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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Nedarim - Chapter 1

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Nedarim - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchos Nedarim

They contain 3 mitzvot: two positive commandments and one negative commandment. They are:

1. To heed the utterances of one’s mouth and to carry out one’s vow;
2. Not to desecrate one’s word;
3. To nullify a vow or an oath; this is the law concerning the nullification of oaths explicitly stated in the Torah.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

רמב"ם הלכות נדרים - הקדמה הלכות נדרים. יש בכללן שלש מצות, שתי מצות עשה, ואחת מצות לא תעשה. וזה הוא פרטן: א) שישמור מוצא שפתיו ויעשה כמו שנדר.
(ב) שלא יחל דברו.
(ג) שיפר הנדר או) השבועה, זהו דין הפרת נדרים המפורש בתורה שבכתב. וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו.


There are two categories of vows: The first is to forbid oneself [from benefiting] from entities permitted to him;1 e.g., he said: "The produce from this-and-this country is forbidden to me for 30 days" or "...forever." "This type of produce is forbidden to me" or "This produce is forbidden." Regardless of the language in which the prohibition is stated,2 they become forbidden to him, even though there is no oath at all, nor did it mention God's name or a term used to describe Him.3 Concerning this, the Torah [Numbers 30:3] states: "To cause a prohibition to take effect upon his soul," i.e., to cause permitted entities to become forbidden to him. Similarly, such a vow takes effect if he says: "They are forbidden to me." I call this category: "vows involving prohibitions."


הַנֵּדֶר נֶחְלָק לִשְׁתֵּי מַחֲלוֹקוֹת. הַחֵלֶק הָרִאשׁוֹן הוּא שֶׁיֶּאֱסֹר עַל עַצְמוֹ דְּבָרִים הַמֻּתָּרִים לוֹ כְּגוֹן שֶׁיֹּאמַר פֵּרוֹת מְדִינָה פְּלוֹנִית אֲסוּרִין עָלַי כָּל שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אוֹ לְעוֹלָם. אוֹ מִין פְּלוֹנִי מִפֵּרוֹת הָעוֹלָם אוֹ פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין עָלַי. בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן שֶׁיֶּאֱסֹר הֲרֵי זֶה נֶאֱסָר בָּהֶן. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם שְׁבוּעָה כְּלָל וְלֹא הַזְכָּרַת שֵׁם וְלֹא כִּנּוּי. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה (במדבר ל ג) "לֶאְסֹר אִסָּר עַל נַפְשׁוֹ". שֶׁיֶּאֱסֹר עַל עַצְמוֹ דְּבָרִים הַמֻּתָּרִים. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי אִסָּר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין וְחֵלֶק זֶה הוּא שֶׁאֲנִי קוֹרֵא אוֹתוֹ נִדְרֵי אִסָּר:


The second category is to obligate himself for a sacrifice that he is not required to bring. For example, he said: "I obligate myself [to bring] a burnt offering," "I obligate myself to bring a peace offering," "...a meal offering," or "This animal is a burnt offering," or "...a peace offering."

When he says: "I obligate myself [to bring]...", this is called a vow.4 When he says: "This is...", it is called a donation.5 Donations and vows are of the same type [of pledges], but [the one making the pledge] is responsible for a vow.6With regard to a donations, by contrast, he is not responsible.7 Concerning these the Torah states [Deuteronomy 12:17]: "Your vows which you pledge and your donations...." This category, I refer to as "vows of sanctification."


וְהַחֵלֶק הַשֵּׁנִי הוּא שֶׁיְּחַיֵּב עַצְמוֹ בְּקָרְבָּן שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב בּוֹ. כְּגוֹן שֶׁיֹּאמַר הֲרֵי עָלַי לְהָבִיא עוֹלָה. אוֹ הֲרֵי עָלַי לְהָבִיא שְׁלָמִים אוֹ מִנְחָה. הֲרֵי בְּהֵמָה זוֹ עוֹלָה אוֹ שְׁלָמִים. וְהָאוֹמֵר [הֲרֵי] עָלַי הוּא הַנִּקְרָא נֵדֶר. וְהָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי זוֹ הוּא הַנִּקְרָא נְדָבָה. וְהַנְּדָבָה וְהַנֵּדֶר מִמִּין אֶחָד הוּא אֶלָּא שֶׁהַנְּדָרִים חַיָּבִין בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן וּנְדָבוֹת אֵין חַיָּבִין בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה (דברים יב יז) "וּנְדָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּדֹּר וְנִדְבֹתֶיךָ" וְגוֹ'. וְחֵלֶק זֶה הוּא שֶׁאֲנִי קוֹרֵא אוֹתוֹ נִדְרֵי הֶקְדֵּשׁ:


The laws concerning the first category and its relevant matters are [the subject] we will discuss in these halachot. The laws concerning vows of sanctification and their particulars will be discussed in their appropriate place in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot.8


וְדִינֵי הַחֵלֶק הָרִאשׁוֹן וְעִנְיָנוֹ הֵם שֶׁאָנוּ מְבָאֲרִים בַּהֲלָכוֹת אֵלּוּ. אֲבָל דִּינֵי נִדְרֵי הֶקְדֵּשׁ וּמִשְׁפְּטֵיהֶם כֻּלָּם יִתְבָּאֲרוּ בִּמְקוֹמָם בְּהִלְכוֹת מַעֲשֵׂה הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת:


It is a positive commandment of Scriptural origin for a person to carry out his oath or vow9 whether it be a vow involving prohibitions or a vow of sanctification, as [Deuteronomy 12:23] states: "Heed the utterances of your mouth and do as you vowed." And [Numbers 30:3] states: "He shall act in accordance with all that he uttered with his mouth."10


מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה שֶׁיְּקַיֵּם אָדָם שְׁבוּעָתוֹ אוֹ נִדְרוֹ בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה מִנִּדְרֵי אִסָּר בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה מִנִּדְרֵי הֶקְדֵּשׁ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כג כד) "מוֹצָא שְׂפָתֶיךָ תִּשְׁמֹר וְעָשִׂיתָ כַּאֲשֶׁר נָדַרְתָּ" וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר ל ג) "כְּכָל הַיֹּצֵא מִפִּיו יַעֲשֶׂה":


When a person forbids himself from partaking of a particular type of food, e.g., he said: "Figs are forbidden to me," "Figs from such-and-such a country are forbidden to me," "These figs are forbidden to me," or the like, if he partakes of any amount of them, he is liable for lashes according to Scriptural Law,11 as [Numbers, Ibid.] states: "He shall not desecrate his word."

There is no minimum measure [for the desecration of] a vow, for by taking a vow [not to partake of] a substance, it is as if one explicitly stated that he would not partake of even the slightest amount.12 If one said: "It is forbidden for me to eat the produce of this-and-this country" or " eat these fruit," he does not receive lashes unless he partakes of an olive-sized portion.


הָאוֹסֵר עַל עַצְמוֹ מִין מִמִּינֵי מַאֲכָל כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָמַר תְּאֵנִים אֲסוּרִין עָלַי אוֹ תְּאֵנִים שֶׁל מְדִינָה פְּלוֹנִית אֲסוּרִים עָלַי אוֹ תְּאֵנִים אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין עָלַי וְכַיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ וְאָכַל מֵהֶן כָּל שֶׁהוּא לוֹקֶה מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ל ג) "לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ". שֶׁאֵין לִנְדָרִים שִׁעוּר. שֶׁכָּל הַנּוֹדֵר מִדָּבָר הֲרֵי זֶה כִּמְפָרֵשׁ כָּל שֶׁהוּא. אָמַר אֲכִילָה מִפֵּרוֹת מְדִינָה פְּלוֹנִית אֲסוּרִין עָלַי אוֹ אֲכִילָה מִפֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה עַד שֶׁיֹּאכַל כְּזַיִת:


If a person forbade himself from eating figs and grapes - whether in two vows or in one - the two can be combined to make up the measure of an olive-sized portion.13 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


אָסַר עַל עַצְמוֹ אֲכִילָה מִן הַתְּאֵנִים וַאֲכִילָה מִן הָעֲנָבִים בֵּין בְּנֵדֶר אֶחָד בֵּין בִּשְׁנֵי נְדָרִים הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מִצְטָרְפִין לִכְזַיִת. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


When a person says: "This produce is considered like a sacrifice," or he tells a colleague: "Everything that I partake of with you is a sacrifice,"14 " a sacrifice," "or considered like a sacrifice for me," they are forbidden to him. For it is possible that a person will make a vow for a sacrifice and make an animal that is ordinary a sacrifice and thus be forbidden for him.15


הָאוֹמֵר פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ עָלַי קָרְבָּן אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הֲרֵי הֵם כְּקָרְבָּן אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לַחֲבֵרוֹ כָּל מַה שֶּׁאֹכַל עִמְּךָ עָלַי קָרְבָּן אוֹ כְּקָרְבָּן אוֹ הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי קָרְבָּן. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין עָלָיו מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּדֹּר אָדָם קָרְבָּן וְיַעֲשֶׂה בְּהֵמָה שֶׁהָיְתָה חֹל קָרְבָּן וְתֵאָסֵר:


If, however, a person says: "This produce is considered for me...", "This type of produce is considered for me...", "What I will eat with so-and-so will be considered as pig meat," " a false deity," " nevelot and trefot," or the like, they are permitted and no vow takes effect. [The rationale is that] it is impossible for a person to make something that is not pig meat as pig meat.16


אֲבָל הָאוֹמֵר פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ עָלַי אוֹ מִין פְּלוֹנִי עָלַי אוֹ מַה שֶּׁאֹכַל עִם פְּלוֹנִי עָלַי כִּבְשַׂר חֲזִיר אוֹ כְּעַכּוּ''ם אוֹ כִּנְבֵלוֹת וּטְרֵפוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִין וְאֵין כָּאן נֵדֶר. שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה דָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ בְּשַׂר חֲזִיר כִּבְשַׂר חֲזִיר:


This is the general principle [that applies] whenever anyone attempts to have permitted entities considered as forbidden entities: If he could have endowed that forbidden entity with its status by taking a vow,17 [the permitted entities] are forbidden. If he cannot endow it with its status by taking a vow,18 [the permitted entities] remain permitted.


זֶה הַכְּלָל כָּל הַמֵּשִׂים דְּבָרִים הַמֻּתָּרִים כַּדְּבָרִים הָאֲסוּרִים אִם אוֹתוֹ דָּבָר הָאָסוּר יָכוֹל לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ בְּנֵדֶר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִים. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ בְּנֵדֶר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִין:


Sin-offerings and guilt-offerings cannot be brought as vows or as donations, as will be explained in the appropriate place.19 Nevertheless, it is possible for a person making a vow to offer them as a result of his vow. For a person who takes a nazirite vow must bring a sin offering,20 and if he becomes impure,21 he must bring a guilt offering, as will be stated.22 Accordingly, when one says: "This produce is considered for me like a sin-offering" or " a guilt-offering," or he says: "It is a sin-offering" or "It is a guilt-offering," it is forbidden. Needless to say, if he says: "It is a burnt-offering," "...a peace-offering," "...a meal-offering," or "...a thanksgiving-offering," it is forbidden, for all of these offerings can be brought as vows or as donations.23


הַחַטָּאת וְהָאָשָׁם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן בָּאִין בְּנֵדֶר וּנְדָבָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ אֶפְשָׁר לַנּוֹדֵר לְהָבִיא אוֹתָם מֵחֲמַת נִדְרוֹ. שֶׁהַנּוֹדֵר בְּנָזִיר מֵבִיא חַטָּאת וְאִם נִטְמָא מֵבִיא אָשָׁם כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר. לְפִיכָךְ הָאוֹמֵר פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ עָלַי כְּחַטָּאת אוֹ כְּאָשָׁם אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הֲרֵי הֵן חַטָּאת אוֹ הֲרֵי הֵן אָשָׁם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בְּאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי הֵן עוֹלָה אוֹ שְׁלָמִים אוֹ מִנְחָה אוֹ תּוֹדָה שֶׁהֵן אֲסוּרִין שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ בָּאִין בְּנֵדֶר וּנְדָבָה:


If, however, one says: "This produce is considered for me like the challah [brought] to Aaron" or " the terumah for him,"24 it is permitted. For there is no way that these can be brought as vows or as donations.25


אֲבָל הָאוֹמֵר פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ עָלַי כְּחַלַּת אַהֲרֹן אוֹ כִּתְרוּמָתוֹ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִין שֶׁאֵין שָׁם דֶּרֶךְ לְהָבִיא אֵלּוּ בְּנֵדֶר וּנְדָבָה:


If one says: "This produce is considered for me like notar,"26" piggul,"27 or " sacrificial meat that has become impure,"28 it is forbidden. For the person has, nonetheless, made the substance like sacrificial meat.29


הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי הַפֵּרוֹת הָאֵלּוּ עָלַי כְּנוֹתָר כְּפִגּוּל כְּבָשָׂר טָמֵא שֶׁל קָדָשִׁים הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין שֶׁהֲרֵי עֲשָׂאָן כִּבְשַׂר קָרְבָּן מִכָּל מָקוֹם:


If one says: "[This produce] is considered for me like the tithe-sacrifice of an animal,"30 it is forbidden, for the sanctity [of the tithe-sacrifices] is conveyed upon them by mortals.31 If he says: "[This produce] is considered for me like a firstborn,"32 it is permitted, for the sanctity [of the firstborn] is not conveyed by mortals.33It cannot be designated [for another sacred purpose] with a vow, as [Leviticus 27:26] states: "A man should not consecrate it."34


הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי כְּמַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין הוֹאִיל וּקְדֻשָּׁתוֹ בִּידֵי אָדָם. הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי כִּבְכוֹר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִין שֶׁאֵין קְדֻשָּׁתוֹ בִּידֵי אָדָם וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַתְפִּיסוֹ בְּנֵדֶר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כז כו) "לֹא יַקְדִּישׁ אִישׁ אֹתוֹ":


If one says: "[This produce] is considered for me like a devotion offering for Above,"35 it is forbidden, for the devotion offering for Above are [set aside] for improvements within the Temple.36

[A vow takes effect and produce] becomes forbidden although the person did not mention a sacrifice [if he makes any of the following statements]: "[This produce] is considered for me like the donations for the chamber,"37 " the daily sacrifices," " the storage rooms,"38 " the wood,"39 " the fire-offerings,"40 " the altar," or " any of the utensils of the altar," e.g., he said: "[This produce] is considered for me like the altar rakes,"41 " the ewers [for the blood of the sacrifices],"42 " the altar forks,"43 or the like. [This law also applies] if he says: "This produce] is considered for me like the Temple,"44 " Jerusalem."45 [The rationale is that] all of these statements are similar to saying: "[This produce] is considered for me like a sacrifice."


אָמַר הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי כְּחֶרְמֵי שָׁמַיִם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין. שֶׁחֶרְמֵי שָׁמַיִם לְבֶדֶק הַבַּיִת. הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי כִּתְרוּמַת הַלִּשְׁכָּה כִּתְמִידִים כְּדִירִים כְּעֵצִים כְּאִשִּׁים כְּמִזְבֵּחַ אוֹ כְּאַחַד מִמְּשַׁמְּשֵׁי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ. כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָמַר הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי כְּיָעִים כְּמִזְרָקוֹת כְּמִזְלָגוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי כְּהֵיכָל כִּירוּשָׁלַיִם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הַזְכִּיר שֵׁם קָרְבָּן. שֶׁכָּל דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ עִנְיָנָם כְּאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי קָרְבָּן:


[When there was] sacrificial meat - even meat from a peace offering whose blood had been poured [on the altar] which is permitted to non-priests - before a person and he said: "[This produce] is considered for me like this meat," it is forbidden. [The rationale is that] he attached [his vow] to the fundamental element of the meat, and that was forbidden.46

[Different rules apply if] the meat was from a firstborn sacrifice. If its blood had not been poured [on the altar], [the produce] is forbidden.47 If it had been poured, it is permitted.


הָיָה לְפָנָיו בְּשַׂר קֹדֶשׁ אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה בְּשַׂר שְׁלָמִים אַחַר זְרִיקַת דָּמִים שֶׁהוּא מֻתָּר לַזָּרִים וְאָמַר הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי כְּבָשָׂר זֶה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין. שֶׁלֹּא הִתְפִּיס אֶלָּא בְּעִקָּרוֹ שֶׁהָיָה אָסוּר. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה בְּשַׂר בְּכוֹר אִם לִפְנֵי זְרִיקַת דָּמִים הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר וְאִם לְאַחר זְרִיקַת דָּמִים הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר:


There are places where people are inarticulate and mispronounce words, calling subjects by different names. [In those places,] we follow the meaning of the local term.

What is meant by the statement that all the terms used for the word korban, "sacrifice," are equivalent to the term korban? When one says: "[This produce] is considered for me like a konam," "...a konach," or "...a konaz," they are all terms referring to a korban. Cherek, cheref, and cherech are all terms referring to a cherem (dedication offering).

Similar laws apply in all analogous situations. We follow the language used by people at large in that place and at that time.48


יֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁאַנְשֵׁיהֶם עִלְּגִים וּמַפְסִידִין אֶת הַלָּשׁוֹן וּמְכַנִּין עַל דָּבָר בְּדָבָר אַחֵר הוֹלְכִין שָׁם אַחַר הַכִּנּוּי. כֵּיצַד כָּל כִּנּוּיֵי קָרְבָּן כְּקָרְבָּן. הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי הֵן עָלַי קוֹנַם קוֹנָח קוֹנָז הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ כִּנּוּיִין לְקָרְבָּן. חֵרֶק חֵרֶף חֵרֶךְ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ כִּנּוּיִין לְחֵרֶם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה הוֹלְכִין אַחַר לְשׁוֹן כְּלַל הָעָם בְּאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם וּבְאוֹתוֹ זְמַן:


Just as a person can make a vow forbidding entities to himself with such terms, so, too, if he consecrates an entity with such terms, the entity is consecrated. Nicknames for such terms,49 however, are not binding50 whether for vows involving prohibitions or vows involving the consecration of property.


וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁאוֹסֵר עַצְמוֹ בְּכִנּוּיִין כָּךְ אִם הִקְדִּישׁ בְּכִנּוּיִין הֲרֵי זֶה הֶקְדֵּשׁ. וְכִנּוּיֵי הַכִּנּוּיִין מֻתָּרִין בֵּין בְּנִדְרֵי אִסָּר בֵּין בְּנִדְרֵי הֶקְדֵּשׁ:


If a person tells a colleague: "Whatever I eat from your [property] will not be like ordinary food," "...will not be kosher," or "...will not be pure,"51 it is as if he told him: "Everything that I eat from your [property] will be like a sacrifice,"52 which is forbidden. Similarly, if he tells him: "Everything that I eat from your [property] will be an impure [sacrifice]," "...notar," or piggul,"53 it is forbidden.


הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ מַה שֶּׁאֹכַל עִמְּךָ לֹא יְהֵא חֻלִּין אוֹ לֹא יְהֵא כָּשֵׁר אוֹ לֹא יְהֵא דְּכִי אוֹ לֹא יְהֵא טָהוֹר הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ כָּל מַה שֶּׁאֹכַל עִמְּךָ יְהֵא קָרְבָּן שֶׁהוּא אָסוּר. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר לוֹ כָּל מַה שֶּׁאֹכַל עִמְּךָ טָמֵא אוֹ נוֹתָר אוֹ פִּגּוּל הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר:


When a person tells a colleague: "Not ordinary food will I not eat from your [property]," it is as if he told him:54 "What I will eat from your [property] will not be like ordinary food, but instead, like a sacrifice."55

Similarly, if he tells him: "The sacrifice if I eat from your [property]," "A sacrifice if I eat from your [property]," or "Like a sacrifice if I eat from your [property]," he is forbidden [to eat from his property].56 If, by contrast, he tells him: "The sacrifice I will not eat from your [property]," "Like a sacrifice, I will not eat from your [property]," "For a sacrifice, I will not eat from your [property]," "A sacrifice I will not eat from your [property]," or "Not a sacrifice, I will not eat from your [property]," he is permitted in all of these instances.57 For all of these expressions do not have any implication other than he is taking an oath by a sacrifice that he will not eat from his [property] and taking an oath on a sacrifice is not binding. Alternatively, [his intent can be interpreted] as taking a vow that he will not partake of a sacrifice with him.


הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ לֹא חֻלִּין לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ מַה שֶּׁאֹכַל לְךָ לֹא יְהֵא חֻלִּין אֶלָּא קָרְבָּן. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר הַקָרְבָּן שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ קָרְבָּן שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ כְּקָרְבָּן שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר. אֲבָל הָאוֹמֵר הַקָּרְבָּן לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ אוֹ כְּקָרְבָּן לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ אוֹ לְקָרְבָּן לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ אוֹ קָרְבָּן לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ אוֹ לֹא קָרְבָּן לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ כָּל אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִים. שֶׁאֵין מַשְׁמַע דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ אֶלָּא שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע בְּקָרְבָּן שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל לָזֶה וְהַנִּשְׁבָּע בְּקָרְבָּן אֵינוֹ כְּלוּם אוֹ שֶׁנָּדַר שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל לוֹ קָרְבָּן:


[If he tells him:] "Ordinary food, I will eat from your [property]," "The ordinary food, I will eat from your [property]," "Like ordinary food, I will eat from your [property]," "Ordinary food, I will not eat from your [property]," "The ordinary food, I will eat not with you," "Like ordinary food, I will not eat from your [property]," it is permitted for him [to eat from his property].58


חֻלִּין שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ הַחֻלִּין שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ כְּחֻלִּין שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ חֻלִּין שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ הַחֻלִּין שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ כְּחֻלִּין שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר:


If, by contrast, he says: "No impure [sacrifices] will I eat from your [property]," "No notar, will I eat from your [property]," or "No piggul will I eat from your [property]," he is forbidden. [The vow takes effect, because] the intent of his statements appears to be: "What I will eat will be piggul or impure. Therefore, I will not eat from your [property]."59


אֲבָל הָאוֹמֵר לֹא טָמֵא שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ לֹא נוֹתָר שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ לֹא פִּגּוּל שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ אָסוּר. שֶׁמַּשְׁמָעוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר דָּבָר שֶׁאֹכַל הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה פִּגּוּל אוֹ טָמֵא לְפִיכָךְ לֹא אֹכַל לְךָ:


[If he says:] "By the Temple, I will eat from your [property]," "The Temple, I will eat from your [property]," or "No Temple, I will eat from your [property]," [the vow is effective,60 and] it is forbidden. "The Temple, I will not eat from your [property]," "Like the Temple, I will not eat from your [property]," or "No Temple, I will not eat from your [property]," he is permitted.61 For this is like taking an oath by the Temple, that he will not eat from his [property]. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


בַּהֵיכָל שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ הֵיכָל שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ לֹא הֵיכָל שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ אָסוּר. הֵיכָל שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ כְּהֵיכָל שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ לֹא הֵיכָל שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ מֻתָּר. שֶׁזֶּה כְּמִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע בַּהֵיכָל שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


When a person tells a colleague, "I am taking a vow from you," his statement implies that he will not speak with him.62 "I am separate from you" implies that he will not do business with him. "I am distant from you" implies that he will not sit within four cubits of him. That same implication is conveyed by telling him: "I am ostracized from you" or "I am banned from you."63

If, however, says "I am taking a vow from you in that I will not eat from your [property]," "I am separate from you in that I will not eat from your [property]," or "I am distant from you in that I will not eat from your [property]," he is forbidden to eat from his [property].64 If he eats an olivesized portion [of food] from any of his property, he is liable for lashes for [violating the prohibition]: "He shall not desecrate his word."


הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ מֻדָּר אֲנִי מִמְּךָ מַשְׁמַע דָּבָר זֶה שֶׁלֹּא יְדַבֵּר עִמּוֹ. מֻפְרָשׁ אֲנִי מִמְּךָ מַשְׁמָעוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׂא וְיִתֵּן עִמּוֹ. מְרֻחָק אֲנִי מִמְּךָ מַשְׁמָעוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יֵשֵׁב בְּאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹתָיו. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר לוֹ מְנֻדֶּה אֲנִי לְךָ אוֹ מְשַׁמַּתְנָא מִמְּךָ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לוֹ מֻדָּר אֲנִי מִמְּךָ שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ. אוֹ מֻפְרָשׁ אֲנִי מִמְּךָ שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ אוֹ מְרֻחָק אֲנִי מִמְּךָ שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר לֶאֱכל. וְאִם אָכַל כְּזַיִת מִכָּל נְכָסָיו לוֹקֶה מִשּׁוּם (במדבר ל ג) "לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ":


If he tells him: "I am ostracized from you in that I will not eat from your [property]," he may not eat from his [property, but] if he does, he is not liable for lashes.65 If he tells him: "I have drifted66 from you," he is forbidden to benefit from him.67


אָמַר לוֹ מְנֻדֶּה אֲנִי לְךָ שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל לְךָ אֵינוֹ אוֹכֵל לוֹ וְאִם אָכַל אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה. אָמַר לוֹ נָדִינָא מִמְּךָ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר לֵהָנוֹת:


When a person tells a colleague: "Let it be considered for me like the vows of the wicked who make nazirite vows, vows for a sacrifice, and oaths,68 if I eat from your [property]," should he eat [from his property], he is liable for all of the above.69

Similarly, if he says: "Let it be considered for me like the pledges of the upright who make nazirite pledges70 and donations for a sacrifice,71 if I eat from your [property," should he eat from his property,] he is liable.72


הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ הֲרֵי עָלַי כְּנִדְרֵי רְשָׁעִים אִם אֹכַל לְךָ שֶׁמִּנִּדְרֵיהֶם נָזִיר וְקָרְבָּן וּשְׁבוּעָה וְאָכַל חַיָּב בְּכֻלָּן. וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי עָלַי כִּנְדָבוֹת כְּשֵׁרִים שֶׁמִּנִּדְבוֹתָם נָזִיר וְקָרְבָּן הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב:


If one says: "Let it be considered for me like the vows of the wicked..." or " the pledges of the upright73 that I will eat from your [property]," or "...if I eat from your property," he is forbidden [to do so], even if he did not make an explicit statement.74

If he said: "Like the vows of the upright," his statement is of no consequence, for the upright do not take vows to prohibit things out of anger. If he says: "I am like the vows of the wicked," and a nazirite was passing before him, he is obligated to observe a nazirite vow.75 If he says: "I am responsible, like the vows of the wicked," he is obligated to bring a sacrifice.76 "Like the vows of the wicked, I will not eat from it,"77 he is liable for an oath.78


אָמַר הֲרֵי עָלַי כְּנִדְרֵי רְשָׁעִים אוֹ כִּנְדָבוֹת כְּשֵׁרִים שֶׁאֹכַל לְךָ אוֹ אִם אֹכַל לְךָ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרֵשׁ. אָמַר כְּנִדְרֵי כְּשֵׁרִים לֹא נִתְחַיֵּב בִּכְלוּם שֶׁאֵין הַכְּשֵׁרִים נוֹדְרִים בְּדֶרֶךְ אִסּוּר וָכַעַס. אָמַר כְּנִדְרֵי רְשָׁעִים הֲרֵינִי וְהָיָה נָזִיר עוֹבֵר לְפָנָיו חַיָּב בִּנְזִירוּת. כְּנִדְרֵי רְשָׁעִים עָלַי חַיָּב קָרְבָּן. כְּנִדְרֵי רְשָׁעִים שֶׁלֹּא אֹכַל מִמֶּנּוּ חַיָּב בִּשְׁבוּעָה:


When a person takes a vow by the Torah, i.e., he says: "This produce is considered for me like this,"79 his statements are of no consequence80 and he need not ask a sage to release him from it.81 [An exception is made if] he is a common person so that he will not act frivolously with regard to vows.82


הַנּוֹדֵר בַּתּוֹרָה כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָמַר פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ עָלַי כָּזוֹ לֹא אָמַר כְּלוּם וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ שְׁאֵלָה לְחָכָם. אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה עַם הָאָרֶץ. כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִנְהֲגוּ קַלּוּת רֹאשׁ בִּנְדָרִים:


If one took a vow by what was written in [the Torah], he is forbidden [to partake of the article mentioned in his vow], for [the Torah] contains statements involving prohibitions and vows.83 If he took it in his arm and took an oath on it, it is as if he took a vow by what was written in it.84


נָדַר בְּמַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בָּהּ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּתוּב בָּהּ אִסָּר וְנֶדֶר. נְטָלָהּ בְּיָדוֹ וְנָדַר בָּהּ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁנָּדַר בְּמַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בָּהּ:


When a person tells a colleague: "Let's get up and study a chapter [of Torah]," he is obligated to get up and study.85 Even though he did not use the wording of a vow, this is comparable to a vow.86


הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ נַשְׁכִּים וְנִשְׁנֶה פֶּרֶק. עָלָיו לְהַשְׁכִּים וְלִקְרוֹת שֶׁזֶּה כְּמוֹ נֵדֶר הוּא וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הוֹצִיאוֹ בִּלְשׁוֹן נֵדֶר:


When a person tells his wife: "You are considered to me as my mother," " my sister,"87 " orlah," or " mixed species in a vineyard,"88 it is as if one says concerning produce: "May it be like pig meat." Just as he is permitted to partake of that produce, as explained,89 so, too, he is permitted [to engage in relations] with his wife.

If, however, he tells her: "I am taking a vow, forbidding all pleasure from you"90or "The pleasure of relations with you is forbidden to me," she is forbidden to him, as will be explained.91


הָאוֹמֵר לְאִשְׁתּוֹ הֲרֵי אַתְּ עָלַי כְּאִמִּי אוֹ כַּאֲחוֹתִי אוֹ כְּעָרְלָה אוֹ כְּכִלְאֵי הַכֶּרֶם הֲרֵי זֶה כְּאוֹמֵר עַל הַפֵּרוֹת הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ כִּבְשַׂר חֲזִיר. כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהוּא מֻתָּר לְאָכְלָן כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ כָּךְ מֻתָּר בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לָהּ הֲרֵינִי מֻדָּר מִמְּךָ הֲנָיָה אוֹ הֲנָאַת תַּשְׁמִישֵׁךְ אֲסוּרָה עָלַי הֲרֵי זוֹ אֲסוּרָה עָלָיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:


For the intent of a vow is not to forbid what the Torah has prohibited, and certainly not to permit what the Torah has prohibited (Radbaz).


I.e., it need not be stated in Lashon HaKodesh (Biblical Hebrew).


As stated in Hilchot Sh'vuot 2:2, an oath must mention God's name or one of the terms used to describe Him.


I.e., he is personally responsible to bring a sacrifice; there is no set animal designated for that purpose.


I.e., the animal is designated to be offered as a sacrifice; there is no obligation on the person.


I.e., if the animal which he originally intended to be sacrificed is lost, he must provide another one, because he accepted personal responsibility. See Halachot 25 and 26 with regard to the distinction between the two terms.


For it was only the one animal that was designated as a sacrifice.


See Chapters 6 and 9 of those halachot which explain the difference between these types of sacrifices. There are also occasional references to such vows in these halachot. See, for example, Halachah 17 of this chapter.


Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 94) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 575) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.


Although there are two different verses which point to the same commandment, they are counted only as one mitzvah. For the verse from Deuteronomy could be interpreted as a reinforcement for the negative commandment mentioned in the following verse and the verse from Numbers can be interpreted as referring only to vows involving prohibitions (Radbaz). In his Hasagot to Sefer HaMitzvot, the Ramban considers these as two separate mitzvot.


As is the punishment prescribed for the violation of any negative commandment. Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 157) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 407) include this prohibition among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.


As evident from the continuation of the Rambam's statements, were the person to have mentioned "eating" in his vow, we would have interpreted the prohibition as involving an olive-sized portion, the minimum measure for eating that applies with regard to other prohibitions. Since he did not, the implication is that even the slightest amount is forbidden. Compare to Hilchot Sh'vuot 4:1.


This does not apply with regard to oaths (Hilchot Sh'vuot 4:8). Even with regard to vows, it applies only when one uses the expression "eating." The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that the law applies only when the two are included in the same oath. Their difference of opinion revolves around the understanding of Sh'vuot 22a.


I.e., the person wants to forbid himself from eating together with his colleague.


Just as a person cannot partake of a sacrifice until it is offered, so, too, he cannot partake of an entity forbidden by a vow. Just as the consecration of a sacrifice comes about because of a person's vow and his vow is what causes the sacrifice to become forbidden, so too, a vow causes an entity to be forbidden.

See Hilchot Meilah 4:9-10 which explains that with regard to the person forbidden by the vow, the article becomes like consecrated property. Hence, he is obligated to bring a sacrifice in atonement if he benefits from the article.


For these substances are inherently forbidden; they do not become prohibited because of man's statements. An animal consecrated as a sacrifice, by contrast, is inherently permitted. It is only man's statements that cause it to become forbidden.


As a person can cause a sacrifice to become forbidden.

The Rambam is explaining a fundamental principle with regard to vows. A vow becomes effective when a person establishes an equation between an entity (e.g., produce) and another entity (e.g., a sacrifice), provided it is possible for him to cause the latter entity to become forbidden on the basis of his vow alone.


I.e., objects which are inherently forbidden.


See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 14:8, Hilchot Shegagot 1:1. These sacrifices are required when a person transgresses a prohibition. If he does not transgress, he may not bring such a sacrifice and if he does transgress, he is compelled to do so. Offering it is not dependent on his vow.


Hilchot Nazirut 6:11; 8:1.


Due to contact with a human corpse (ibid. 7:2).


Ibid. 6:11; see also Hilchot Shegagot 9:1.


And thus bringing them is obviously dependent on his making a vow.


Challah refers to a portion that must be separated from dough and given to a priest. Terumah refers to a portion of grain that must be separated and given to a priest. Since they may not be eaten by a non-priest, one might think that they could be the subject of a vow. Aaron is mentioned, because he is the progenitor of the priestly family.


A person is required to separate these portions from his dough or grain. Although the amount he gives and the designation of the priest to whom he gives them is dependent on his will, he is obligated to make the gift. The Ra'avad offers a different rationale for this law.


Sacrificial meat that was left after its prescribed time and hence, forbidden to be eaten.


Sacrifices that were offered with the intent that they be eaten at a time when it was forbidden to do so and hence, become forbidden to be eaten.


And is thus forbidden to be eaten.


It is beyond his capacity to make the object concerning which he is taking a vow bound by any of the prohibitions mentioned. Nevertheless, all of these prohibitions involve sacrificial meat and sacrificial meat is forbidden to be eaten before it was offered in a proper way, because of his oath as above. Hence, the vow can take effect.


As Leviticus 27:32 states, a person must bring every tenth animal born to his herd as a tithe offering. See also Chapter 2, Halachah 9.


Although we are required to separate these offerings, the tithing process through which the holiness is conveyed upon the animal is a result of man's actions.

It is possible to differentiate between such offerings and terumah, for even before the terumah was separated, the grain was not permitted to be eaten, because it was tevel. The animals, by contrast, could have been slaughtered, before the tithe was separated (see Radbaz, quoting Rabbenu Asher).


Which is sanctified from birth and offered as a sacrifice.


Instead, it is sanctified from birth.


The Kessef Mishneh quotes a responsum from the Rambam's son, Rav Avraham who addresses the following question that was posed to him: The prooftext from Leviticus has been interpreted by the Sifri as teaching that a firstborn may not be consecrated as another sacrifice (see Hilchot Temurah 4:11 where the Rambam quotes this concept). Moreover, although the firstborn is intrinsically holy, it is a mitzvah to consecrate it for that sacrifice (quoted by the Rambam in Hilchot Bechorot 1:5), and thus seemingly, the holiness is conveyed upon it by a mortal's actions.

Rav Avraham replies that since the holiness of the firstborn is inherent and it cannot be changed to that of another sacrifice, that is a proof that a vow cannot affect it. With regard to using a first born as the basis for a vow, see also Halachah 15 and notes.


See Hilchot Arachin V'Charamim 6:1 for a description of the nature of this pledge.


And are forbidden to be used for mundane purposes. Thus they represent an entity that was forbidden by man's pledge.


The Hebrew term terumat halishkah refers to the money collected from the half-shekel donations collected from the Jewish people and used for the communal sacrifices offered in the Temple. See Hilchot Shekalim, ch. 2.


I.e., the chambers in the Temple. This and several of the following interpretations are based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Nedarim 1:3).


For the altar.


I.e., the portions of the sacrifices offered on the Temple altar.


Used to rake the ashes on the altar.


Used to collect the blood from the sacrifices and then pour it on the altar.


Used to move portions of the sacrifices around on the altar's fire, so that they would be consumed by it.


I.e., like the sacrifices offered in the Temple.


Like the sacrifices eaten in Jerusalem.


Since fundamentally, before its blood was poured on the altar, the meat was forbidden, that is the factor that we consider. We do not take into consideration the fact that afterwards it became permitted. This ruling is the subject of an unresolved question in Nedarim 11b. Hence, we rule stringently (Radbaz, Kessef Mishneh).


For then it is forbidden to everyone. Hence one might say that just as his designation of the firstborn causes the meat to be forbidden, making a vow using a firstborn sacrifice as a basis is effective.

This ruling has created difficulty among the commentaries, because in Halachah 13 the Rambam ruled that a firstborn animal cannot be used as the basis of a vow. Similarly, as the Ra'avad points out, the Rambam's ruling does not appear to be consistent with either of the positions mentioned in Nedarim 12b, the source for this halachah. This leads the Kessef Mishneh to conclude that there was a printing error in the text of the Mishneh Torah and the proper version is "[the produce] is permitted." He states that he found an ancient text that reads this way. Similarly, the Yemenite manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah read in that manner, omitting the last phrase entirely.

The Kessef Mishneh, however, notes that the Rambam's son, Rav Avraham defends the ruling in the existing text of the Mishneh Torah, explaining that there is a difference between a firstborn sacrifice and the meat of a firstborn sacrifice.


For this is representative of the person's intent. Taking this concept further, the Rama Yoreh De'ah 207:1) quotes opinions that maintain that this surely applies to vows made in gentile languages. And conversely, he also mentions views that maintain that if someone makes a vow using the wording of our Sages without understanding what he is saying, it does not take effect.


Nedarim 10b gives examples: miknamna, miknachna, and miknasna.


For they are very distant from the original wording [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 207:1)]. Kin'at Eliyahu states that apparently, they also would not have been recognized universally as having the desired intent.


The Rambam states this expression twice: once in Aramaic and once in Lashon HaKodesh.


I.e., the opposite of ordinary food is sacrificial food that is consecrated. Similarly with regard to his statement about impure food, we assume that his intent is an impure sacrifice in which instance, his vow is effective. Although it is possible that his intent is impure terumah (in which instance, his vow would not be binding), we follow the principle (Chapter 2, Halachah 7): Whenever there is a doubt concerning the effectiveness of a vow, we rule stringently (Rabbenu Nissim).


See Halachah 11 for a definition of these terms.


I.e., we interpret his statement as the Rambam explains.


And hence, forbidden to be eaten (Nedarim 11b).


Even though none of these expressions is precise, they are still close enough to imply that his intent is that he is forbidding eating with his colleague like a sacrifice is forbidden.


I.e., his oath is not binding, for the reasons the Rambam continues to explain.


Because he does not mention a sacrifice in any of these expressions. The Ra'avad mentions that from Nedarim 11a, it would appear that some of these expressions would involve a vow. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh justify the Rambam's rulings.


Based on Nedarim 10b, the Lechem Mishneh explains that we offer this interpretation, because we assume that a person will not make statements unnecessarily. Hence, since his statements could be interpreted as implying a vow, we offer such an interpretation. The Kessef Mishneh struggles with the meaning of the Rambam's words and suggests that perhaps an error crept into the text.


For he is forbidding himself from eating with his colleague, like he is forbidden to partake of the Temple's sacrifices.


Concluding with a negative expression implies that this is his intent, as in Halachah 19 (Radbaz). In this instance as well, the Kessef Mishneh questions the Rambam's wording.


This and the subsequent statements of this clause do not imply that he is forbidden to partake of the other person's food.


For this restriction applies when a person is under a ban of ostracism (see Hilchot Talmud Torah 7:4).

The Turei Zahav 206:1 mentions the opinion of Rabbenu Asher who maintains that these vows are not effective at all.


He may, however, speak to him (Radbaz).

Although the person does not mention the terms "prohibition" or "sacrifice" in his vow, since his intent is obviously to prohibit himself from benefiting from the other person, that prohibition takes effect. This reflects the principle (Nedarim 3a): "The handles of vows are as vows." The intent is that even a statement that, like a handle to a cup, is merely an auxiliary to a vow is binding like a vow itself. See also a responsum authored by the Rambam's son, Rav Avraham, which explains that even when the intent of one's statements are not entirely clear, as in the present instance, they may constitute a vow, provided their intent is somewhat clear. This principle is also quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 206:1).


From Nedarim 7a, it appears that this expression creates an unresolved question whether the one taking the vow was merely promising not to come within four cubits of the other person or whether he intended to forbid partaking of that person's property. Because of the doubt, he is forbidden to partake of the property, but is not given lashes.


The term the Rambam uses relates to the Hebrew words na and nad which mean "wander" and "roam." Nevertheless, Nedarim 7a states that all authorities agree that this expression creates a binding commitment.


Since he does not use the words "eat" or "partake," we assume that he intended to create a more encompassing prohibition.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the expression means that he is not allowed to partake of his property in his presence. That interpretation is also discussed by the Kessef Mishneh.


The Rambam is referring to the wording of the Mishnah (Nedarim 1:1). The wicked make vows hastily and moreover, obligate themselves for vows which constitute a commitment incumbent on their person (Halachah 2). See also Chapter 13, Halachah 25, which states that it is undesirable to make vows.


I.e., he must accept a nazirite vow, bring a burnt offering, and is liable for lashes for taking a false sh'vuat bitui.


See Chapter 13, Halachah 23.


The term the Rambam refers to "donations," i.e., animals which the person designates as a sacrifices, but if lost do not create a lien on his person (Halachah 2).


To uphold a nazirite vow and to bring a sacrifice. He is not, however, liable for an oath, because he did not mention an oath in his statements, since the upright do not take oaths casually.


In either case, his statement implies a binding commitment for the wicked make vows and the upright make pledges.


I.e., he did not explicitly attach his vow to a sacrifice. This is another example of "the handles of vows" mentioned above (Radbaz).


Since the nazirite was passing before him, we assume that this was his intent.


This applies even when an animal is not in his sight, for this appears to be his intent (Radbaz).


I.e., a loaf of bread [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 206:4)].


I.e., if he partakes of the food, he is liable for taking a false sh'vuat bitui.


I.e., a Torah scroll.


For the holiness of a Torah scroll is inherent. It is not established by man's actions.


See Chapter 4, Halachah 5, and Hilchot Sh'vuot, ch. 6, which describe this practice.


I.e., the vow is not binding. Nevertheless, we make it appear that it is and require him to seek to be released for the reason stated by the Rambam. See the parallels in Chapter 2, Halachot 12-13 and Hilchot Sh'vuot 12:4-5.


The Rambam's explanation is based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Nedarim 1:3). With regard to oaths, by contrast, his intent is focused on God's name.


Since he knows what is written in the Torah and is holding it in a reverent manner, we assume that he is not making his statements in vain. Hence, we interpret them as referring to an option for which he would be liable.


Nedarim 8a derives this concept from Ezekiel 3:22-23 which states: "And He said to me: "Arise and go out to the valley and there I will speak to you. I arose and I went out to the valley and there the glory of God was standing." Since God promised to reveal Himself to Ezekiel, He kept his word, appearing even before Ezekiel arrived there.


From Nedarim 8a, it appears that although this statement establishes a binding commitment, it does not have the full power of a vow. The Tur and the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 213:2) consider this statement as an actual vow.

The Rambam's perspective appears to be that a vow involves making an object forbidden. This instance where the person accepts a commitment upon himself bears a closer resemblance to the obligation incurred when making an oath. Nevertheless, since the person did not employ the wording associated with an oath, it is not binding as an oath. Nonetheless, since a mitzvah is involved, a binding commitment is established.


With whom it is forbidden for him to engage in relations.


Of which it is forbidden to partake. See Leviticus 19:23, Deuteronomy 22:9.


Halachot 8-9. See also Chapter 2, Halachah 13.


A man is obligated to give his wife conjugal rights. Hence, he is not allowed to forbid himself from engaging in relations with her. Nevertheless, in this instance, since the vow also involves satisfaction that he could forbid him, it also includes this form of satisfaction.


For he did not forbid relations, but instead, the satisfaction relations bring him. See Chapter 12, Halachah 9.

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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 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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