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Gitin, 35

GITIN 34 & 35 - The Dafim have been sponsored by Rabbi Dr. Eli Turkel and his wife, Jeri Turkel. May Hashem bless them with many years of Simcha, health and fulfillment, and may they see all of their children and grandchildren follow them in the ways of Torah and Yir'as Shamayim!


QUESTION: The Mishnah (34b) teaches that the Rabanan do not require an Almanah (widow), who wants to collect her Kesuvah, to make a Shevu'ah that she did not yet receive her Kesuvah, but rather they require her to make a Neder instead. The Gemara explains that they did not want to require her to make a Shevu'ah out of fear that she would rationalize that she is entitled to take more money from her husband's estate and swear falsely, thereby bringing about a very severe punishment from the wrath of Hashem against one who swears falsely. Since a false Neder is not as severe as a false Shevu'ah, the Rabanan let her make a Neder instead.

The Gemara explains that, according to Shmuel, the Rabanan permit an Almanah to even make a Shevu'ah when she does so *outside* of Beis Din. RASHI (DH Chutz la'Beis Din) explains that a Shevu'ah outside of Beis Din is less severe, since it is not made with the Name of Hashem, but rather with an expression of "Arur" (a malediction; the Gemara in Shevuos 39a states that when one uses the word "Arur" in support of a promise, it is considered a Shevu'ah), and, in addition, it is not made while holding an object of Kedushah (such as a Sefer Torah or Tefilin).

Earlier, the Gemara demonstrates the severity of a false Shevu'ah through an incident in which a woman swore that she did not benefit from a Dinar that she was watching for someone else. She swore by saying, "May one of my children die from poison if I derived any benefit from that coin!" She was unaware that she had derived minimal benefit from the coin, and because her Shevu'ah was false, her son indeed died.

According to Shmuel, a Shevu'ah taken outside of Beis Din is not so severe, since it is only an Arur and she does not hold a holy object. Why, then, was the woman who swore about the Dinar punished so severely? Her Shevu'ah was simply an Arur and was not made while holding a holy object! (RASHASH, MAHARAM SHIF)


(a) The RAMBAN and the CHIDUSHI HA'RAN on the Mishnah (34b) explain that the severity of the punishment of a false Shevu'ah is that not only is the person who made the Shevu'ah punished, but the rest of the world is punished as well, as the Gemara says in Shevuos (39a). When a Shevu'ah is made outside of Beis Din, only the person who swore falsely is punished. That is why the woman lost her son when she swore falsely even outside of Beis Din.

According to this explanation, when the Gemara cites the story of the woman with the Dinar, it is not attempting to prove the severity of a false Shevu'ah. Rather, it is showing that even when a person swears falsely by mistake, he is still punished.

However, as the Ramban points out, the Yerushalmi states explicitly that the severity of a false Shevu'ah is that it causes a person's children to die, as the story of the woman with the Dinar demonstrates (see also Shabbos 32b). Rashi (DH k'Mi she'Nishba) also seems to learn that the Gemara records the story of the woman with the Dinar in order to demonstrate the severity of making a false Shevu'ah.

(b) The TOSFOS RID and the ME'IRI explain that the woman indeed said a Name of Hashem in her Shevu'ah, and not just the words quoted by the Gemara. Even if she did not say a Name of Hashem, perhaps when one specifies in his Arur that a child should die, then the Arur will be as severe as a Shevu'ah made with the Name of Hashem. The Arur which Shmuel permits one to make outside of Beis Din is a simple Arur which does not include an expression of a severe punishment. Such an Arur is indeed less severe than a Shevu'ah with the Name of Hashem (see DIBROS MOSHE).


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