HOW CAN WIDOWS COLLECT?
(Mishnah): Judges refrained from administering the oath.
Question: What was the reason?
Suggestion: It was due to the case Rav Kahana recorded.
(Rav Kahana): Once. a man deposited a gold coin with a widow during a famine year. She put it in the flour. It was baked into a loaf (unknown to her), and she gave the loaf to a poor man. When the depositor asked for his coin, she swore that she did not benefit from it, and that one of her children should die if she is lying. Soon after, one of her children died.
Chachamim: If someone who swears truthfully is punished like this, all the more so one who swears falsely!
Question: Why was she punished?
Answer: She benefited from the coin. (It saved her flour that otherwise would have been used in the loaf she gave to the poor man.)
Question: If so, she did not swear truthfully!
Answer: Rather, she was like one who swore truthfully. (She did not intend to lie.)
Objection: If this was the reason, they should have stopped divorced women from swearing as well!
(R. Zeira): They stopped only widows from swearing. Divorcees still swear.
Answer: A widow toils to care for the orphans. She might rationalize swearing that that she did not receive any money from the Kesuvah, even if she did, since she feels that she is entitled to compensation for her toil.
Version #1 - Chachamim of Sura (Rav Yehudah): Rav and Shmuel both say that only in Beis Din she does not swear, but she may swear outside of Beis Din.
Question: Rav would not allow a widow to collect her Kesuvah! (According to Rav Yehudah, he should tell her to swear outside of Beis Din.)
This is left difficult.
Version #2 - Chachamim of Neharde'a (Rav Yehudah citing Shmuel): Only in Beis Din she does not swear, but she may swear outside of Beis Din.
(Rav Yehudah citing Rav): She does not swear even outside of Beis Din.
This is consistent with Rav's practice not to allow a widow to collect her Kesuvah.
Question: Why didn't Rav allow her to collect through a vow?
Answer: In Rav's day, people took vows lightly.
A widow came in front of Rav Huna to collect her Kesuvah.
Rav Huna: I hold like Rav, who does not collect a Kesuvah for a widow.
The woman: The reason is, you suspect I may have already received part of my Kesuvah. I swear by Hash-m's name that I have not benefited from my Kesuvah!
(Rav Huna): Rav admits that if she swears on her own, she receives her Kesuvah.
A widow came in front of Rabah bar Rav Huna to collect her Kesuvah.
Rabah bar Rav Huna: I hold like Rav and my father, who did not collect a Kesuvah for a widow.
The woman: Give me food. (I am entitled to food, since I am not receiving the Kesuvah.)
Rabah bar Rav Huna: I hold like Shmuel, who says that once a woman requests her Kesuvah, she does not receive food.
The woman: Your chair should be turned over (this was a curse). You ruled against me like two Chachamim whose rulings do not go together!
They reversed the chair of Rabah bar Rav Huna and returned it (hoping that this would fulfil the curse). Nevertheless, he got sick.
Rav Yehudah (to R. Yirmeyah Bira'ah): Make the widow vow in Beis Din and swear outside of Beis Din. Publicize that widows collect Kesuvos!
(R. Zeira): Widows don't swear, but divorcees do.
Question: Is it really true that a divorcee collects only through an oath, but not through a vow?!
Rabanan in Eretz Yisrael sent a message about a certain woman who received a Get, and vowed not to eat anything that grows if she had already received towards her Kesuvah anything more than a coat, a Sefer Tehilim, a Sefer Iyov, and a worn Sefer Mishlei;
Rabanan: We appraised these to be worth five Maneh. You should let her collect the rest of her Kesuvah.
Answer (Rav Ashi): Indeed, a divorcee needs an oath. This case was a widow. She had received a Get from a Yavam (to forbid Yibum).
COLLECTING THROUGH A VOW
(Mishnah): R. Gamliel enacted that she vow...
(Rav Huna): This is only if she did not yet remarry. If she already remarried, she does not vow.
Question: Surely, this is because her husband will annul the vow. Also before she remarries, we should be concerned lest she vow falsely, expecting that she will marry and her husband will annul her vow.
Answer: A husband cannot annul vows she took before he married her.
Question: We should be concerned lest she vow falsely, expecting that she will regret her vow in Beis Din, and Beis Din will permit it!
Answer: Rav Huna holds that one who asks to permit a vow must give the details of the vow. (Beis Din would not permit her when they hear why she vowed.)
(Rav Nachman): She collects her Kesuvah through a vow even after she remarried.
Question: Surely, (she is not afraid to vow falsely, for) her husband will annul the vow!
Answer: She vows b'Rabim (in front of many people).
Question (against Rav Huna - Beraisa): If she remarried, she collects her Kesuvah if she vowed.
Suggestion: This means, if she vows now.
Answer: No, it is if she vowed before she remarried.
Question (Beraisa): If she remarried, she vows and collects her Kesuvah.
Answer: Tana'im argue about whether or not a husband can annul a vow made b'Rabim. (This Tana holds that he cannot, therefore she can vow after remarrying to collect her Kesuvah.)
PERMISSION OF VOWS
Question: If one seeks to permit a vow (through Beis Din), must he tell Beis Din the details of the vow?
Answer #1 (Rav Nachman): He need not.
Answer #2 (Rav Papa): He must.
Rav Nachman says that he need not. If he needed to, sometimes he would omit a detail, and the Heter (permission) would be Pasul, since Beis Din permits only what they hear!
Rav Papa says that he must. Perhaps he seeks to permit a vow in order to transgress!
(Mishnah): A Kohen who marries a woman forbidden to Kohanim is disqualified from Mikdash service until he vows not to benefit from her.
(Beraisa): Immediately upon vowing, he may serve. After serving, he divorces her.
Question (against Rav Nachman): If one may permit a vow without detailing it, perhaps he will permit his vow and keep his wife!