For the week ending 1 August 2015 / 16 Av 5775

Nedarim 72 - 78

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Whether divorce is considered passive silence towards the wife's vow or an affirmation of such
  • Preemptive nullification of vows by father or husband-to-be
  • Whether hearing the vow is necessary for nullification and whether an agent can effect nullification
  • Simultaneous nullification of vows of two wives
  • The connection between the husband's obligation of support and his power of vow nullification
  • Whether the yivamah's vows can be nullified by the yavam before he marries her
  • Nullification of future vows
  • The great debate between Rabbi Eliezer and the other Sages in regard to kal vechomer
  • How much time does the husband have for nullification of his wife's vow
  • Nullification of vows on Shabbat or at night
  • The meaning of the silence of the Sage Rav
  • Differences between nullification of the Sage and that of the husband
  • Qualification needed for nullification by Sages

Two Sides of Silence

  • Nedarim 77a

The great debate among the Talmudic Sages as to whether nullification of vows could be conducted at night led to an interesting incident revolving around silence.

Rabbi Abba quoted Rabbi Huna as stating in the name of the Sage Rav that such nullification could take place at night. He then asked Rabbi Huna if he had actually heard Rav issue such a ruling. Rabbi Huna's reply was that he had stated such a ruling in front of Rav, whose reaction was silence. Rabbi Abba then asked him whether Rav's silence was an expression of acquiescence like one who offers a complimentary toast to another over a glass of wine, or was it a sign of rejecting Rabbi Huna's position.

It was only the testimony of Rabbi Ika bar Avin that Rav once nullified the vow of the Sage Rabbah at night which served as a resolution of this question of how to view the silence of Rav.

What the Sages Say

"Whoever makes a vow - even if he fulfills it – is considered a sinner."

  • Rabbi Dimi - Nedarim 77b

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