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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
Come and hear: If one says to his neighbour, 'Konam that you benefit not from me, if you do not give my son a kor of wheat and two barrels of wine,' — R. Meir rules: He is [so] forbidden until he gives; but the Rabbis maintain: He too can annul his vow without a Sage by declaring: 'I regard it as though I have received it.' Thus, it is only because he says, 'I regard it as though I have received it'; but otherwise it is [a valid] vow. Whose view is this? If R. Eliezer b. Jacob's, — but it is a vow of incitement. Hence it must be the Rabbis'; thus proving that they disagree with him! — [No.] Verily, it may be R. Eliezer b. Jacob's view: he admits that this is a [real] vow, for he [who makes it] says, 'I am not a king to benefit you without your benefiting me.'
Mar Kashisha son of R. Hisda said to R. Ashi, Come and hear: VOWS [BROKEN] UNDER PRESSURE: If one subjected his neighbour to a vow to dine with him,3 and then he or his son fell sick, or a river prevented him [from coming to him]. But otherwise the vow is binding. Whose view is this? If R. Eliezer b. Jacob's, — but it is [a vow of] incitement. Hence it must be the Rabbis', which proves that they disagree with him! — [No.] This may be R. Eliezer b. Jacob's view. Do you think that the inviter imposed the vow upon the invited? On the contrary, the invited imposed the vow upon the inviter. Thus: He said to his neighbour, 'Do you invite me to your banquet?' 'Yes,' replied he. 'Then make a vow to that effect.' So he vowed, and then he [the person invited] or his son fell sick, or was kept back by a river; such are vows [broken] under pressure.
Come and hear: R. Eliezer b. Jacob went even further [in his definition of vows of incitement]: If one says to his neighbour, 'konam that I do not benefit from you if you will not be my guest and partake of fresh bread and a hot drink with me'; and the latter remonstrated in his turn — such too are vows of incitement.4 But the Sages did not admit this. Now, to what does this disagreement refer? Surely,
Nedarim 24beven to the first [illustration given by R. Eliezer b. Jacob]! This proves that the Rabbis dispute his ruling [in its entirety]. This proves it.1 What is our final conclusion on the matter?2 — Come and hear: For R. Huna said: The halachah is like R. Eliezer b. Jacob.3
MISHNAH. VOWS OF EXAGGERATION: WHEN ONE SAYS, 'KONAM IF I DID NOT SEE ON THIS ROAD AS MANY AS DEPARTED FROM EGYPT, OR 'IF I DID NOT SEE A SERPENT LIKE THE BEAM OF AN OLIVE PRESS.
GEMARA. It was taught: Vows of exaggeration are invalid, but oaths of such a nature are binding. How are such oaths possible? Shall we say that one said. 'I swear [so and so] if I have not seen etc.' — he said nothing!4 — Abaye answered: When one declares, 'I swear that I did see' etc.5 Raba objected: If so, why teach it?6 Moreover, it is taught parallel to vows!7 But, said Raba: When one says, 'May [all] the fruit in the world be forbidden me on oath if I did not see on this road as many as departed from Egypt.' Rabina said to R. Ashi: Perhaps this man saw an ant nest and designated them8 'those who left Egypt's his oath thus being genuine? —
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