QUESTION: The Mishnah describes Nedarim which "are like Nolad, but they are not
Nolad." According to Rebbi Meir, when a person makes a Neder that he will not marry a
certaom woman because her father is wicked, and then he was informed that her father
died or did Teshuvah, the Neder is no longer binding. The Mishnah says that "the
Chachamim disagree" and say that the Neder is binding.
The Gemara cites a Machlokes Amora'im how to understand the opinion of Rebbi Meir.
Rav Huna says that when a person makes a Neder and includes a reason "because of such
and such," it is as if he specified a clause that his Neder should be valid only as
long as that reason exists (it is like he made the Neder with a Tenai). If the father
is no longer wicked, then the Neder will no longer apply.
Rebbi Yochanan argues and says that Rebbi Meir permits these Nedarim only if it turns
out that the father was dead already, or had done Teshuvah already, before the Neder
was made. In such a situation, the Neder is permitted because it is a Neder Ta'us, a
Neder made in error.
The Gemara cites support for Rav Huna from the Mishnah later (66a). The Mishnah says
that if a person makes a Neder that he will not marry "this ugly woman" and it turns
out that the woman is attractive, it is a mistaken Neder, a Neder Ta'us, and he is
permitted to marry her. Why does the Mishnah need to tell us both the Halachah of the
Neder concerning the wicked father in our Mishnah, and the Halachah of the Neder
concerning the ugly woman in the following Mishnah? According to Rebbi Yochanan, both
Mishnayos are not necessary, because both Mishnayos are telling us the same Halachah
of Neder Ta'us! It must be that the first Mishnah is teaching the Halachah of a Tenai
in a Neder (like Rav Huna explains) and the second Mishnah is teaching the Halachah
of a Neder Ta'us.
What is the Gemara's question on Rebbi Yochanan? There is a rule that when there is a
"Machlokes v'Achar Kach Stam" -- a Machlokes Tana'im in a Mishnah followed by a
"Stam" Mishnah (which mentions one of the opinion of the previous Mishnah without
attributing it to any name), the Mishnah means to teach that the Halachah is like the
"Stam" opinion. In our Mishnah, Rebbi Meir argues with the Chachamim. In the Mishnah
later (66a), the only ruling in the MIshnah is that the Neder is a Neder Ta'us, a
Neder made in error. Perhaps the second Mishnah is coming to teach us that the
Halachah is like Rebbi Meir!
Even if we suggest that in the case in that Mishnah the Chachamim, for some reason,
agree with Rebbi Meir that it is a Neder Ta'us, then that Mishnah is still necessary
to teach that very fact -- that the Chachamim agree with Rebbi Meir in that case!
Hence, there is no repetitiveness in the Mishnayos at all! What, then, is the
Gemara's question on Rebbi Yochanan?
(a) The ROSH here (in TOSFOS HA'ROSH he cites this explanation in the name of Rebbi
Eliezer mi'Mitz and rejects it) explains that according to Rebbi Yochanan it is not
clear why Rebbi Meir says that the Nedarim in our Mishnah are "like Nolad." (The RAN
at the end of 65a leaves this question unanswered.) It is clearly not a case of
Nolad, but a cases of a Neder Ta'us, a Neder made under mistaken pretenses in the
first place. Nothing new came about after the Neder.
The Rosh therefore explains that the Mishnah is saying the opposite of the
conventional interpretation. Rebbi Meir is saying that there are some Nedarim that
are *not* like Nolad (and should be permitted), but nevertheless the Rabanan decreed
that such Nedarim are *not* to be annulled and permitted, because people might
confuse them with a real case of Nolad and mistakenly be Matir a real case of Nolad.
The Chachamim argue with Rebbi Meir and say that not only are these cases not like
Nolad, but even a Heter is not required to permit them, because they are cases of
Neder Ta'us. Accordingly, it is the *Chachamim* who hold that the Neder is a Neder
Ta'us, and not Rebbi Meir, and therefore the Mishnah later (66a) did not have to
teach this Halachah again and say that the Neder is a Neder Ta'us like the Chachamim,
because we would have ruled like the Chachamim (because the Halachah follows the
majority opinion) even without having a "Machlokes v'Achar Kach Stam."
(b) The PISKEI HA'ROSH cites a Girsa in our Mishnah that says "the Chachamim *agree*"
to Rebbi Meir that the Neder is a mistaken Neder, a Neder Ta'us. The Rosh adds that
the Gemara implies that this is the correct Girsa. (See KORBAN NESANEL and RASHASH.
The Rashash (citing Lechem Mishnah, Hilchos Nedarim 8:1) explains that the Rosh's
inference from the Gemara is the question that we asked, why does the Gemara say that
the Mishnah on 66a is unnecessary if the Chachamim argue with Rebbi Meir? Perhaps the
whole point of that Mishnah is to teach that the Halachah follows Rebbi Meir? It must
be that the Chachamim *agree* that it is a Neder Ta'us, and hence the Mishnah later
is superfluous, like the Gemara asks.) This is also the Girsa of the Mishnah in the
(c) TOSFOS and the ROSH (in his second explanation here, and in TOSFOS HA'ROSH) write
that the Chachamim certainly agree with Rebbi Meir in the case of the Neder
concerning the ugly woman in the Mishnah later (66a). They are only Machmir in the
case here, when the man thought that the woman's father was wicked, when her father
had actually done Teshuvah. In that case they are Machmir because it is common for a
person to do Teshuvah, and people might think that he did Teshuvah only after the
Neder was made (and they will erringly think that Nolad is acceptable grounds for
annulment of a Neder). In contrast, it is uncommon for a woman who is ugly to become
attractive, and therefore everyone will know that if the woman is attractive, the
Neder must have been a mistake in the first place.
What, then, is the Gemara's question when it asks that the Mishnah later (66a) is
repeating the same Halachah as the Mishnah here? They are two different Halachos!
Tosfos explains that the Gemara is asking that the Mishnah should not have separated
between the Halachah of the Neder concerning the wicked father and the Halachah of
the Neder concerning the ugly woman with numerous other Halachos. Rather, these two
Halachos should have been placed next to each other, since they are two aspects of
the laws of Neder Ta'us. That is what the Gemara is asking.