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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
Nor do we suggest the following dictum of Samuel, Viz., Even when one fulfils his vow he is called wicked. R. Abba said: Which verse [teaches this]? But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.10 And [the meaning of] forbearance is learnt from forbearance as expressed elsewhere. Here it is written, But if thou shalt forbear to vow, and there it is written, There the wicked forbear from insolence.11 R. Joseph said: We too have learnt so. [If one says:] 'As the vows of the righteous,' his words are of no effect. [But if he says:] 'As the vows of the wicked,' he has vowed in respect of a nazirite vow and a sacrifice.12
R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: He who loses his temper is exposed to all the torments of Gehenna,13 for it is written, Therefore remove anger from thy heart,' thus wilt thou put away evil from thy flesh.14 Now 'evil' can only mean Gehenna, as it is written, The Lord hath made all things for himself yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.15 Moreover, he is made to suffer from abdominal troubles, as it is written, But the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind.16 Now what causes failing eyes and a sorrowful mind? Abdominal troubles.
When 'Ulla went up to Palestine,17 he was joined by two inhabitants of Hozai,18 one of whom arose and slew the other. The murderer asked of 'Ulla: 'Did I do well?' 'Yes,' he replied; 'moreover, cut his throat clean across.'19 When he came before R. Johanan, he asked him, 'Maybe, God forbid, I have strengthened the hands of transgressors?' He replied, 'You have saved your life.'20 Then R. Johanan wondered: The Lord shall give them there an infuriated heart21 refers to Babylon?22 'Ulla replied, 'We had not yet
Nedarim 22bcrossed the Jordan [into Palestine].'
Rabbah son of R. Huna said: He who loses his temper, even the Divine Presence is unimportant in his eyes, as it is written, The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek God,' God is not in all his thoughts.1 R. Jeremiah of Difti2 said: He forgets his learning and waxes ever more stupid, as it is written, For anger resteth in the bosom of fools;3 and it is written, But the fool layeth open his folly.4 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: It is certain that his sins out number his merits, as it is written, And a furious man aboundeth in transgressions.5
R. Adda son of R. Hanina said: Had not Israel sinned, only the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua would have been given them, [the latter] because it records the disposition of Palestine [among the tribes].6 Whence is this known? For much wisdom proceedeth from much anger.7
R. Assi said: Absolution is not granted for8 [a vow in the name of] the God of Israel, except [the following]: 'Konam be any benefit [by the God of Israel] my wife has of me, because she stole my purse or beat my child'; and it was subsequently learnt that she had done neither.9
A woman once came before R. Assi. He asked her, 'How did you vow?' She replied, 'By the God of Israel.' Said he to her, 'Had you vowed by mohi, which is a mere substitute,10 I would absolve you. Now that you did not vow by mohi, but by the God of Israel, I will not absolve you.
R. Kahana visited11 R. Joseph's home. The latter said to him, 'Eat something'; to which he replied, 'No, by the Master of all, I will not taste anything.' R. Joseph answered, 'No, by the Master of all, you may not eat.' Now R. Kahana rightly said, 'No, by the Master of all, etc.' [to strengthen his vow]; but why did R. Joseph repeat this? — This is what he said: 'Since you have said, "No, by the Master of all", you may not eat.'12
Raba said in R. Nahman's name: The law is: Regret may be made an opening [for absolution], and absolution is granted for [a vow made in the name of] the God of Israel.
Raba was praising R. Sehorah to R. Nahman as a great man. Thereupon N. Nahman said: 'When he comes to you, bring him to me.' Now he [R. Sehorah] had a vow for absolution, so he went before R. Nahman, who asked him: 'Did you vow bearing this13 in mind?' 'Yes,' he replied. 'Or this?' 'Yes.' This being repeated a number of times, R. Nahman became angry and exclaimed, 'Go to your room!'14 R. Sehorah departed, and found an opening for himself: Rabbi said: Which is the right course that man should choose for himself? That which he feels to be honourable to himself, and brings him honour from mankind.15 But now, since R. Nahman has become angry, I did not vow on this understanding. He thus absolved himself.
R. Simeon son of Rabbi had a vow for absolution. He went before the Rabbis, who asked him, 'Did you vow bearing this in mind?' He replied, 'Yes.' 'Or this?' 'Yes.' [This was repeated] several times,
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