February 14, 2023

Nedarim 47

A Beraita is quoted in today’s daf (Nedarim 47b) stating that, ‘If one says to his wife, “Benefiting from me is konam for you”, she may [nevertheless] borrow [money to sustain herself], and the creditors can come and collect [her debts from her husband]’.
The problem is that, if we momentarily put aside the serious question that arises when considering the kind of relationship where a husband says this to his wife, the fact is that he shouldn’t be able to do so in the first place! This is because a husband has tangible financial, emotional and physical obligations to his wife as delineated in the Ketubah. Given this, how could such a vow even take effect?
The answer, as suggested by both the Meiri and the Ran (on the basis of Ketubot 70b), is that we are discussing a situation where the man made this vow to his fiancée while they were engaged but before they were married – and thus before he was obliged by his Ketubah obligations.
Clearly, while this may ‘solve’ the question of how this vow could initially take effect, it nevertheless leaves us with further questions, and in terms of our Gemara it is evident that, notwithstanding this vow, this couple still married. But as should be obvious, this hardly makes for a good or happy marriage!
Reflecting on all this I believe that what we can learn from here is the importance of doing whatever is possible to consider what a marriage may look like with someone before one gets married to them. For example, there may be times when a woman sees glimpses of behaviours in a man while dating and during their engagement which, upon reflection, would undermine his ability to be a good husband, and vice versa in terms of a man vis-à-vis certain behaviours of the woman he is dating or to whom he is engaged.
Of course, one can never truly know what the future will bring. But what we learn from today’s daf is that if your boyfriend, girlfriend or fiancée is someone who can say things like “Benefiting from me is konam for you”, then this is a marriage that you should do whatever it takes to avoid.
In this article:
Share on social media:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram

More articles