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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
Now we have seen that confirmation is more stringent than annulment; where do we find that annulment is more [stringent] than confirmation? — Said R. Johanan: One may seek absolution from confirmation, but not from annulment.
R. Kahana objected: But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day:3 Scripture refers to silence in order to vex. You say, in order to vex. Perhaps this is not so, the reference being to silence with intention to confirm? Now, when it is said, because he held his peace at her,4 Scripture already refers to silence in order to confirm; hence, to what can I apply the phrase, 'but if the husband altogether hold his peace at her? To silence in order to vex. That is indeed a refutation.5 But let one [verse] be applied to silence in order to confirm, and the other to silence without specified intentions? — Additional verses are written.6
Raba objected: IF SHE VOWED JUST BEFORE NIGHTFALL, HE CAN ANNUL ONLY UNTIL NIGHTFALL: FOR IF NIGHT FELL AND HE HAD NOT ANNULLED IT, HE CAN NO LONGER DO SO: but why? Let it [at least] be counted as though he were silent in order to provoke her! This is a refutation.
R. Ashi objected: [If the husband declares,] 'I know that there were vows, but did not know that they could be annulled,' he may annul them [now].7 'I knew that they could be annulled, but did not know that this is a vow,'8 R. Meir ruled: He cannot annul [now];9 whilst the Sages maintain: He can annul. But why [not, according to R. Meir]; let it [at least] be as though he were silent in order to provoke! This is a refutation.
Nedarim 79bR. JOSE SAID: THESE ARE NOT VOWS OF SELF-DENIAL, BUT THE FOLLOWING ARE VOWS OF SELF-DENIAL: VIZ., IF SHE SAYS, 'KONAM BE THE PRODUCE OF THE [WHOLE] WORLD TO ME', HE CAN ANNUL; 'KONAM BE THE PRODUCE OF THIS COUNTRY TO ME,' HE CAN BRING HER THAT OF A DIFFERENT COUNTRY;1 '[KONAM BE] THE FRUITS OF THIS SHOP-KEEPER TO ME', HE CANNOT ANNUL; BUT IF HE CAN OBTAIN HIS SUSTENANCE ONLY FROM HIM,2 HE CAN ANNUL: THIS IS R. JOSE'S OPINION.
GEMARA. [He can annul] only vows of self-denial, but not if they involve no self-denial? But it was taught: Between a man and his wife, between thee father and his daughter:3 this teaches that a husband can annul vows which [affect the relationship] between himself and his wife? — I will tell you: He can annul both; but vows of self-denial he can permanently annul;4 but if they involve no self-denial, annulment is valid only so long as she is under him, but if he divorces her, the vow becomes effective. [This refers however] to matters affecting their mutual relationship but involving no self-denial; but if they involve self-denial, the vow does not become effective. Now, do vows involving no self-denial become effective if he divorces her? But we learnt: R. Johanan b. Nuri said: He must annul it, lest he divorce her and she thereby be forbidden to him.5 This proves that if he divorces her after first having annulled the vow, the annulment remains valid? — I will tell you: in both cases the annulment stands; but vows of self-denial he can annul in respect of both himself and strangers,6 whereas if they involve no self-denial, he can annul in respect of himself only, not of others;7 and it is thus meant: THESE ARE THE VOWS WHICH HE CAN ANNUL in respect of both himself and others, viz., VOWS THAT INVOLVE SELF-DENIAL.
'IF I BATHE.' What does this mean? Shall we say, that she declared, 'Konam be the fruit of the world to me, if I bathe'? then why annul it? Let her not bathe, and so the fruit of the world will not be prohibited to her! Moreover, could R. Jose maintain in this case that THESE ARE NOT VOWS OF SELF-DENIAL: perhaps she bathes, and the fruit of the world become forbidden to her?
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