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Nedarim, 80

NEDARIM 80 (Shabbos Shuvah) - dedicated by Mrs. G. Turkel (Rabbi Kornfeld's grandmother), an exceptional woman who accepted all of Hashem's Gezeiros with love and who loved and respected the study of Torah. Tehei Nafshah Tzerurah bi'Tzror ha'Chaim.


QUESTION: The RAN (79b, DH Ileima) writes that one who makes a Neder with a Tenai of "if" ("Im") intends for his Neder to take effect only *after* the condition is fulfilled. Hence, if one made a Neder that, "Fruit should be forbidden to me if I wash," there is no concern that she will eat fruit and then wash and thereby transgress the Neder retroactively, because fruit only becomes prohibited to her after she washes.

The BEIS MEIR (Even ha'Ezer 145) challenges this principle from the Gemara in Shevuos (28b) that states clearly that one who swore that he will not eat a certain loaf "if" he eats another loaf, and he ate the first loaf before he ate the contingency loaf, he transgressed the Shevu'ah retroactively. This seems to disprove the assertion of the Ran that the Neder only takes effect after the condition was fulfilled!

ANSWER: The Ran himself in Shevuos asks this question on his principle, and he differentiates as follows. In the case in Nedarim, the contingency is always valid; whenever she will wash, the Neder will take effect. We therefore assume that one's intent is to have the Neder take effect only after the condition is fulfilled. In contrast, in the case in Shevuos, where the Neder merely entails one loaf, and the possibility exists that he will eat that loaf first and therefore render the whole contingency (of eating the second loaf) redundant, we assume that his intent is to have the Neder take effect retroactively.

QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the case of the Mishnah, where a woman made a Neder saying, "Im Erchatz" ("If I wash"), refers to a case where she made a Neder prohibiting herself from washing forever if she washes once. Although she is permitted to wash the first time, doing so will make her Neder take effect and she will then be prohibited to wash forever. Therefore, the husband may annul her Neder immediately, even before she washes the first time and before the Neder takes effect.

Later (89b), Rebbi Nasan and the Chachamim argue whether the husband may annul his wife's Neder before it actually takes effect. The ROSH writes that the Gemara here is explaining the case of the Mishnah only according to the Chachamim. According to Rebbi Nasan, she will have to actually wash the first time in order for the Neder to take effect and for her husband to be able to annul it.

The Rishonim ask in the name of RABEINU YONAH that if, like the Rosh says, the Gemara is explaining the case according to the Chachamim, then the Gemara's question at the beginning of the Sugya (79b) does not make sense. The Gemara asks at the outset that the case of the Mishnah cannot be where she made a Neder prohibiting all fruits upon her "if I wash," because in such a case "let her not wash and not become prohibited [from the fruits]," and thus there is no reason why the husband should be able to annul the Neder. What is the Gemara's question? Since the Chachamim hold that the Neder does not need to take effect in practice in order for the husband to annul it, in the case that the Gemara suggests (where she prohibits all fruits upon her if she washes), the husband should be able to annul the Neder!


(a) The RAN writes that even the Chachamim do not allow the husband to annul the Neder before it takes effect, unless the Tenai itself entails Inuy Nefesh. The Gemara at the outset was assuming that abstaining from washing does not entail Inuy Nefesh and therefore it asks that even according to the Chachamim, "Let her not wash and not become prohibited," since there is no Inuy Nefesh involved in not washing.

The Ran questions this, though, from the Halachah that if a woman accepts upon herself Nezirus only to take effect after she is divorced, her husband may annul the Neder even though there is no Inuy Nefesh yet.

The Ran answers that since the Tenai is not in her control, since her husband may divorce her at any time he wants, it is considered a Neder of Inuy Nefesh. In contrast, in the case of a Neder which is conditional and the condition does not entail Inuy Nefesh, and it is within her power to avoid the Inuy Nefesh, her husband cannot annul the Neder until it actually takes effect, even according to the Chachamim.

The RASHBA questions the Ran's answer from the Halachah of Rebbi Yochanan ben Nuri. If a woman makes a Neder to prohibit her husband from benefiting from her earnings, even though such a Neder does take effect because she is obligated to provide her husband with her earnings, he still must annul her Neder lest he divorce her and the Neder prevent him from remarrying her. From this we see that although neither the Neder nor the condition is causing Inuy Nefesh now, nor is it coming between them now, still the husband may annul the Neder!

The Rashba answers this question and says that the case of Rebbi Yochanan ben Nuri is not comparable to a normal case of a Neder with a Tenai. In Rebbi Yochanan ben Nuri's case. the Neder takes effect *immediately*; it is merely her obligation (Shi'abud) to the husband which inhibits the Neder. Therefore, the husband may annul the Neder before the Isur is actually relevant in practice.

The Rashba continues to question this principle of the Ran. Although the Tenai of not washing might not entail Inuy Nefesh, it definitely is a matter between the two of them, Devarim she'Beino l'Beinah. Therefore, although the Inuy Nefesh element did not yet take effect, the husband should be able to annul the Neder because the observance of the Tenai is coming between them (since she is not bathing)!

(b) The RASHBA instead concludes that the original question of the Gemara, "Let her not wash and not be prohibited," was based on the assumption that the Tana of the Mishnah holds like Rebbi Nasan (see the Rashba for further discussion).


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