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 as if the oath had never been taken].1

א

מִי שֶׁנָּדַר אוֹ נִשְׁבַּע וּפֵרֵשׁ בִּשְׁעַת נִדְרוֹ דָּבָר שֶׁנָּדַר אוֹ נִשְׁבַּע בִּגְלָלוֹ. הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁתָּלָה נִדְרוֹ אוֹ שְׁבוּעָתוֹ בְּאוֹתוֹ דָּבָר. וְאִם לֹא נִתְקַיֵּם אוֹתוֹ דָּבָר שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע בִּגְלָלוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר:

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

כֵּיצַד. נָדַר אוֹ נִשְׁבַּע שֶׁאֵינִי נוֹשֵׂא אִשָּׁה פְּלוֹנִית שֶׁאָבִיהָ רַע. שֶׁאֵינִי נִכְנָס לְבַיִת זֶה שֶׁכֶּלֶב רַע בְּתוֹכוֹ. מֵתוּ אוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה הָאָב תְּשׁוּבָה הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר. שֶׁזֶּה כְּמִי שֶׁנָּדַר אוֹ נִשְׁבַּע וְאָמַר שֶׁלֹּא אֶשָּׂא פְּלוֹנִית וְלֹא אֶכָּנֵס לְבַיִת זֶה אֶלָּא אִם נִסְתַּלֵּק הַהֵזֶּק. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

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

אֲבָל הַנּוֹדֵר אוֹ הַנִּשְׁבָּע שֶׁאֵינִי נוֹשֵׂא פְּלוֹנִית הַכְּעוּרָה וְנִמְצֵאת נָאָה. שְׁחוֹרָה וְנִמְצֵאת לְבָנָה. קְצָרָה וְנִמְצֵאת אֲרֻכָּה. קוֹנָם שֶׁאֵין אִשְׁתִּי נֶהֱנֵית לִי שֶׁגָּנְבָה אֶת כִּיסִי וְשֶׁהִכְּתָה אֶת בְּנִי וְנוֹדַע שֶׁלֹּא גָּנְבָה וְשֶׁלֹּא הִכְּתָה. הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא נֵדֶר טָעוּת וְהוּא בִּכְלַל נִדְרֵי שְׁגָגוֹת שֶׁהֵן מֻתָּרִין. וְאֵין זֶה כְּתוֹלֶה נִדְרוֹ בְּדָבָר וְלֹא נִתְקַיֵּם הַדָּבָר. שֶׁהֲרֵי הַסִּבָּה שֶׁבִּגְלָלָהּ נָדַר לֹא הָיְתָה מְצוּיָה וְטָעוּת הָיָה:

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

וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא מִי שֶׁרָאָה אֲנָשִׁים מֵרָחוֹק אוֹכְלִים תְּאֵנִים שֶׁלּוֹ. וְאָמַר לָהֶן הֲרֵי הֵן עֲלֵיכֶם קָרְבָּן. כֵּיוָן שֶׁקָּרַב אֲלֵיהֶם וְהִבִּיט וַהֲרֵי הֵן אָבִיו וְאָחִיו הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִין. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרֵשׁ הַסִּבָּה שֶׁהִדִּירָן בִּגְלָלָהּ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ. שֶׁהַדָּבָר מוֹכִיחַ שֶׁלֹּא אָסַר עֲלֵיהֶם אֶלָּא שֶׁהָיָה בְּדַעְתּוֹ שֶׁהֵן זָרִים. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

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

מִי שֶׁנָּדַר אוֹ נִשְׁבַּע וְנוֹלַד לוֹ דָּבָר שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בְּלִבּוֹ בִּשְׁעַת הַשְּׁבוּעָה אוֹ בִּשְׁעַת הַנֵּדֶר הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁאַל לְחָכָם וְיַתִּיר אֶת נִדְרוֹ. כֵּיצַד. אָסַר אֶת עַצְמוֹ בַּהֲנָיַת פְּלוֹנִי אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנֵס לְמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי. וְנַעֲשָׂה אוֹתוֹ הָאִישׁ סוֹפֵר וְאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר אִלּוּ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁזֶּה נַעֲשָׂה סוֹפֵר וּבְמָקוֹם זֶה יֵעָשֶׂה בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת לֹא הָיִיתִי נוֹדֵר אוֹ נִשְׁבַּע הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר לֵהָנוֹת וּלְהִכָּנֵס עַד שֶׁיַּתִּיר נִדְרוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

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

כָּל נֵדֶר שֶׁהֻתַּר מִקְצָתוֹ הֻתַּר כֻּלּוֹ וְהוּא הַדִּין בִּשְׁבוּעָה. כֵּיצַד. רָאָה אֲנָשִׁים מֵרָחוֹק אוֹכְלִין פֵּרוֹתָיו וְאָמַר הֲרֵי הֵן עֲלֵיכֶם קָרְבָּן. וּכְשֶׁהִגִּיעַ אֲלֵיהֶם וְהִנֵּה הֵם אָבִיו וַאֲנָשִׁים זָרִים הוֹאִיל וְאָבִיו מֻתָּר כֻּלָּן מֻתָּרִין. וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמַר אִלּוּ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ כֵּן הָיִיתִי אוֹמֵר פְּלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי אֲסוּרִין וְאָבִי מֻתָּר הֲרֵי כֻּלָּן מֻתָּרִין. אֲבָל אִם אוֹמֵר כְּשֶׁהִגִּיעַ אֲלֵיהֶן אִלּוּ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאָבִי בֵּינֵיכֶם הָיִיתִי אוֹמֵר כֻּלְּכֶם אֲסוּרִין חוּץ מֵאָבִי הֲרֵי כֻּלָּן אֲסוּרִין חוּץ מֵאָבִיו. שֶׁהֲרֵי גִּלָּה דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא הִתִּיר מִקְצָת הַנֵּדֶר אֶלָּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁנָּדַר הָיָה נוֹדֵר וּמַתְנֶה עַל אָבִיו:

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

וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר הַיַּיִן קָרְבָּן עָלַי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַיַּיִן רַע לִבְנֵי מֵעַיִם. וְאָמְרוּ לוֹ הֲרֵי הַמְיֻשָּׁן יָפֶה לִבְנֵי מֵעַיִם. אִם אָמַר אִלּוּ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ לֹא הָיִיתִי נוֹדֵר. וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמַר אִלּוּ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ הָיִיתִי אוֹמֵר הֶחָדָשׁ אָסוּר וְהַיָּשָׁן מֻתָּר. מֻתָּר בַּיָּשָׁן וּבֶחָדָשׁ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר אִלּוּ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ הָיִיתִי אוֹמֵר כָּל הַיֵּינוֹת אֲסוּרִין עָלַי חוּץ מִן הַמְיֻשָּׁן הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר בַּמְיֻשָּׁן בִּלְבַד. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

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

כָּל הַנּוֹדֵר אוֹ נִשְׁבָּע רוֹאִין דְּבָרִים שֶׁבִּגְלָלָן נִשְׁבַּע אוֹ נָדַר וּלְמֵדִין מֵהֶן לְאֵי זֶה נִתְכַּוֵּן וְהוֹלְכִין אַחַר הָעִנְיָן לֹא אַחַר כָּל מַשְׁמַע הַדִּבּוּר. כֵּיצַד. הָיָה טָעוּן מַשָּׂא שֶׁל צֶמֶר אוֹ שֶׁל פִּשְׁתִּים וְהִזִּיעַ וְהָיָה רֵיחוֹ קָשֶׁה וְנִשְׁבַּע אוֹ נָדַר שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲלֶה עָלָיו צֶמֶר אוֹ פִּשְׁתִּים לְעוֹלָם. הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לִלְבּשׁ בִּגְדֵי צֶמֶר אוֹ פִּשְׁתִּים וּלְכַסּוֹתָן. וְאֵינוֹ אָסוּר אֶלָּא לְהַפְשִׁילָן לַאֲחוֹרָיו. הָיָה לָבוּשׁ בִּגְדֵי צֶמֶר וְנִצְטַעֵר בִּלְבִישָׁתָן וְנִשְׁבַּע אוֹ נָדַר שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲלֶה עָלָיו צֶמֶר לְעוֹלָם אָסוּר לִלְבּשׁ וּמֻתָּר לִטְעֹן עָלָיו וּמֻתָּר לְהִתְכַּסּוֹת בְּגִזֵּי צֶמֶר. שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן זֶה אֶלָּא לְבֶגֶד צֶמֶר. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

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

הָיוּ מְבַקְּשִׁין מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁיִּשָּׂא קְרוֹבָתוֹ וְהוּא מְמָאֵן וּפָצְרוּ בּוֹ וְנָדַר אוֹ נִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא תֶּהֱנֶה בּוֹ לְעוֹלָם. וְכֵן הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְנִשְׁבַּע אוֹ נָדַר שֶׁלֹּא תֶּהֱנֶה בּוֹ לְעוֹלָם. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרוֹת לֵהָנוֹת לוֹ. שֶׁאֵין כַּוָּנָתוֹ אֶלָּא לְשֵׁם אִישׁוּת:

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

וְכֵן הַקּוֹרֵא לַחֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁיִּסְעֹד אֶצְלוֹ וּמֵאֵן וְנִשְׁבַּע אוֹ נָדַר שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנֵס לְבֵיתוֹ וְלֹא יִשְׁתֶּה לוֹ טִפַּת צוֹנֵן הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְהִכָּנֵס לְבֵיתוֹ וְלִשְׁתּוֹת לוֹ צוֹנֵן. שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן זֶה אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל וְיִשְׁתֶּה עִמּוֹ בִּסְעֻדָּה זוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

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

הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ קוֹנָם לְבֵיתְךָ אֲנִי נִכְנָס וְשָׂדְךָ אֲנִי לוֹקֵחַ בֵּין בְּנֵדֶר בֵּין בִּשְׁבוּעָה וּמֵת אוֹ מְכָרָן לְאַחֵר הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְהִכָּנֵס לַבַּיִת וְלִקַּח הַשָּׂדֶה מִן הַיּוֹרֵשׁ אוֹ מִן הַלּוֹקֵחַ. שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן זֶה אֶלָּא כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהֵן בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לַבַּיִת הַזֶּה אֵינִי נִכְנָס וְשָׂדֶה זֶה אֵינִי לוֹקֵחַ וּמֵת אוֹ מְכָרָן לְאַחֵר הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר:

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

הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ הַשְׁאִילֵנִי פָּרָתְךָ אָמַר לוֹ אֵינָהּ פְּנוּיָה נִשְׁבַּע אוֹ נָדַר וְאָמַר קוֹנָם שָׂדִי אֵינִי חוֹרֵשׁ בָּהּ לְעוֹלָם. אִם הָיָה דַּרְכּוֹ לַחְרשׁ בְּיָדוֹ הוּא אָסוּר וְכָל אָדָם מֻתָּרִין לַחְרשׁ לוֹ בָּהּ. וְאִם אֵין דַּרְכּוֹ לַחְרשׁ בְּיָדוֹ הוּא וְכָל אָדָם אֲסוּרִין. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ:

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

מִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע אוֹ נָדַר שֶׁיִּשָּׂא אִשָּׁה אוֹ שֶׁיִּקְנֶה בַּיִת אוֹ שֶׁיֵּצֵא בְּשַׁיָּרָא אוֹ יִפְרשׁ בַּיָּם אֵין מְחַיְּבִין אוֹתוֹ לִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה אוֹ לִקְנוֹת אוֹ לְצֵאת מִיָּד אֶלָּא עַד שֶׁיִּמָּצֵא דָּבָר הֶהָגוּן לוֹ. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאִשָּׁה שֶׁנָּדְרָה שֶׁכָּל מִי שֶׁיִּתְבַּע אוֹתָהּ תִּנָּשֵׂא לוֹ וְקָפְצוּ עָלֶיהָ בְּנֵי אָדָם שֶׁאֵינָן הֲגוּנִין לָהּ. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים לֹא נִתְכַּוְּנָה זוֹ אֶלָּא לְכָל מִי שֶׁיִּתְבַּע אוֹתָהּ מִן הַהֲגוּנִין לָהּ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

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

הַמַּדִּיר אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע וְאָמַר לוֹ שֶׁתָּבוֹא וְתִטּל לְבָנֶיךָ כּוֹר אֶחָד חִטִּים אוֹ שְׁתֵּי חָבִיּוֹת שֶׁל יַיִן הֲרֵי זֶה יָכוֹל לְהַתִּיר נִדְרוֹ בְּלֹא שְׁאֵלָה לְחָכָם. וְיֹאמַר לוֹ כְּלוּם נִתְכַּוַּנְתָּ אֶלָּא לְכַבְּדֵנִי כְּבוֹדִי שֶׁלֹּא אֶטּל וּכְבָר הִגִּיעַ אֵלַי כָּבוֹד שֶׁנָּדַרְתָּ בִּשְׁבִילִי. וְכֵן הַנּוֹדֵר אוֹ הַנִּשְׁבָּע שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה נֶהֱנֶה לִי אִם אֵין אַתָּה נוֹתֵן לִבְנִי כּוֹר שֶׁל חִטִּים וּשְׁתֵּי חָבִיּוֹת שֶׁל יַיִן. הֲרֵי זֶה יָכוֹל לְהַתִּיר נִדְרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁאֵלַת חָכָם וְיֹאמַר הֲרֵינִי כְּאִלּוּ נִתְקַבַּלְתִּי וְהִגִּיעוּ לְיָדִי. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה: