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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
GEMARA. FOUR VOWS HAVE THE RABBIS INVALIDATED etc. R. Abba b. Memel said to R. Ammi: You have told us in the name of R. Judah Nesi'ah:2 Which Tanna holds this view? — R. Judah, who said on the authority of R. Tarfon: Neither is a nazir, because neziroth must be expressed with certainty.3 Raba said: You may even say, The Rabbis. Does the Mishnah teach, both [subsequently] agreed — it teaches, BOTH ARE AGREED.4
Rabina asked R. Ashi: If he demanded more than a se'ah, and the other offered less than a shekel5 is it a [valid] vow, or still a matter of incitement?6 — He replied. We have learnt this. If one was urging his neighbour to eat in his house, and he answered: 'Konam if I enter your house,' or 'if I drink a drop of cold water', he may enter his house and drink cold water, because he only meant eating and drinking in general.7 But why? Did he not state, a drop of cold water? Hence this is the usual manner of speech.8 Thus here too: this is the usual manner of speech!9 — He said to him:
Nedarim 21bHow compare? In the case of cold water, 'the righteous promise little and perform much';1 but here, It is really doubtful whether he [the vendor] implied that he would take less than a sela', and [the buyer] that he would give more than a shekel,2 and it is [a vow of] incitement, or perhaps, each spoke literally, and it is a valid [vow]? This problem remains unsolved.
Rab Judah said in R. Assi's name: For these four vows [formal] absolution must be sought from a Sage. When I stated this before Samuel, he observed: The Tanna teaches, FOUR VOWS HAVE THE SAGES INVALIDATED,3 yet you say. absolution must be sought from a Sage! R. Joseph reported this discussion in the following version: Rab Judah said in R. Assi's name: A Sage may remit only such [vows] as are similar to these four. Thus in his view mere regret is not given as an opening [for absolution].4 A man once came before R. Huna [for absolution]. He asked him: 'Are you still of the same mind?' and he replied 'No!' Thereupon he absolved him. A man once came before Rabbah son of R. Huna, who asked him: 'Had ten men been present to appease you just then, would you have vowed?' On his replying 'No!' he absolved him. It was taught: R. Judah said: We ask him, 'Are you still of the same mind?' If he answers, No!' he is absolved. R. Ishmael son of R. Jose said on his father's authority: We say to him: 'Had ten men been present to appease you just then, would you have vowed?' If he replies in the negative, absolution is granted.
(Mnemonic: Assi and Eleazar, Johanan and Jannai).5
A man once came before R. Assi. He asked him: 'Do you now regret [that you ever vowed]?' and he replied, 'Do I not?' Thereupon he absolved him.6 A man once came before R. Eleazar. He said to him, 'Do you desire your vow?'7 'He replied: 'Had I not been provoked, I certainly would not have desired aught.' 'Let it be as you wish,' answered he. A woman who had subjected her daughter to a vow8 came before R. Johanan. Said he to her, 'Had you known that your neighbours would say of your daughter,
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