Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023

Chagigah 10: Second Thoughts

On this daf, we find a discussion about annulling vows.

One man wished to refrain from a certain action that he felt was bad for him. He vowed that if he failed to avoid this behavior, meat and wine would be prohibited to him.

After a while during which he held strong, he indulged in the activity he had vowed to avoid. He wondered what to do. He definitely didn’t want to be prohibited from eating meat or enjoying wine, so he went to see a chochom to annul his vow.

“Do you regret making the vow?” asked the chochom.

“No,” replied the other. “I would have been happy had it continued to be a deterrent from falling. But now that I succumbed, I regret it, since I can’t eat meat or drink wine.”

The rov he consulted wondered if this constituted proper regret with which he could annul a vow. After all, he didn’t really regret vowing; he only suffered from the negative repercussions of his vow.

When this question was presented to the Ramban, he gave a decisive response: “It is true that, in general, such regret would not allow for annulment of the vow. But in this case, it does. It works here because the point of the vow was not to forbid meat or wine. If it had been so, he could not annul if he doesn’t regret making the vow. But since in our case the prohibition was not the point of the vow, even merely regretting it because he failed to avoid the negative behavior is enough” (Shu”t Ramban, #255).

 

 

 

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