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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
MISHNAH. THE SABBATHS AND FESTIVALS2 ARE GIVEN AS AN OPENING. THE EARLIER RULING WAS THAT FOR THESE DAYS THE VOW IS CANCELLED, BUT FOR OTHERS IT IS BINDING; UNTIL R. AKIBA CAME AND TAUGHT: A VOW WHICH IS PARTIALLY ANNULLED IS ENTIRELY ANNULLED. E.G., IF ONE SAID, KONAM THAT I DO NOT BENEFIT FROM ANY OF YOU, IF ONE WAS [SUBSEQUENTLY] PERMITTED [TO BENEFIT HIM], THEY ARE ALL PERMITTED. [BUT IF HE SAID, 'KONAM] THAT I DO NOT BENEFIT FROM A, B, C, ETC.', IF THE FIRST WAS PERMITTED, ALL ARE PERMITTED; BUT IF THE LAST-NAMED WAS PERMITTED, HE ALONE IS PERMITTED, BUT THE REST ARE FORBIDDEN. (IF THE MIDDLE PERSON WAS PERMITTED, THOSE MENTIONED AFTER HIM ARE [ALSO] PERMITTED, BUT THOSE MENTIONED BEFORE HIM ARE FORBIDDEN.)3 [IF ONE VOWS,] 'KORBAN BE WHAT I BENEFIT FROM THIS [MAN], KORBAN BE WHAT I BENEFIT FROM THAT [MAN],' AN OPENING [FOR ABSOLUTION] IS NEEDED FOR EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY. [IF ONE VOWS,] 'KONAM, IF I TASTE WINE, BECAUSE IT IS INJURIOUS TO THE STOMACH: WHEREUPON HE WAS TOLD, BUT WELL-MATURED WINE IS BENEFICIAL TO THE STOMACH, HE IS ABSOLVED IN RESPECT OF WELL-MATURED WINE, AND NOT ONLY IN RESPECT OF WELL-MATURED WINE, BUT OF ALL WINE. KONAM, IF I TASTE ONIONS, BECAUSE THEY ARE INJURIOUS TO THE HEART', THEN HE WAS TOLD, 'BUT THE WILD ONION4 IS GOOD FOR THE HEART,' — HE IS PERMITTED TO PARTAKE OF WILD ONIONS, AND NOT ONLY OF WILD ONIONS, BUT OF ALL ONIONS. SUCH A CASE HAPPENED BEFORE R. MEIR, AND HE GAVE ABSOLUTION IN RESPECT OF ALL ONIONS.
GEMARA. IF THE LAST-NAMED WAS PERMITTED, HE ALONE IS PERMITTED, BUT THE REST ARE FORBIDDEN. Which Tanna [ruled thus]? — Raba said: It is R. Simeon, who maintained, unless he declared 'i swear' to each one separately.5
'KONAM, IF I TASTE ONIONS,' etc. But let it follow [from the fact] that they are not injurious? — Said R. Abba: It means: Moreover, they are beneficial.
MISHNAH. A MAN'S OWN HONOUR, AND THE HONOUR OF HIS CHILDREN, MAY BE GIVEN AS AN OPENING. [THUS:] WE SAY TO HIM, 'HAD YOU KNOWN THAT TO-MORROW IT WILL BE SAID OF YOU, THAT IS HIS REGULAR HABIT TO DIVORCE HIS WIFE"; AND OF YOUR DAUGHTERS THEY WILL SAY, THEY ARE THE DAUGHTERS OF A DIVORCED WOMAN. WHAT FAULT DID HE FIND IN THIS WOMAN TO DIVORCE HER?"'8 IF HE REPLIES, 'HAD I KNOWN THAT IT IS SO. I WOULD NOT HAVE VOWED,' HE IS ABSOLVED.
[IF ONE VOWS,] 'KONAM IF I MARRY THAT UGLY WOMAN, WHEREAS SHE IS BEAUTIFUL; THAT BLACK [-SKINNED] WOMAN, WHEREAS SHE IS FAIR; 'THAT SHORT WOMAN, WHO IN FACT IS TALL, HE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY HER, NOT BECAUSE SHE WAS UGLY, AND BECAME BEAUTIFUL, OR BLACK AND TURNED FAIR, SHORT AND GREW TALL, BUT BECAUSE THE VOW WAS MADE IN ERROR. AND THUS IT HAPPENED WITH ONE WHO VOWED NOT TO BENEFIT FROM HIS SISTER'S DAUGHTER, AND SHE WAS TAKEN INTO R. ISHMAEL'S HOUSE AND MADE BEAUTIFUL. MY SON, EXCLAIMED R. ISHMAEL TO HIM, 'DID YOU VOW NOT TO BENEFIT FROM THIS ONE!' 'NO,' HE REPLIED, WHERE UPON R. ISHMAEL PERMITTED HER [TO HIM]. IN THAT HOUR R. ISHMAEL WEPT AND SAID, 'THE DAUGH TERS OF ISRAEL ARE BEAUTIFUL, BUT POVERTY DISFIGURES THEM.'9 AND WHEN R. ISHMAEL DIED, THE DAUGHTERS OF ISRAEL RAISED A LAMENT, SAYING, YE DAUGHTERS OF ISRAEL WEEP FOR R. ISHMAEL. AND THUS IT IS SAID TOO OF SAUL, YE DAUGHTERS OF ISRAEL, WEEP OVER SAUL.10
GEMARA. A story [is quoted] contradicting [the ruling]!11 — The text is defective12 and was thus taught: R. Ishmael said: Even if she was ugly and became beautiful, black and turned fair, or short and grew tall. AND THUS IT HAPPENED WITH ONE WHO VOWED NOT TO BENEFIT FROM HIS SISTER'S DAUGHTER; SHE WAS TAKEN INTO R. ISHMAEL'S HOUSE AND MADE BEAUTIFUL, etc.
Nedarim 66bA Tanna taught: She had a false1 tooth, and R. Ishmael made her a gold tooth at his own cost. 'When R. Ishmael died, a professional mourner commenced [the funeral eulogy] thus: Ye daughters of Israel, weep over R. Ishmael, who clothed you etc.2
A man once said to his wife, 'Konam that you benefit not from me, until you make R. Judah and R. Simeon taste of your cooking.' R. Judah tasted thereof, observing, 'It is but logical:3 If, in order to make peace between husband and wife, the Torah commanded, Let My Name, written to sanctity, be dissolved in "the utters that curse",4 though 'tis but doubtful,5 how much more so I!' R. Simeon did not taste thereof, exclaiming, 'Let all the widows' children perish,6 rather than that Simeon be moved from his standpoint, lest they fall into the habit of vowing.'
A man once said to his wife, 'Konam that you benefit not from me until you expectorate on R. Simeon b. Gamaliel.' She went and spat upon his garment, and he [R. Simeon b. Gamaliel] absolved her.7 R. Aha of Difti8 said to Rabina: But his aim was to insult him! — He replied: To expectorate upon the garments of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel is a great insult.
A man once said to his wife, 'Konam that you benefit not from me, until you shew aught beautiful9 in yourself to R. Ishmael son of R. Jose.' Said he to them:10 'Perhaps her head is beautiful?' — 'It is round,' they replied.11 'Perhaps her hair is beautiful?' — 'It is like stalks of flax.' 'Perhaps her eyes are beautiful?' — 'They are bleared.' 'Perhaps her nose is beautiful?' — 'It is swollen.' 'Perhaps her lips are beautiful?' — 'They are thick.' 'Perhaps her neck is beautiful?' — 'It is squat.' 'Perhaps her abdomen is beautiful?' — 'It protrudes.' 'Perhaps her feet are beautiful?' — 'They are as broad as those of a duck.' 'Perhaps her name is beautiful?' — 'It is liklukith.'12 Said he to them, 'She is fittingly called liklukith, since she is repulsive through her defects'; and so he permitted her [to her husband].
A certain Babylonian went up to the Land of Israel and took a wife [there]. 'Boil me two [cows'] feet,' he ordered, and she boiled him two lentils,13 which infuriated him with her. The next day he said, 'Boil me a griwa',14 so he boiled him a griwa. 'Go and bring me two bezuni;'15 so she went and brought him two candles.15 'Go and break them on the head of the baba.'16 Now Baba b. Buta was sitting on the threshold, engaged in judging in a lawsuit. So she went and broke them on his head. Said lie to her,17 'What is the meaning of this that thou hast done?' — She replied, 'Thus my husband did order me.' 'Thou hast performed thy husband's will,' he rejoined; 'may the Almighty bring forth from thee two sons like Baba b. Buta.
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