Nedarim, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Two

 

Introduction

This mishnah continues to discuss the ability of fathers and husbands to annul their daughters’ or wives’ vows.

 

Mishnah Two

1)                     If the father dies, his authority does not pass over to the husband.

a)                                           If the husband dies, his authority passes over to the father.

2)                     In this respect, the father’s power is greater than the husband’s.

a)                                           But in another respect, the husband’s power is greater than that of the father, for the husband can annul [her vows] when she is of majority age but the father cannot annul her vows when she is of majority age.

 

Explanation

Section one:  The mishnah is still discussing the betrothed young girl.  Generally, both the father and husband must jointly annul her vows.  If, while she is in this status, her father dies, her husband still cannot annul her vows on his own. This is because she is only betrothed and not fully married.  A husband’s right to annul his wife’s vows on his own begins only at the point of marriage.  In contrast, should her betrothed husband die, her father may annul her vows.  This is because she was never fully married, nor has she reached majority age.

Section two:  After pointing out a way in which the father’s authority over his wife is greater than the husband’s, the mishnah now contrasts that with an example in which the husband’s ability to annul vows is greater.  As we stated in yesterday’s mishnah, the father’s authority ends when his daughter reaches majority age.  In contrast, the husband’s ability to annul his wife’s vows exists even when she is of majority age. 

 

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