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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
'I am divorcing you on account of your vow'. His view was that the reason [why he must not remarry her] was to prevent [him making] mischief subsequently.1 If he uses these words to her he can make mischief for her,2 but if not, he cannot make mischief for her.3 Some there are who report: R. Joseph b. Manyumi said in the name of R. Nahman: He has to say to her, 'Understand that I am divorcing you on account of your evil name'; 'I am divorcing you on account of your vowing'. His view was that the reason [why he must not remarry her] is to prevent the daughters of Israel from becoming dissolute or too prone to vows;4 hence he is required to address her thus.5
There is a teaching in support of the first version and a teaching in support of the second version. It has been taught in support of the first version: R. Meir says: Why has it been laid down that if a man divorces his wife on account of ill fame or on account of a vow he must not remarry her? For fear that she may go and marry another and then it may be discovered that the charge against her was unfounded and he will say, Had I known this was the case, I would not have divorced her even for a hundred manehs, and so the Get becomes retrospective]y void6 and her children [from the second husband] illegitimate. Therefore they say to him [when he comes to give the divorce], Know that a man who divorces his wife on account of ill fame must not remarry her, or [if he divorces her] on account of a vow he must not remarry her.7 It has been taught in support of the second version: R. Eleazar son of R. Jose says: Why has it been laid down that if a man divorces his wife on account of a scandal he should not remarry her, or on account of a vow that he should not remarry her? In order that the daughters of Israel should not become dissolute or too prone to vows.8 Therefore they tell him: Say to her, Understand that I am divorcing you on account of your ill fame, I am divorcing you on account of a vow.
R. JUDAH SAYS: IF HE DIVORCES HER FOR VOWS WHICH SHE MADE PUBLICLY, HE MAY NOT REMARRY HER,9 BUT IF FOR A VOW WHICH SHE DID NOT MAKE PUBLICLY, HE MAY REMARRY HER.10 R. Joshua b. Levi said: What is the reason of R. Judah [for holding that a vow made publicly may not be annulled]? Because the Scripture says, And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them.11 And what do the Rabbis12 [make of this verse]? — [They reply:] Did the oath there become binding upon them at all? Since they [the Gibeonites] said, We are come from a far country,13 whereas they had not come from one, the oath was never binding; and the reason why the Israelites did not slay them was because [this would have impaired] the sanctity of God's name.14
How many form a 'public'?15 — R. Nahman says, three, R. Isaac says, ten. R. Nahman says three, [interpreting] 'days' [to mean] two and 'many' three.16 R. Isaac says ten, because the Scripture calls ten a 'congregation'.17
R. MEIR SAYS, EVERY VOW THAT REQUIRES etc. It has been taught: 'R. Eleazar says: A vow requiring [investigation] was made a ground for prohibition only on account of a vow which does not require [investigation].18 What is the point at issue [between R. Meir and R. Eleazar]? — R. Meir held that a man does not mind the indignity of his wife appearing in a Beth din,19 whereas R. Eleazar held that a man is averse to subjecting his wife to the indignity of appearing in a Beth din.20
R. JOSE SON OF R. JUDAH SAID, A CASE HAPPENED IN SIDON etc. What has preceded that this should be given as an illustration?21 — There is a lacuna, and the Mishnah should run thus: 'These rules apply only in the case where the wife vowed, but if he vowed he may remarry, and R. Jose son of R. Judah adduced a case which happened in Sidon of a man who said to his wife, Konam if I shall not divorce you, and he did divorce her, and the Sages permitted him to remarry her, to prevent abuses.'
What konam1 was there here? — R. Huna said: We suppose he said, Every species of produce shall be forbidden to me if I do not divorce you.
AND THEY PERMITTED HIM TO REMARRY HER. This surely is self-evident? — You might think that we should prohibit him on account of the dictum of R. Nathan, as it has been taught: R. Nathan says: To make a vow is like building a high place2 and to keep it3 is like bringing an offering thereon. Therefore we are told [that this is not so].
TO PREVENT ABUSES. What prevention of abuses is there here? — R. Shesheth said that the words refer to the earlier clauses [of the Mishnah]:4 Rabina said that they refer indeed to the last clause, and the meaning is, There was no ground for forbidding this on the score of preventing abuses.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN DIVORCES HIS WIFE BECAUSE [HE FINDS HER] TO BE INCAPABLE OF BEARING,5 R. JUDAH SAYS HE MAY NOT REMARRY HER,6 BUT THE SAGES SAY THAT HE MAY REMARRY HER.7 IF SHE MARRIES AGAIN AND HAS CHILDREN FROM THE SECOND HUSBAND AND THEN DEMANDS HER KETHUBAH SETTLEMENT FROM THE FIRST,8 R. JUDAH SAYS, HE CAN SAY TO HER, THE LESS YOU SAY THE BETTER.9
GEMARA. This would seem to show that R. Judah takes into account the possibility of mischief-making and the Rabbis do not take it into account. But we have found the opposite opinions ascribed to them, as we have learnt: If a man divorces his wife on account of ill fame or on account of a vow she has made, he must not remarry her. R. Judah says: If the vow was made publicly, he may not remarry her, but if it was not made publicly he may remarry her.10 This seems to show that the Rabbis take account of the possibility of mischief-making and R. Judah does not take account of it? — Samuel said: Reverse the names.11 But since the Mishnah goes on to say, IF SHE MARRIES AGAIN AND HAS CHILDREN FROM THE SECOND HUSBAND, AND THEN DEMANDS HER KETHUBAH SETTLEMENT FROM THE FIRST, R. JUDAH SAYS THAT HE CAN SAY TO HER, THE LESS YOU SAY THE BETTER, we can conclude that R. Judah does take into account the possibility of mischief making? — Reverse the names here also.12 Abaye said. There is no need to reverse, since R. Judah in that13 case concurs both with R. Meir and with R. Eleazar. In the case [of a vow] which requires [the investigation of a Sage] he concurs with R. Eleazar,14 and in the case [of a vow] which does not require [investigation] he concurs with R. Meir.15 Raba said: Is there a contradiction between the statements of R. Judah and no contradiction between the statements of the Rabbis?16 — No, said Raba; Between the statements of R. Judah there is no contradiction, as has been explained. Between the statements of the Rabbis there is also no contradiction. For who are the Sages [here]? R. Meir, who said that we require the condition to be duplicated,17 and here we are dealing with a case where he did not duplicate his condition.18
MISHNAH. IF A MAN SELLS HIMSELF AND HIS CHILDREN TO A HEATHEN, HE IS NOT TO BE REDEEMED. HIS CHILDREN, HOWEVER, ARE TO BE REDEEMED AFTER THE DEATH OF THEIR FATHER.
GEMARA. R. Assi said: This rule applies only if he sold himself a second and a third time. Certain [Jews of] Bemekse19 borrowed money from heathens, and when they were unable to pay the latter seized them for slaves. They appealed to R. Huna, who said: What can I do, seeing that we have learnt IF A MAN SELLS HIMSELF AND HIS CHILDREN TO A HEATHEN HE IS NOT TO BE REDEEMED? R. Abba thereupon said to him: You have taught us, Master, that this applies only if he has so sold himself a second and a third time. R. Huna replied: These men do this habitually.
A certain man sold himself to the Lydians20 and then appealed to R. Ammi saying,
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