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    Annulling a Vow

    In Shemos 4:19 Hashem commanded Moshe to return to Mitzrayim because the people who tried killing him were dead. Since Dasan and Aviram lost their money and were considered dead, Hashem told Moshe he should return to Mitzrayim.

    Reb Eliezer says in the Mishna in Nedarim daf 64a that when it comes to annulling a vow one may use a “nolad” (something that was not in existence when the vow was made) to do so. We learn this from the above posuk as Moshe had vowed to his father-in-law that he would not return to Mitzrayim, yet he was now able to return since the people who tried having him killed were no longer an issue. This would be a case of “nolad” and yet he was able to have his vow annulled. The Chachomim argue and say a person cannot use nolad as a pesach to annul a neder. They say that one may use davka a nolad that is common and not an uncommon nolad. The fact that Hashem was going to let the vow be annulled via the nolad is because they did not actually die, but rather became poor. This reasoning can be explained in two ways. The first way would be that they had already been poor when Moshe made the vow. The second way of understanding this is that becoming poor is a “milsa di’shchiach” (common.) This type of nolad may be used to annul the vow, but the fact that they had died would have been a “milsa delo shchiach” (an uncommon occurrence) thereby not being able to be used as a pesach to annul the vow.

    The Bais Yosef in Yoreh Deah 228 discusses that death is the most common thing since everyone eventually dies. The Bais Yosef says that although death itself is common, the experience for a person to have his enemies die in his lifetime is not common, like David Hamelech said in Tehillim 38:20 “for my mortal enemies are numerous; my treacherous foes are many.” Therefore, it is not so common.

    The gemara in Kesubos 62b and in Nedarim 50a bring down the story that Kalba Savua vowed that Rabbi Akiva would not benefit from his great wealth. Once he saw that Rabbi Akiva became a great leader, he said, “I never intended to vow against such a person.” The Rabbis annulled the neder. The question that arises is; were they allowed to annul the neder based on a nolad of Rabbi Akiva becoming a great leader?

    There are a number of tirutzim to this question. The first tirutz could be that this whole vow was based on the fact that Rabbi Akiva was an ignorant person, which would make it a neder that was “talui” (based on something else.) If a person is toleh a neder, and then the status changes, so does the neder. We find this concept in Nedarim 65a; if a person makes a neder he will not marry someone because her father is a rasha and then he finds out that the father did teshuva or he was never a rasha, then he can marry her since it is a neder that is conditional. Similarly, the father-in-law made the vow in a conditional manner that his son-in-law was an ignoramus, but the minute that changed, the neder was not in effect anymore.

    The second tirutz is that the neder was made davka regarding whether or not Rabbi Akiva was an am ho’oretz at the time of the neder, but in the case of Rabbi Akiva, when he was mekadesh his wife he already new one perek in learning thereby changing his status since he was therefore no longer an am ho’oretz.

    The third tirutz is that since at the time that Rachel became mekudash to Rabbi Akiva it was on condition that he become a “tzurva miRabbonon,” (Young Rabbi) Kalba Savua would never have made the vow knowing what he was to become. They therefore were able to annul the vow.

    The fourth tirutz is Rabbi Akiva married her on t’nai that he becomes a talmid chacham and it was not such a far reach because all he needed was to learn one perek. It was therefore very attainable and so the vow was not a vow.

    The fifth and final tirutz was Rabbi Akiva was not the reason he was mattir the neder. It was done in honor of his wife, which is one of the reasons one may be mattir neder. There therefore was no nolad involved.

    May we be careful with what comes out of our mouths always.