Talmud Tips

For the week ending 6 June 2015 / 19 Sivan 5775

Nedarim 16 - 22

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

Rabbi Levi said, “These are the children of a mother who is hated by her husband”.

Rabbi Levi in our gemara lists nine scenarios in which the offspring will be “rebellious and transgressing against Gd”, as found in Yechezkel 20:38. One of these scenarios leading to rebellious children, Rabbi Levi teaches, is when the mother is hated by the father.

Although it would appear from two verses in Chumash (Gen. 29:31 and 33) that Leah was hated by her husband Yaakov, this was certainly not the case, and their children were certainly righteous and devoted to G-d. Leah was neither hated by Yaakov nor blamed for her father’s treacherous dealings with Yaakov. Rather, she was greatly loved by her husband Yaakov, as is evident in 29:30 which states, “And he (Yaakov) also loved Rachel”. He loved Rachel in addition to Leah. The other verses that seem to connote that she was “hated” merely indicate that Yaakov had an even greater love for Rachel. (Rabbi S. R. Hirsch)

  • Nedarim 20b

Rabbi Natan said, “Making a neder (vow) is like building a forbidden altar (bama), and fulfilling the neder is like offering a sacrifice there.”

This teaching appears in a beraita on our daf and is cited by the Rambam, the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch. The severe negative aspect taught here by Rabbi Natan is that making a neder separates a person from the community. When a person makes a personal altar he is separating himself from the ways of the unified Jewish People. Likewise, one who makes a neder to forbid to himself that which is permitted to the rest of the community is separating himself from the community. Fulfilling his neder makes matters worse. Just as sacrificing on his personal altar is the act of completing his separation from the community, likewise fulfilling his neder demonstrates his complete separation from the community. (Maharal)

  • Nedarim 22a

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