An oath of testimony only applies in a monetary case. Does that also include a case of a fine (kenas)? What is the source for the limitation to monetary cases?
The gemara brings a number of things that one should avoid doing in court as they are dishonest. Details of an oath of testimony are discussed as the different part of the mishna are analyzed and explained. What is the root of the debate between Rabbi Meir and the rabbis regarding an oath of testimony taken outside the court on one’s own?
What is an oath regarding testimony for which one is obligated to bring a sliding scale sin offering? Anyone who cannot testify is excluded from responsibility, including women. The gemara asks from where in the Torah we know that women can’t testify and brings various braitot that all prove from the same verse – each using a different drasha that women cannot be witnesses. The gemara learns other halachot regarding court cases, i.e. who stands and who sits also from that verse as well as other halachot relating to the commandment to the judges to be fair and balanced. What types of exceptions are made if a talmid chacham comes to be judged in the court?
What is an oath made in vain? Details regarding this type of oath are discussed.
If an oath is made with a condition, what are the halachot if the condition is fulfilled accidentally, meaning that when the person fulfilled the condition, the person didn’t remember that the condition was made? What if the person remembered the condition but forgot when he/she ate the forbidden item? What if a person said that each item if forbidden if he/she eats the other item. various permutations are brought as to what the person did intentionally and what was unintentional.
Does an oath need to be expressed in words or can one just decide in one’s mind? Does an oath of expression apply only also to a mitzva? There is a debate in the mishna regarding this and there is a discussion regarding the proofs for each side. If one takes an oath that repeats itself without adding on something new, the subsequent oaths are not valid and if one breaks them accidentally,one would be only obligated to bring one sacrifice. However, if the person were to go to a ‘chacham’ to repeal the oath, the second oath would be apply.
Rav holds that one who swears about someone else having done something in the past would be a valid oath as it can be formulated in the negative (and disagrees with Shmuel who holds that it can’t since it can’t be formulated in the future tense). Abaye points out that if it were someone saying he/she knows testimony and doesn’t, since it the negative it would be an “oath of testimony” and not an “oath of expression,” one would not be obligated. This leads to a whole discussion regarding why the Torah specified an “oath of testimony” if it could have been included in an “oath of expression.” Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Akiva debate their opinions (which cases are included in an oath of expression for which one needs to bring a sliding scale sin offering) based on how each one extrapolates the verses using different exegetical principles. An oath of expression is only brought if the person is “shogeg” – accidental but not if they did it on purpose or if it was totally beyond one’s control. The gemara tries to find a case where it could be accidental relating to a past event that wouldn’t be considered totally beyond one’s control. An oath of expression is only brought by one who “forgot” the oath but not the object. What is the case?
The mishna has an inner contradiction about whether or not a general oath would include eating not kosher foods. Two different resolutions are brought. What are the reasons why one would say that an issur kollel would apply or not? Rava says that applies even in a case of one who swears. The gemara brings a mishna in kreitut which would seem to contradict Rava and 6 different explanations are brought as to why there is no contradiction.
How do we know that the word “food”includes drinking? Does our mishna support that understanding? Why in the cases in the mishna where one detailed a number of things that are forbidden, do we assume that one meant to create a separate oath for each one and not that the person meant to exclude other things from the oath? How does an expressive oath differ from an oath denying that one has an item of another in one’s possession? The debate regarding an oath that combines forbidden and permitted items discussed previously in now discussed more in depth.
The debate between Rabbi Akiva and the rabbis in the mishna – regarding whether or not an oath prohibiting eating would obligate one who ate even less than a minimum amount or not – is analyzed in detail. Are oaths different than vows in this issue?