Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Ra”n Elucidated - Nedarim 2

LINKAGE - One who states, “This bread should be prohibited to me” is now forbidden to derive benefit from the bread. This is a complete declaration. He also may say, “This bread should be like a sacrifice to me.” Just as one is prohibited to derive benefit from a sacrifice, so too, he is forbidden to benefit from the bread.

In order for the vow to take effect, he is not required to link the subject of the vow to a forbidden item; however, if he chooses to link the subject of the vow to an object previously forbidden, that object must be one that was prohibited through a vow and not to something intrinsically forbidden. (Other Rishonim maintain that a neder without hatfasah is not regarded as an ikkur neder; it is only effective as a yad to a neder.)

NAME OF HASHEM - The Mishna stated: All substitute words for oaths are effective just as a genuine oath (if he says, “shevusah” instead of “shevuah”). It may be proven from here that an oath taken without mentioning the Name of Hashem is completely valid, for otherwise (if he did indeed mention Hashem’s name), why would this language be regarded as a substitute term for an oath; we have learned that if one states that he will not do something and includes the Name of Hashem, that itself is regarded as an oath.

He asks from the halacha of an oath by witnesses where one is required to include the Name of Hashem. He answers that this (if any oath requires the Name of Hashem) is a matter of dispute between the Tannaim.

He cites Rabbeinu Tam’s opinion that there is a distinction between an oath administered by someone else (the Name of Hashem must be included) and one taken by himself (it is not required). The Ran strongly disagrees with this distinction.

SWITCHING THE LANGUAGE - The Gemora had stated: Since the Mishna taught the halacha of a vow, where one is prohibiting the object upon himself (issur cheftza), the Tanna mentions the halacha of charamim, where the person is also prohibiting the object upon himself. An oath, on the other hand, is where one is prohibiting himself from the object (issur gavra); this, the Tanna mentions afterwards.

He cites the opinion of Rabbeinu Chananel, who derives from our Gemora that if one pronounces a vow using the language of an oath (I make a vow not to eat this bread) or he takes an oath using the language of a vow (This bread is forbidden to me by an oath), the vow or the oath have no validity and he is permitted to eat the bread.

He cites the opinion of the Ramban who disagrees and holds that even though it is not regarded as a basic type of vow, it does take effect on account of being “a handle of a vow.” It is a partial declaration and he will be prohibited from eating the bread.