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Nedarim, 77


QUESTION: The Gemara discusses whether a husband may annul the Neder of his wife on Shabbos when the Neder is not prohibiting something necessary for Shabbos. The Gemara concludes that it depends on a Machlokes Tana'im regarding the amount of time the Torah gives to a husband or father to be Mefer the Neder. One Tana maintains that Hafarah must be done on the same day, until sunset, that the Neder was heard, while another Tana maintains that Hafarah may be done anytime within a full twenty-four hour period after hearing the Neder.

The Mishnah (76b) permits Hafarah to be done on Shabbos because it holds like the Tana that allows Hafarah only until sunset. Since after sunset the husband will not be able to be Mefer the Neder because the day will have passed, the Rabanan permit him to be Mefer on Shabbos so that he not lose the right to be Mefer. According to the other Tana, the Rabanan *prohibit* Hafarah on Shabbos, since the husband can be Mefer the Neder *after* Shabbos. The Ran (77a, DH Afilu, and 79a, DH she'Im) explains that this is the intention of the last line of the Mishnah "he may be Mefer on Shabbos *because* if the sun sets he can no longer be Mefer" -- the Mishnah is giving the reason why he may be Mefer the Neder on Shabbos, the reason being that it is in order that he not lose the right of Hafarah.

We learned earlier (see Insights to 69:1) that the Rishonim dispute whether the husband's (or father's) Hafarah is limited to "Yom Sham'o," the day on which he heard the Neder, if he was unable to be Mefer on that day (for example, he divorced her in the middle of the day, or he lost the ability to speak in the middle of the day). The RAN writes that even though he was unable to be Mefer, he still loses the ability to be Mefer at the end of the day. The Yerushalmi explains that it depends on the Machlokes whether Hafarah may be done until sunset, or whether it may be done for a full twenty-four hour period. If Hafarah may be done only until sunset of the day that the husband hears the Neder, then losing the right because the day passed while he was unable to be Mefer depends on whether he had the ability to be Mefer during the day. In contrast, if Hafarah may be done for a set amount of time (twenty-four hours), then losing the right because that amount of time passed does not depend on his ability to be Mefer (and he loses the right regardless of whether he was able to be Mefer or not). Both the Ran and the Yerushalmi agree that if a person does not *know* that he is able to be Mefer the Neder, it is not considered to be the day of "Yom Sham'o" until he finds out (79a), because it is considered as though the day of "Yom Sham'o" never started (as opposed to where "Yom Sham'o" started but was stopped in the middle).

Why, then, would the husband lose his rights to be Mefer after sunset on Motza'ei Shabbos if the Rabanan would have prohibited Hafarah on Shabbos? He would not have been *able* to be Mefer on Shabbos, and therefore, according to the Yerushalmi, he certainly should be able to be Mefer after Shabbos! Even according to the Ran, he should be able to be able to be Mefer after Shabbos, since his "Yom Sham'o" never started because he never had the ability to be Mefer!

ANSWER: According to the Ran, perhaps the inability to be Mefer does not extend the time that he is allowed to be Mefer. The only situation in which the time period to be Mefer is extended is when he did not know that he was able to be Mefer. In such a situation, since he did not know that he could be Mefer, it is not considered as though he heard the Neder, since -- even though he did hear it -- he did not understand what it meant to him. However, if he heard the Neder when he did not have the ability to speak, or if he was not allowed to be Mefer because it was Shabbos, then perhaps he loses the right to be Mefer after the day has passed.

According to the Yerushalmi, we must differentiate between a case where a person is *not able* to be Mefer (either physically, such as when he lost his voice, or Halachically, such as when he divorced her) and a case where he is *not permitted* to be Mefer. On Shabbos, even if he is not permitted to be Mefer, if he does do Hafarah against the Takanas Chachamim, then the Hafarah will still take effect (since mid'Oraisa he is permitted to be Mefer on Shabbos). Therefore, he would lose his right to be Mefer once the day of Shabbos passes. (See also ISHIM V'SHITOS discussing the Rogatchover Ga'on, 2:9, end of p. 115).


QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Beraisa that states that a husband who wants to annul his wife's Neder on Shabbos should not use the usual formula for Hafarah and say, "It is annulled for you." Rather, he should say, "Take the item to eat," and the Neder is annulled by itself. Rebbi Yochanan adds that the husband must be Mevatel the Neder in his heart as well.

The Gemara then cites another Beraisa in which Beis Hillel says that both on Shabbos and on a weekday it suffices for the husband to be Mevatel the Neder in his heart and he does not have to articulate his Hafarah verbally.

How can Beis Hillel and Rebbi Yochanan say that the husband may be Mevatel the Neder in his heart? The Gemara later (79a) says that even though Hakamah is effective when done in one's mind, Hafarah must be articulated verbally!

In addition, why does Beis Hillel say that a husband may simply be Mevatel his wife's Neder in his heart, when the previous Beraisa states explicitly that he must also say, "Take the item and eat," which teaches that it does not suffice to be Mevatel the Neder in his heart!


(a) The ROSH and TOSFOS in one explanation say that Hafarah indeed can be done in one's mind, just like Hakamah. (See the Gemara on 76b where the Gemara mentions a Hekesh between Hakamah and Hafarah.) When the Gemara later says that Hafarah cannot be done in one's mind, it means that it does not suffice to mentally *want* to be Mefer, but one must *say* the words in his mind, "It is annulled for you" ("Mufar Lechi") (see the Rosh's comments on this). (See also Insights to Berachos 15:1b.)

The second Beraisa in which Beis Hillel says that it suffices to be Mefer in one's heart means that although the Hafarah is accomplished through what the man thinks in his mind, nevertheless he must tell his wife that she should take and eat the food, in order to inform her that he has been Mefer the Neder. By telling her in this manner, he prevents slighting the honor of Shabbos.

(b) The ROSH in the name of RABEINU ELIEZER MI'MITZ explains that when Beis Hillel and Rebbi Yochanan say that one may be Mefer the Neder in his heart, they mean that he must verbalize the Hafarah, but he may say it so quietly that only he can hear it.

Beis Hillel does not mention that the husband must tell his wife to take the item and eat it, since that is not part of the Hafarah, but it is merely to inform her that he has been Mefer and that she is allowed to eat it (as mentioned in the previous answer).

(c) The RAN explains that even though Hafarah cannot be done in one's mind, nevertheless if he says in his mind the correct wording of Hafarah *and* he openly enunciates a statement denoting Hafarah but he does not use the proper wording of Hafarah, then the combination of what he thought and what he spoke is able to accomplish Hafarah.

The logic of the Ran's explanation might be that it is only necessary to pronounce the Hafarah openly in order to make the Hafarah a stronger, more deliberate decision, instead of being just a mere thought. Therefore, if he says something that lets us know that he has been Mefer in his mind ("Machshavaso Nikeres mi'Toch Diburo") presumably with the correct formula, then it suffices to let us know (in any wording) that his decision was final.

According to the Ran, when Beis Hillel says that the husband may do Hafarah in his mind, he means that his thoughts are effective for Hafarah as long as he verbally articulates some indication of what is in his mind, even though he does not articulate the formal wording of Hafarah.

It is not clear what the source would be for such a Hafarah without actually speaking out the proper formula. Such a statement would seemingly not suffice to make a Neder. Why, then, should it suffice for Hafarah?

Perhaps the Hafarah works because we assume that since Hakamah can be done even in the mind without any speech, the requirements for Hafarah should not be so completely different. Even if speech is necessary for Hafarah, it should suffice for him to say something that lets us know that he was Mefer in his mind.

(d) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Nedarim 13:4-7, and in Perush ha'Mishnayos, end of this Perek) explains that there are two completely different methods for a husband to use in order to remove his wife's Neder. The first method is Hafarah, which cannot be done in the mind. The second method is "Kefiyah" (lit. "forcing"), in which the husband tells his wife, "I want you to eat the item that you prohibited upon yourself." Whether she actually eats it or not, the fact that he was trying to force her to eat it removes her Neder just like Hafarah does.

"Kefiyah" is a stronger method of removing a Neder, since he not only says that he does not want her to have the Neder, but he protests it by overriding the Neder and telling her to do what she said that she would not do. Hafarah, on the other hand, merely shows that he does not want her to have a Neder upon her, but not that he specifically wants her to do the thing that she prohibited upon herself. Since "Kefiyah" is a strong form of removal of her Neder, even if he merely thinks in his mind that he is going to force her, it suffices to remove the Neder. This form of annulment in his heart is referred to as "Bitul." (The Mishnah in Nazir (61a) mentions a similar concept of forcing a slave to go against his Nezirus as a way for the master to remove his slave's Nezirus. However, the Mishnah there says that this method cannot be done with one's wife. See RA'AVAD on the Rambam, ibid.)

According to the Rambam, why does Beis Hillel say that the husband may be Mevatel the Neder in his heart without saying "take the item and eat?" The Rambam (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) explains that Beis Hillel is discussing a situation where the husband is not able to force her right now to do the action (such as eat the food). In such a situation, it suffices for him to think in his heart that he is Mevatel it. But if he can force her, then he should force her *and* think in his heart that he is Mevatel the Neder.

The Rishonim reject the Rambam's explanation, since we find no source for such a second method for a husband to repeal his wife's Neder. It is possible that the Rambam found support for his ruling from the wording of the verse, which uses two different words for repealing a Neder: "Hefer" and "Heni."

The verse uses the word "Heni" when discussing a father removing his daughter's Neder (Bamidbar 30:6). It uses the word "Hefer" when discussing a husband removing his wife's Neder (30:12), and it uses both "Heni" and "Hefer" when discussing an Arus removing, together with the father, a Na'arah Me'urasah's Neder (30:9). According to the Rambam, the verse might be mentioning the more common method of removing a Neder in each case.

"Heni," which is used with regard to the Hafarah of the father, perhaps refers to the act of Bitul, or "Kefiyah," of the Neder, like Rashi on the verse translates, "He refuses her Neder to her." A father normally removes his daughter's Neder by "Kefiyah," since that is the nature of the relationship between a father and daughter. A husband, on the other hand, usually does not force his wife, but prefers to remove the Neder through Hafarah, because of the nature of their relationship. Hence the Torah mentions only "Hefer" with regard to a husband and wife. In the case of a Na'arah Me'urasah, the girl is still young but somewhat independent, and thus the Torah uses both "Heni" and "Hefer," because both methods of annulment are common in that case! (M. Kornfeld)

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