Nedarim - Daf 27
- A condition fulfilled unwillingly regarding documents in Beis Din
The Gemara records an incident in which a litigant had handed over to Beis Din documents supporting his rights to another’s property and said that if he would not return within thirty days, his documents should be void. In the end, he was unable to come due to circumstances beyond his control. Rav Huna ruled his documents void. Rava challenged him:אנוס הוא, ואנוס רחמנא פטריה - He is “forced,” (i.e., faultless) and the Torah acquits one who is forced, as we find by the law of a violated arusah, that the passuk states: “ולנערה לא תעשה דבר” – and to the girl you shall do nothing. Therefore, the stipulation should not be deemed fulfilled and his documents should not be void. Rava continued, that if you will suggest that the Torah was only lenient with a compelled person regarding the death penalty but not elsewhere, this can be disproven from our Mishnah, which states: נדרי אונסין - What are cases of forced nedarim? הדירו חבירו שיאכל אצלו - If one vowed against his friend that he should eat with him,וחלה הוא או שחלה בנו, או שעיכבו נהר- and he or his son became ill, or he was delayed by a river and unable to attend, הרי אלו נדרי אונסין- these are forced nedarim and are invalid. This proves that for all matters, a condition is not considered fulfilled when done against his will.
- Two cases of gittin that are valid despite conditions fulfilled unwillingly
The Gemara questions Rava’s position from a Mishnah, in which one gives a get to his wife on condition that he does not return within twelve months, and he died in the interim, that the get is valid. According to Rava, why do we not say that his condition not to return was fulfilled unwillingly? The Gemara answers: דאי הוה ידע דמית, מן לאלתר הוה גמר ויהיב גיטא - Had he known he would die, he would have given a get immediately unconditionally. The Ran explains that it is presumed that he gave her this get to prevent her from falling to yibum. The Gemara continues, by asking from an incident of a get given on condition that he does not return within thirty days, but ultimately was unable to cross the river, and called out from the opposite side, חזו דאתאי- “See that I have come!” Shmuel ruled that the get was valid, despite his inability to return in time. The Gemara answers, דלמא אונסא דמיגליא שאני, ומעברא מיגלי אונסיה- perhaps an apparent (i.e., predictable) constraint is different, and the lack of a ferry is an apparent constraint. Since he was aware of this possibility, he should have excluded this circumstance from his condition.
The Gemara wonders how the litigant’s documents become void based on his prior commitment to forfeit them if he fails to return.היא ואסמכתא לא קניא אסמכתא - This is an asmachta, a commitment based on an assumption that the terms will never be fulfilled, and an asmachta is not binding. After the first answer is rejected, the Gemara explains instead: שאני הכא, דאמר לבטלן זכותיה - here it is different, because he said his documents should be invalid. The Ran explains (second explanation) that in the case of supporting documents, he had not committed himself to surrendering the property. Rather, he was admitting that if he did not return to Beis Din in time, the proofs he intended to use to claim his property were in fact false, for which even an asmachta-level agreement is sufficient.