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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
R. Ishmael son of R. Jose had a vow for absolution. He went before the Rabbis, who asked him, 'Did you vow bearing this in mind?' 'Even so,' replied he. 'Or this?' 'Yes.' This was repeated several times. A fuller, seeing that he was paining the Rabbis, smote him with his basket.2 Said he, 'I did not vow to be beaten by a fuller,' and so he absolved himself. R. Aha of Difti objected to Rabina: But this was an unexpected fact, as it had not occurred to him that a fuller would smite him, and we learnt: An unexpected fact may not be given as an opening?3 — He replied: This is not unexpected, because scoffers4 are common who vex the Rabbis.5
Abaye's wife had a daughter. He declared, '[She must marry] one of my relations,' and she maintained, 'one of mine'. So he said to her: '[All] benefit from me be forbidden to you if you disregard my wish and marry her to one of your relations.' She went, ignored his desire, and married her to her relation. [Subsequently Abaye] went before R. Joseph [for absolution], who asked him: 'Had you known that she would disregard your wish and marry her to her relation, would you have vowed?' He answered, 'No,' and R. Joseph absolved him. But is such permitted?6 — Yes, and it was taught: A man once imposed a vow on his wife not to make the festival pilgrimage [to Jerusalem]; but she disregarded his wish, and did go. He went to R. Jose [for absolution], who said to him, 'Had you known that she would disregard your wish and make the journey, would you have imposed the vow on her?' He answered, 'No,' and R. Jose absolved him.
MISHNAH. R. ELIEZER B. JACOB SAID: ALSO HE7 WHO WISHES TO SUBJECT HIS FRIEND TO A VOW TO EAT WITH HIM, SHOULD DECLARE: 'EVERY VOW WHICH I MAY MAKE IN THE FUTURE SHALL BE NULL'. [HIS VOWS ARE THEN INVALID,] PROVIDING THAT HE REMEMBERS THIS AT THE TIME OF THE VOW.
GEMARA. But since he says, 'Every vow which I may make in the future shall be null,' he will surely not listen to him8 and not come to [eat with] him? —
Nedarim 23bThe text is defective, and this is what was taught: He who desires his friend to eat with him, and
after urging him, imposes a vow upon him, it is 'a vow of incitement [and hence invalid]. And he who desires that none of his vows made during the year shall be valid, let him stand at the beginning of the year and declare, 'Every vow which I may make in the future shall be null.1 [HIS VOWS ARE THEN INVALID,] PROVIDING THAT HE REMEMBERS THIS AT THE TIME OF THE VOW. But if he remembers, he has cancelled the declaration and confirmed the vow?2 — Abaye answered: Read: providing that it is not remembered at the time of the vow. Raba said, After all, it is as we said originally.3 Here the circumstances are e.g., that one stipulated at the beginning of the year, but does not know in reference to what. Now he vows. Hence, if he remembers [the stipulation] and he declares: 'I vow in accordance with my original intention', his vow has no reality. But if he does not declare thus, he has cancelled his stipulation and confirmed his vow.
R. Huna b. Hinena wished to lecture thereon [sc. anticipatory cancellation] at the public session. But Raba remonstrated with him: The Tanna has intentionally obscured the law,4 in order that vows should not be lightly treated, whilst you desire to teach it publicly!
The scholars propounded: Do the Rabbis disagree with R. Eliezer b. Jacob or not?5 And should you say that they differ, is the halachah like him or not?6 — Come and hear: For we learnt: If one says to his neighbour,
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