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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim

Folio 7a

[When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it, far the Lord will surely require it] of thee:1  this refers to gleanings, forgotten sheaves, and pe'ah.2

Are abbreviations binding in the case of charity or not? How does this arise? Shall we say, that one said, 'This zuz3  is for charity, and this one too,' that is a complete [declaration of] charity! — But, e.g., If one said, '[And] this,' omitting 'too'. What then: did he mean, 'and this too is for charity,' or, 'and this is for my personal expenditure,' his statement being incomplete?4  Do we say, Since this is likened to sacrifices, as it is written' [That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a free-will offering according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised] with thy mouth, which refers to charity:5  hence, just as abbreviations are valid for sacrifices, so with charity; or possibly the comparison is in respect of 'Thou shalt not delay' only?

Are abbreviations valid in respect of hefker or not? But that is charity?6  — This problem is based on a presupposition:7  Should you rule, abbreviations are valid in the case of charity, because there is no analogy by halves,8  [what of] hefker?9  Do we say: Hefker is charity; or possibly charity differs, charity being for the poor only, whilst hefker is both for the rich and the poor?

Rabina propounded: Are abbreviations effective in respect of a privy or not?9  How does this arise? Shall we say, that he declared, 'Let this place be for a privy, and this one too,' then obviously it is one? — But e.g., if he declared, 'and this,' omitting 'too'. What then? Does '[and] this' mean 'and this too shall be a privy,' or perhaps, what is meant by 'and this'? In respect of general use? Now, this proves that it is certain to Rabina that designation is valid for a privy. But Rabina propounded: What if one designates a place for a privy' or for baths; is designation effective or not?10  — Rabina propounded this problem on an assumption. [Thus:] Is designation effective or not, should you answer, Designation is effective, are abbreviations valid or not?11  This question remains.

I AM BANNED TO YOU,' etc. Abaye said: R. Akiba admits in respect to lashes, that he is not flagellated;12  for otherwise, let [the Mishnah] state, R. Akiba gave a stringent ruling.13  R. Papa said: With respect to, 'I am isolated [nedinah] from you,' all agree that he is forbidden; 'I am accursed [meshamatna] from you,' all agree that he is permitted. Wherein do they differ?

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Deut. XXIII, 22.
  2. Whilst he will surely require it refers to sacrifices, supra 4a. Hence they are assimilated to each other, being coupled in the same verse. The Hebrew for of thee is [H] which can be rendered 'of that which is with thee', the reference being to the gleanings etc., which are to be left for those that are 'with dice', i.e., the poor. Ex. XXII, 24.
  3. Zuz, a silver coin, one fourth of a shekel.
  4. This alternative may apply to the query on pe'ah too: i.e., did he mean, 'and this furrow too', or, 'and this furrow be for my personal use?' V. p. 13, n. 7.
  5. This is deduced from the verse: the promise of charity is gone out of my mouth (Isa. S>V, 23, so translated here), where a promise by mouth refers to charity.
  6. Renunciation of one's property is the equivalent of giving it to charity. Thus the problem has already been stated.
  7. Lit., 'he sass, "if you should say".'
  8. I.e., it cannot be confined to certain aspects only.
  9. A place so appointed may not be used for reciting prayers, even before it was used as a privy.
  10. In the sense that this place may not be used henceforth for reciting prayers.
  11. In all the foregoing problems on kiddushin, pe'ah, charity etc., the abbreviations, though apparently not clear in meaning, since alternatives are given, are regarded as explicit, since the alternatives are, in every case, of a remote character, and the question then arises whether abbreviations, though explicit enough, are effective in these cases, v. Ran. 6b, s.v. [H].
  12. If he breaks the vow.
  13. 'WAS INCLINED' shows that he entertained some doubt, and would therefore not inflict the penalty of lashes.

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Nedarim 7b

In the case of, 'I am banned to you,' R. Akiba maintaining that it is the equivalent of 'isolated' [nedinah], whilst the Rabbis hold that it means accursed' [meshamatna]. Now, this conflicts with R. Hisda's view. For a certain man, who declared, 'I am accursed in respect of the property of the son of R. Jeremiah b. Abba' went before R. Hisda. Said he to him, 'None pay regard to this [ruling] of R. Akiba'. [Thus] he holds that they differ in respect to' 'I am accursed' [meshamatna].

R. Elai said in the name of Rab. If [a Rabbi] places a person under a ban in his presence, the ban can be revoked only in his presence; if in his absence, it can be revoked both in his presence and in his absence. R. Hanin said in Rab's name. One who hears his neighbour utter God's name in vain1  must place him under a ban; otherwise he himself must be under a ban,2  because the unnecessary utterance of the Divine Name always leads to poverty, and poverty leads to death, as it is written, [And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return unto Egypt]. For all the men are dead [which sought thy life];3  and it was taught: Wherever the Sages cast their eyes [in disapproval] death or poverty has resulted.

R. Abba said: I was standing in the presence of R. Huna, when he heard a woman utter God's name in vain. Thereupon he banned her, but immediately lifted the ban in her presence. This proves three things: [i] He who hears his neighbour utter the Divine Name unnecessarily must excommunicate him; [ii] If [a Rabbi] bans a person in his presence, the ban must be lifted in his presence too. [iii] No time need elapse between the imposition and the lifting of a ban.4

R. Giddal said in Rab's name: A scholar may utter a ban against himself, and lift it himself. But is this not obvious? — I would think that a prisoner cannot free himself from prison; hence we are taught otherwise. Now, how can such a thing occur? — As in the case of Mar Zutra the Pious:5  when a disciple incurred a ban,6  [Mar Zutra] first excommunicated himself and then the disciple.7  On arriving home, he lifted the ban from himself and then from the disciple.

R. Giddal also said in Rab's name:

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Lit., the mentioning of the Name from his neighbour's mouth.
  2. [I.e., deserves to be placed under a ban, (Ran).]
  3. Ex. IV, 19. It is stated infra 64b that the reference is to Dathan and Abiram, who in fact were alive at Korah's rebellion, but had become poverty-stricken. Four are regarded as dead: a poor man, a leper, a blind person, and one who has no children. They were not blind, for it is written, wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? (Num. XVI, 14). Again, they were not lepers, for we find that they had not been excluded from the congregation: in the midst of all Israel (Deut. XI, 6). Even if they had been childless, they still could have been a source of danger to Moses before Pharaoh. Hence when God assured Moses that the danger was past, He meant that they were now poor and without influence (Ran).
  4. Hence, the ban may be merely a nominal punishment. V. J.E. art. Anathema. The term used here is niddui, and though it is stated there (p. 560, 2) that niddui is for seven days (M.K. 16a, 17b), it is evident from this passage that there was a formal ban too of no particular duration.
  5. Heb. hasida, (hasid). In Rabbinic literature the term is a title of respect denoting the type of an ideal Jew; (cf. Ta'an. 8a; Tem. 15b).
  6. [Here the term used is shamta, 'desolation', 'curse'. According to Rashi, 'shamta' is a less severe form of ban than 'niddui'; Maimonides, Yad, Talmud Torah, VII, 2, equates them. Nahmanides, Mishpat ha-Herem, considers shamta to be a general term for the more severe form of excommunication, the Herem, and the less severe, the Niddui.
  7. This was done to safeguard the honour of his disciple.
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