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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
GEMARA. But Samuel said, The law of the country is law?4 — R. Hinena said in the name of R. Kahana in the name of Samuel: The Mishnah refers to a publican who is not limited to a legal due.5 The School of R. Jannai answered: This refers to an unauthorised collector.
OR THAT IT BELONGS TO THE ROYAL HOUSE, EVEN IF IT DOES NOT. How does he vow? — R. Amram said in Rab's name: By saying, 'May all the fruits of the world be forbidden me, if this does not belong to the royal house.' But if he said, 'may they be forbidden,' all the fruits of the world are forbidden to him.6 — He adds, to-day. But if so, the publican will not accept it! — He mentally stipulates 'to-day,' but makes no explicit reservation; and though we [normally] rule that an unexpressed stipulation is invalid,7 it is different when made under duress.
BETH SHAMMAI MAINTAIN: ONE MAY MAKE ANY FORM OF VOW … BUT BETH HILLEL RULE THAT EVEN SUCH ARE PER MISSIBLE. BETH SHAMMAI RULE: THE OWNER MUST NOT VOLUNTEER TO VOW; BETH HILLEL RULE: HE MAY DO SO. BETH SHAMMAI SAY: HE MAY VOW ONLY AS FAR AS HE [THE MURDERER] MAKES HIM VOW; BETH HILLEL SAY: EVEN IN RESPECT OF WHAT HE DOES NOT MAKE HIM VOW. E.G., IF HE [THE ROBBER] SAID TO HIM, SAY: KONAM BE ANY BENEFIT MY WIFE HAS OF ME'; AND THE OWNER DECLARED, 'KONAM BE ANY BENEFIT MY WIFE AND CHILDREN HAVE OF ME — BETH SHAMMAI RULE: HIS WIFE IS PERMITTED, BUT HIS CHILDREN ARE FORBIDDEN; BETH HILLEL RULE: BOTH ARE PERMITTED.
R. Huna said: A Tanna taught: Beth Shammai maintain: He must not volunteer with an oath; Beth Hillel say: He may volunteer even with an oath. Now, in the view of Beth Shammai, only with an oath may he not volunteer, but he may volunteer a vow. But we learnt: BETH SHAMMAI RULE: THE OWNER MUST NOT VOLUNTEER TO VOW. Moreover, he may merely not volunteer an oath, but he may vow with an oath [if requested]; but we learnt, BETH SHAMMAI MAINTAIN: ONE MAY MAKE ANY FORM OF VOW, EXCEPTING THAT SUSTAINED BY AN OATH? — The Mishnah deals with a vow, to shew how far-reaching is Beth Shammai's ruling;8 whilst the Baraitha treats of an oath, to shew the full extent of Beth Hillel's view.9
R. Ashi answered, This is what is taught: Beth Shammai say, There is no absolution for an oath; and Beth Hillel say, There is absolution for an oath.10
MISHNAH. [IF ONE SAYS,] 'LET THESE SAPLINGS BE KORBAN [I.E., CONSECRATED] IF THEY ARE NOT CUT DOWN'; OR, LET THIS GARMENT BE KORBAN IF IT IS NOT BURNT: THEY CAN BE REDEEMED.11 [IF HE SAYS,] 'LET THESE SAPLINGS BE KORBAN UNTIL THEY ARE CUT DOWN; OR, LET THIS GARMENT BE KORBAN UNTIL IT IS BURNT',
Nedarim 28bTHEY CANNOT BE REDEEMED.1
How was the vow made?4 — Amemar answered: By saying, '… if they are not cut down to-day'; and the day passed without their being cut down. If so, why teach it: is it not obvious? — The need for teaching it arises e.g., when a strong wind is blowing.5 But the same is taught with respect to a garment: and does a garment stand to be burnt? — Even so; e.g., when a fire has broken out. So here too [in respect of plants], a strong wind is blowing; and I might think that he thought that they would not be saved, and therefore vowed.6 Hence the Mishnah informs us [that the vow is binding].
LET THESE SAPLINGS BE KORBAN etc. [Can they] never [be redeemed]?7 — Said Bar Pada: If he redeems them, they revert to their sanctity; if he redeems them again, they again revert to their sanctity, until they are cut down.8 When cut down, he redeems them once,9 and that suffices. 'Ulla said: Having been cut down, they require no further redemption.10
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