Nedarim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Ten



In yesterday’s mishnah we learned that one who vows to abstain from certain foods may still have other foods that have the same name, if they also have an accompanying name.  Today’s mishnah teaches that one who vows to abstain from certain other foods, may nevertheless also be prohibited from having foods which are in those foods. 


Mishnah Ten

1)                     [He who vows abstinence] from cabbage is forbidden asparagus; from asparagus, is permitted cabbage; 

a)                                           From grits, is forbidden grits pottage; Rabbi Yose permits it; from grits pottage is permitted grits.

b)                                          From grits pottage, is forbidden garlic; Rabbi Yose permits it; from garlic, he is permitted grits pottage.

c)                                           From lentils, is forbidden lentil cakes; Rabbi Yose permits them; from lentil cakes, is permitted.

2)                     [If one says] “Konam, if I eat wheat [or] wheats,” he is forbidden both flour and bread.

a)                                           “If I eat grit [or], grits,” he is forbidden both raw and cooked.

b)                                          Rabbi Judah says: [If one says], “Konam, if I eat grits or wheat,” he may chew them raw.



Section one:  In these cases one food includes other food, but the inclusion is not mutual.  Cabbage (at least in Hebrew) includes asparagus.  Therefore, one who vows not to have cabbage must also not have asparagus.  However, asparagus does not include cabbage, and therefore one who vows not to have asparagus, may still have cabbage.

“Grits pottage” is a dish that includes grits, oil and garlic.  According to one opinion, since people sometimes call “grits pottage”, “grits”, one who vows not to have “grits pottage” may also not have “grits”.  Rabbi Yose says that the two are usually called by different names. 

One who vows not to have “grits pottage” may also not have the garlic put into the pottage.  Rabbi Yose disagrees and holds that by his vow he did not intend to include the garlic and therefore garlic is permitted.  All agree that if he vowed to abstain from the garlic he may still have the pottage.

One who vows not to have lentils may not have lentil cakes, for lentils are the prime ingredient of lentil cakes.  Rabbi Yose again disagrees.  However, all agree that if one vows not to have lentil cakes he may still have regular lentils.  We can see a trend by now.  One who vows not to have the main ingredient of a certain dish, may not eat the dish or the main ingredient separate from the dish.  However, one who vows not to have the dish, may eat the main ingredient separate from the dish. 

Section two:  According to some commentators, the person vowing in this section used double language, and is therefore prohibited from wheat in any form.  Others explain that the mishnah refers to a person who said “wheat” or “wheats” (which is proper diction in Hebrew), but not both.  The same rule holds true for grit or grits. 

Rabbi Judah holds that one who vows not to have wheat or grits may still chew raw grains.  “Wheat” refers to flour and “grits” refers to semi-processed kernels.  Neither word is generally used to refer to raw, unprocessed kernels, and therefore they are still permitted to him.