י׳ במרחשון ה׳תשע״ו (October 23, 2015)

Nazir 62a-b: Nullifying a Slave’s Vow

Continuing the discussion that began in the first Mishna of the perek (see yesterday’s daf) the Mishna on our daf teaches that a husband has the right to be mefer (able to annul) his wife’s acceptance of nezirut – as he has the right to annul any oath that she takes upon herself that will affect their relationship (as we learned on yesterday’s daf, if he does not do so then she will be obligated in the laws of nezirut and he no longer has any say in the matter). The owner of an , however, does not have the right to annul his slave’s oaths.

The Mishna concludes with the statement that when a husband is mefer and annuls his wife’s acceptance of nezirut, it is annulled forever; if he does so to his eved, when he becomes free he completes his obligation.

The Rosh offers two possible approaches to understanding this Mishna:

  1. This Mishna is a continuation of the previous Mishna, and it teaches that a man who annuls his wife’s nezirut erases it completely. Thus, even if the marriage ends, either through the husband’s death or divorce, she is no longer obligated to keep her commitment to be a nazir. In the case of, however, the owner’s power to force him to neglect his commitment exists only as long as the eved is obligated to accept his orders. Should he become free, he will be obligated to keep his commitment and will become a nazir.
  2. Our Mishna is teaching a new halakha that deals with the question: “Can the husband or owner change his mind about the nezirut?” The Mishna teaches that if a husband annuls his wife’s oath of nezirut, even if he decides later on that he wants her to keep her word, she has no obligation to be a nazir. If he objects to his slave’s commitment, however, should he change his mind and decide to allow the eved to be a nazir, the obligation will take effect.