Talmud Tips

For the week ending 4 February 2023 / 13 Shvat 5783

Nedarim 86-91

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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The Length of a Pause

“Toch kdei dibbur k’dibbur dami” — literally, “within the time of speech is like speech.”

This intriguing sounding statement means that a person can retract or correct what he said if he does so within a very short time after saying it. This statement is made by Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi in a beraita on our daf, and our sugya teaches that it is the halacha, with four exceptions.

The exceptions are: one who curses Hashem, one who worships idols by speech, one who marries a woman, and one who divorces a woman. These four cases cannot be “undone” by immediate change of mind. One reason offered to explain these exceptions is that these four cases are more serious matters than all others, and, therefore, a person would not do them unless he had made a final and irreversible decision to do them — one that cannot be changed. (Rabbeinu Nissim)

Nedarim 87a

Credibility and Brazenness

Rav Hamnuna said, “A woman who says that her husband had divorced her is believed since we can clearly assume that the woman would not brazenly lie to her husband's face.”

This assumption is made despite the fact that one might contest that the woman might be interested in another man and may therefore be lying brazenly to her husband. Rabbeinu Nissim states that the halacha is in accordance with Rav Hamnuna and that she receives her ketuva payment as well.

Nedarim 91a

To be continued

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