Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pre-existing Conditions

The Gemora (Nedarim 72a) stated that the Mishna is referring to a nesuah, and the reason that the husband cannot revoke her vow is because the halacha is that a husband cannot revoke his nesuah’s prior vows.

The Ra”n explains that it can be referring to a nesuah either in the marriage preceding the divorce or the one that followed it. If she was an arusah by the first marriage and a nesuah at the end, he would not be able to revoke her nedarim, for the husband cannot revoke pre-existing nedarim. If she was a nesuah by the first marriage and an arusah at the end, he cannot revoke her nedarim, for once she is a nesuah, the father loses his rights over her, and the arus is not able to revoke her vows without the conjunction of her father.

The Reshash notes that it would seem from this Ra”n that a husband after nisuin can indeed revoke the nedarim that his wife made while she was an arusah. For otherwise, the Mishna did not have to mention that he divorced her and then remarried her. He cites the Rambam’s opinion that the husband may not revoke the nedarim that his wife made while she was an arusah.

There are those that explain the argument as follows: Does the husband have authority over his wife’s nedarim, while she is an arusah? If you say that the husband has no authority then; it is only in conjunction with her father that he may revoke her nedarim, we can explain the Rambam’s opinion. Once they perform nisuin, the husband acquires the authority to revoke her nedarim, but he can only use this authority on nedarim that his wife makes from now on. However, if you will say that the husband does have authority to revoke her vows even during the erusin, except that this authority is limited in the fact that he may only revoke her nedarim in conjunction with her father, we can understand the Ra”n’s opinion. The husband may revoke the nedarim that his wife made during erusin, for this is not regarded as a pre-existing neder, since he had the authority to revoke this neder even beforehand.