Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Quiet Confirmation

Rava inquires (Nedarim 69a): Is there such a thing as an annulment for a confirmation, or not?

The Ra”n explains: If the father or the husband confirmed the neder and asked on that same day that the confirmation should be annulled, can it be annulled (similar to a neder)? It is obvious that it cannot be annulled on the following day, for it has no less effect than remaining quiet.

It is evident from the Ra”n here and he says so explicitly in Kesuvos that there is certainly no annulment if he had remained quiet.

The Reshash asks: What is the distinction? If he can annul a spoken-out confirmation, why can’t he annul a confirmation that came about because he remained quiet (which is regarded automatically as a confirmation)?

The Steipler Gaon answers: An annulment is only possible on an action performed by a person; however, remaining quiet, although that is deemed a confirmation, is not an action that can be annulled.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Father Revoking by Himself - Nedarim Daf 67

The Rambam holds that a father has the right to revoke all types of his daughter’s nedarim. The husband, however, can only revoke a neder of personal affliction, and only those that affect their marital relationship. The Ra”n nd the Rosh disagree and hold that the father may only revoke her nedarim that are of personal affliction, and only those matters that are between him and her.

The Keren Orah poses the following question: The halacha is that the father and the husban revoke the nedarim of a betrothed na’arah. According to the Rambam, who maintains that the father can revoke all types of nedarim, what is the halacha if his daughter is a betrothed na’arah and she pronounces such a vow? Do we say that the father has a right to revoke this neder by himself? Or, perhaps, the halacha is that the father may only revoke nedarim in partnership with her husband, and since her husband cannot revoke such a neder, the father cannot revoke it either?

Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach wonders further: This inquiry can be posed according to the Ra”n and the Rosh as well. If the girl makes a neder that is a “matter that is between her father and her,” but it does not affect the husband. For example, she said that she will not assist her father. Do we say that the father can revoke this neder by himself, or do we say that he can only revoke nedarim together with her husband, and since her husband cannot revoke this neder, the father cannot revoke it either?

The Meiri writes that the Rambam would concede that the father does not have the ability to revoke the neder of his betrothed daughter by himself. His rights to revoke his daughter’s neder are only in partnership with her husband, and if the husband cannot revoke the neder, since it is not a neder that affects him, the father cannot revoke it either.

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Spit in his Eye

The Yerushalmi in Sotah relates the following: Rav Meir was accustomed to deliver a Torah lecture every Friday night. A certain woman was always in attendance. One time, Rabbi Meir said a lengthy drasha and by the time she arrived home, the Shabbos candles had already burnt out. Her husband was angry with her and told her, “I do not want to see you again until you spit into the eye of the person who was giving the lecture that you attended.”

The Medrash records that the woman sat outside of her house for several weeks. All the women saw her and asked her what was going on. She explained the story. The women went to Rabbi Meir and related the situation to him in hope that he would have a solution. (The Yerushalmi states that Rabbi Meir realized through Divine spirit what the situation was even before the women came to him.)

Rabbi Meir pretended to be suffering from pain in the eyes, and announced: “If there is any woman skilled in whispering charms for the eyes (a type of "medicine" which was believed to be effective in those days) , let her come and whisper.” When this particular woman came to him, he asked her: “Are you skilled in whispering charms for the eyes?” She said that she didn’t. Rabbi Meir told her, “Do not worry. I will tell you what to do. Just spit into this eye seven times and all will be well.” After she did as she was instructed, Rabbi Meir told her to go to her husband and say that you only requested of me to spit in his eye once; I did so seven times.

His students asked him: “Master! Should Torah be degraded in such a manner?” Rabbi Meir replied: “Should my honor be treated in a higher regard than the honor of the Omnipresent? If, in order to make peace between a husband and a wife, the Torah commanded: Let My Name, which was written in sanctity, be erased in the destructive waters, how much more so I, where I can forego my honor in order to bring about peace between a man and his wife.

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