֶן בְּזָדוֹן חַיָּב:

20

[When a person says: "I am taking] an oath that I will eat this loaf today," and the day passes without him eating it, should he have acted unintentionally, he must bring an adjustable guilt offering. If he acted willfully, he is not liable for lashes, because he did not perform a deed,44 even though he violated [the prohibition against] taking a false oath.

כ

שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁאֹכַל כִּכָּר זוֹ הַיּוֹם וְעָבַר הַיּוֹם וְלֹא אֲכָלָהּ. בְּשׁוֹגֵג מֵבִיא קָרְבָּן עוֹלֶה וְיוֹרֵד. בְּמֵזִיד אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא עָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעָבַר עַל שְׁבוּעַת שֶׁקֶר:

21

Why is a person who took an oath that he ate liable for lashes [if] he did not eat and one [who took an oath] that he did not eat [liable] if he did eat, even though he did not perform a deed. Because at the time he took the oath, he was taking a false oath.45 If, however, a person takes an oath that he will perform [a particular activity], it is not a false oath at the time it was taken.

כא

וּמִפְּנֵי מָה לוֹקֶה אִם נִשְׁבַּע שֶׁאָכַל וְהוּא לֹא אָכַל אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא אָכַל וְהוּא אָכַל וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמֵּעֵת שְׁבוּעָתוֹ לַשֶּׁקֶר נִשְׁבַּע. אֲבָל אִם נִשְׁבַּע שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה וְהוּא לֹא עָשָׂה אֵינָהּ שְׁבוּעַת שֶׁקֶר מִשְּׁעַת שְׁבוּעָה:

22

[The following laws apply when] a person tells a colleague: "[I am taking] an oath that I will not eat at your [home],"46 or [his colleague] was persistently imploring him to eat at his [home] and he refuses. If he takes an oath and says: "My oath [will take effect] if I eat at your [home]," or if he says: "There will be no oath if I do not eat at your [home],"47 these all bring about prohibitions. [It is considered that] he took an oath that he would not eat at his [home]. If he used all of these expressions [together] and transgressed and ate, he is only liable once.48

כב

מִי שֶׁאָמַר לַחֲבֵרוֹ שְׁבוּעָה לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ אוֹ שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁאֵינִי אוֹכֵל לְךָ אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מְסַרְהֵב בּוֹ לֶאֱכל אֶצְלוֹ וְהוּא נִמְנַע וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאָמַר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ. וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר לֹא שְׁבוּעָה לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ. כָּל אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין וַהֲרֵי נִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל אֶצְלוֹ. וְאִם אָמַר כָּל הַלְּשׁוֹנוֹת הָאֵלּוּ וְעָבַר וְאָכַל אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא אַחַת:

Footnotes
1.

This is a principle applying to all of the Torah's prohibitions concerning eating.

2.

In such an instance, as stated in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 4,:7-8, the prohibition is of Scriptural origin, but the violator is not punished. Accordingly, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 238:1) rules that it is forbidden for the person who took such an oath to partake of even the slightest quantity of food.

3.

Because he singled out a specific article and by partaking of it broke his oath.

4.

For tasting does not imply eating a full measure of food. Since he used that expression, it is clear that his intent was to forbid partaking of even the slightest measure of food.

5.

Sh'vuot 22b derives this concept from Deuteronomy 14:23: "And you shall eat before God, your Lord... the tithes of your grain, your wine, and your oil." Implied is that partaking of wine and oil is also eating.

6.

As in Halachah 5.

7.

This expression indicates a conclusion derived by the Rambam from logic without any explicit Talmudic or Midrashic source.

8.

I.e., a fourth of a log. In contemporary measure, a revi'it is equivalent to 86 cc. according to Shiurei Torah and 150 cc. according to Chazon Ish.

9.

The Radbaz explains that since this is the measure which the Torah considered significant in other contexts, one can extrapolate that anything less is not considered significant enough to warrant liability. Alternatively, with regard to oaths and vows, we follow the commonly accepted implications of the terms used and people do not consider partaking of a smaller measure as "drinking."

10.

I.e., for one set of lashes or one sacrifice. As will be explained, this applies only when the transgressor did not become aware of his oath between eating.

11.

The minimum measure for which one is liable as stated in Halachah 1. The Radbaz states that the superficial implication of the Rambam's words is that it is not necessary for one to partake of such a portion of each of the foods separately to be liable. He differs and maintains that the person must partake of all of them to be liable.

12.

Otherwise, it would be considered as eating as stated in Halachah 3.

13.

If, however, he mentioned "bread" only once, he is liable only once. See Halachah 5.

14.

I.e., the emphasis is one repeating his colleague's words, while stating each one individually. That shows that his intent is focused on each one individually. If, however, he made such a statement on his own initiative, without repeating his colleague's words, they are not considered to have been singled out [Rav Kapach's edition of the Rambam's Comemntary to the Mishneh (Sh'vuot 3:4)].

15.

I.e., if he drank half of a revi'it of wine and half of a revi'it of milk, he is not liable.

16.

Chapter 4, Halachah 16.

17.

We assume that his intention when taking the oath was to interpret the term eating according to its halachic definition (Radbaz).

18.

Since he spoke in a colloquialism, we assume that he was not referring to the halachic meaning and instead, meant the entire loaf.

19.

Whether an olive-sized portion or the entire loaf.

20.

Because once eating an olive-sized portion of the loaf is forbidden by an oath, a second oath concerning that same loaf cannot take effect, as the Rambam states in the following halachah.

21.

The implication is that he would not eat an olive-sized portion of food that day.

22.

The Ra'avad accepts the principle stated by the Rambam, but explains that this is not a good example of it. For in this instance, the second oath does take effect, for it applies not only on the day that the first oath applies, but for all time. The Radbaz explains that the Rambam would agree that the second oath will take effect as soon as the day on which the first oath is in effect ends. This he maintains is why the Rambam mentions eating it "that day."

23.

For example, that mentioned in Halachah 12.

24.

The rationale for this principle is that a sh'vuat bitui applies only with regard to matters that are dependent upon one's volition, not on those forbidden by the Torah (Chapter 5, Halachah 17). Accordingly, once something is forbidden by an oath, it is no longer a matter dependent on one's volition. Hence, a sh'vuat bitui cannot take effect (Kiryat Sefer).

As stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 17, if the person has the first oath nullified, the second oath takes effect.

25.

Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 8:6 states that although one prohibition does not take effect when an object is already prohibited, there are exceptions. One of them is when the second prohibition includes other entities that were not included in the first prohibition (issur kollel). Similarly, in this instance, since the second oath includes something which is not prohibited by the first oath (grapes), it takes effect.

26.

For he cannot eat nine or ten without first eating eight. Hence, the second and third oaths do not take effect, for one oath does not take effect when the objects it concerns are already forbidden. As mentioned in the Radbaz and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 238:12), there are instances where the second oath can take effect according to the principle of issur kollel, a more inclusive prohibition.

27.

For each oath was separate. After he took the oath forbidding ten, nine were still permitted. And after he took the oath forbidding nine, eight were still permitted. Hence, the later oaths take effect.

28.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 238:13) states that if the person specifies 10 specific items in his oath, he is not liable if he later reduces their number to eight, for all ten have become forbidden to him.

29.

I.e., he takes an oath against eating an olive-sized portion of each type of fruit. He does not violate his oath unless he eats both of these portions. Since the second oath also includes grapes, it takes effect with regard to the figs based on the principle of issur kollel.

30.

For breaking his first oath.

31.

For to be liable he must eat grapes and figs together. By realizing his transgression, he makes a distinction between the figs he ate and the grapes.

32.

I.e., his first oath involved ten specific items. His second oath involved nine additional items from a larger group. The Ra'avad claims the Rambam's ruling is a distortion of Sh'vuot 28b. See also Rashi and Tosafot who discuss the proper wording of that source.

33.

For breaking his first oath.

34.

This version, slightly different from that of the standard printed text, is based on authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The intent is that the second oath included the original ten, plus a second nine. In this instance as well, had he not realized his first transgression, he would have been liable twice for eating the second nine.

35.

This ruling follows the version of Sh'vuot 28a suggested by Rabbenu Chananel. The standard published text of the Talmud reverses the ruling. Thus in the instance stated by the Rambam, one would be exempt as the Ra'avad notes. The ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 239:16) follows that of the standard printed text of the Talmud.

The Rambam's rationale can be explained as follows: Since the person willfully transgressed by eating the larger loaf, he is liable for lashes. The fact that he inadvertently caused the oath to take effect is not of consequence.

The person is liable for lashes only when he is given a warning before transgressing. From this we see that even if a warning is given conditionally, it is effective.

36.

He is exempt for lashes. Nor is he required to bring a sacrifice, for as explained in Chapter 3, Halachah 6, and notes. This is considered as violated an oath due to forces beyond one's control.

The Rambam's rationale is that he did not perform the transgression knowingly. At the time, he partook of the larger loaf, he was not aware that it was forbidden. In this instance as well, the Rambam's ruling does not follow the standard printed text of the Talmud. Hence there are authorities who differ.

37.

I.e., without awareness of the oath.

38.

For both lashes and a sacrifice as in the previous clause.

39.

For lashes (Ra'avad).

40.

And thus it becomes forbidden only retroactively. Although it was already eaten, when he eats the smaller loaf, his eating the larger loaf becomes a prohibited act.

41.

I.e., not only the large loaf dependent on the smaller loaf as in the previous instance, but each one was dependent on the other as the Rambam continues to explain.

42.

For lashes as in Halachah 16. Again, this runs contrary to the standard published text of the Talmud and there are other authorities who differ.

43.

As stated in Halachah 17.

44.

See Hilchot Sanhedrin 18:2. Note the following halachah.

45.

Hence he is liable for lashes, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachot 3, 7.

46.

In the Hebrew, the Rambam restates this phrase using slightly different wording.

47.

The double negative implies that an oath will take effect if he does eat. See Tosafot, Sh'vuot 36b.

48.

I.e., it is not considered as if each one is an independent oath, because an oath cannot take effect when an object is already forbidden by another oath.

The Radbaz explains that the Rambam is interpreting Nedarim 16a. One might think that the passage means that the person took an oath that he would not eat at his colleague's home. Afterwards, his colleague implored him to eat and to appease him, he took an oath that he would eat at his home. Seemingly, this resembles an oath taken in vain, for he is taking an oath to nullify the observance of a mitzvah - the fulfillment of his previous oath. For this reason, the Rambam explains that all of these expressions should be interpreted to mean that he is taking an oath not to eat. Only one of them takes effect, because one oath does not take effect when an object is already forbidden.

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Vowelized Hebrew text courtesy Torat Emet under CC 2.5 license.
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 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.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah