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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
R. Hamnuna objected: To vow a vow of a Nazirite, declaring themselves it Nazirite [into the Lord]:2 teaches hence [we learn] that neziruth falls upon neziruth.3 For I would think, does it [the reverse] not follow a fortiori: If an oath, which is [more] stringent, is not binding upon another oath; how much more so neziruth, which is less rigorous!4 Therefore it is stated, 'a nazirite, declaring himself a nazirite to the Lord'; from which [we learnt] that neziroth falls upon neziroth. Now how is this? Shall we say, that one said, 'Behold, I will be a nazir to-day; Behold, I will be a nazir to-morrow, — is a verse necessary? But presumably it applies to one who said, 'Behold, I will be a nazir to day, Behold, I will be a nazir to-day;' and it is stated that the second [vow of] neziruth is binding in addition to the first?5 — No. This refers to one who undertook two [periods of] neziruth simultaneously.
Now, wherein is an oath more rigorous than a vow? Shall we say in so far that it is applicable even to the abstract:6 but a vow too is more stringent, since it is as valid in respect to a precept as in respect to anything optional?7 — But it is because it is written in reference thereto, he shall not be held guiltless [that taketh my name in vain].8
BUT IF HE SAYS, 'I SWEAR THAT I WILL NOT EAT [THIS LOAF],' 'I SWEAR THAT I WILL NOT EAT [THIS LOAF],' AND THEN EATS IT, HE IS LIABLE [TO PUNISHMENT] FOR ONE [OATH] ONLY. Raba said: If he was absolved of the first, the second becomes binding. How is this deduced? Since it is not stated, It is only one [oath], but, HE IS LIABLE [TO PUNISHMENT] FOR ONE [OATH] ONLY: thus, there is no room for it;9 but if the first is revoked, the second becomes binding. A different version [of Raba's dictum] is this: There is no penalty [for the second], yet it is an oath. For what purpose is it so?10 — For Raba's dictum. For Raba said: If he was absolved of the first, the second takes its place. Shall we say that the following supports him: If one made two vows of neziruth, observed the first, set aside a sacrifice, and was then absolved thereof, the second [vow] is fulfilled in [the observance of] the first?11 — [No.] This refers e.g., to one who vowed two periods of neziruth simultaneously.12
MISHNAH. UNSPECIFIED VOWS ARE INTERPRETED STRICTLY, BUT IF SPECIFIED,1 LENIENTLY. E.G., IF ONE VOWS, BEHOLD! THIS BE TO ME AS SALTED MEAT,' OR, 'AS WINE OF LIBATION': NOW, IF HE VOWED BY ALLUSION TO A PEACEOFFERING,2 HE IS FORBIDDEN;3 IF BY AN IDOLATROUS SACRIFICE, HE IS PERMITTED, BUT IF IT WAS UNSPECIFIED, HE IS FORBIDDEN. [IF ONE DECLARES], 'BEHOLD! THIS BE TO ME AS HEREM': IF AS A HEREM TO THE LORD,4 HE IS FORBIDDEN; IF AS A HEREM TO THE PRIESTS, HE IS PERMITTED.5 IF IT IS UNSPECIFIED, HE IS FORBIDDEN. 'BEHOLD! THIS BE TO ME AS TITHE': IF HE VOWED, AS CATTLE TITHES, HE IS FORBIDDEN; IF AS CORN TITHES, HE IS PERMITTED; IF UNSPECIFIED, HE IS FORBIDDEN.6 'BEHOLD! THIS BE TO ME AS TERUMAH';7 IF HE VOWED, AS THE TERUMAH OF THE TEMPLE-CHAMBER,8 HE IS FORBIDDEN; IF AS THE TERUMAH OF THE THRESHING-FLOOR [I.E., OF CORN]. HE IS PERMITTED;9 IF UNSPECIFIED, HE IS FORBIDDEN: THIS IS THE VIEW OF R. MEIR. R. JUDAH SAID; AN UNSPECIFIED REFERENCE TO TERUMAH IN JUDEA10 IS BINDING, BUT NOT IN GALILEE, BECAUSE THE GALILEANS ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE TERUMAH OF THE TEMPLE-CHAMBER.11 UNQUALIFIED ALLUSIONS TO HARAMIM IN JUDEA ARE NOT BINDING. BUT IN GALILEE THEY ARE, BECAUSE THE GALILEANS ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH PRIESTLY HARAMIM.12
GEMARA. But we learnt: A doubt in neziruth is treated leniently?13 — R. Zera answered; There is no difficulty; This [our Mishnah] agrees with the Rabbis; the other, with R. Eliezer. For it was taught: If one consecrates [all] his beasts and his cattle,14 the koy15 is included. R. Eliezer said: He has not consecrated the koy.16 He who maintains that one permits doubt to extend to his chattels,17 maintains likewise that he permits it to extend to himself too.18 But he who holds that one does not permit doubt to extend to his chattels, will maintain this all the more of one's own person.
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