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Tractate Shevuot (Oaths):
Synopsis of Subjects


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CHAPTER I.

MISHNA I. There are two kinds of oaths which are subdivided into four. The he-goat makes it pending. How is this to be understood? If it does not atone, what is the use of making it pending? It means, i.e., if the transgressor dies then it may be considered that if he dies before he becomes aware of it, this sin is not reckoned to him any more. Said Rabha to him: "In case he dies, the death itself completes the atonement; it is the he-goat that saves him from chastisement before he becomes aware by making it pending. All the above-mentioned persons are atoned for by the exported he-goats for all other transgressions without any difference, etc. Such is the custom of the divine attribute of justice, that the righteous atone for the wicked and not that the wicked atone for another wicked,

CHAPTER II.

MISHNA I. The cognition of uncleanness is of two kinds subdivided into four. The courtyard was sanctified with the remains of a meal-offering only, in order to make it equal to the City of Jerusalem itself, etc. The orchestra of the thanks-offering consisted of violins, fifes, trumpets on every corner as well as on every elevated stone in Jerusalem, and used to play, etc. It was taught, R. Huna says: "All the details in the Mishna were essential in the construction, etc. If one enters a leprous house backwards, although all his body was already in the house except his nose, he remains clean. And ye shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness," whence you derive the warning that the children of Israel should separate themselves from their wives near the period of menstruation, etc. If there were two paths one of which was unclean (but it was not certain which one), and one passed through one of them entering, etc.

CHAPTER III.

MISHNA I. TO VII. There are two kinds of oaths subdivided into four. I swear that I will eat, or I will not eat, etc. Where do we find that one must bring an offering for mere talk, as this one does talk and brings an offering. What is Issor mentioned in the Torah? If one says: "I take upon myself not to eat meat," etc. Vain (Shakve) and false (Shekker) are identical. Stripes apply to all negatives of the Torah implying manual labor, but not to those without manual labor, excepting, however, an oath. There is a moth, which is but a minimum in size, and yet one is liable for consuming it. I swear that I will not eat, and thereafter eats and drinks, he is guilty but once. I will drink neither wine, oil nor honey, and then drinks, he is guilty for each severally. If he swore not to eat and thereafter ate carcasses or illegal cattle, reptiles and vermin, he is guilty. R. Simeon declares him free. The reason of him who holds that one is liable for an inclusion is that he compares it to an additional prohibition. It is immaterial whether the things sworn off concern himself or others, whether they are or are not of some essential nature. One is guilty only for an oath made with reference to the future, etc. I swear that I know something to testify for you, and it is found hereafter that he knows nothing, etc. There is a rule that, if to something that was included in the general a new law be applied, only by the new one must guide one's self, etc. To exclude compulsion what could illustrate this? As it happened to R. Kahana and R. Assi after the lectures at Rabh's college, etc. Suppose one swear not to eat this bread, and then he is in danger if he does not eat it, how is it, etc.? If one swears to ignore some commandment and does not carry out his oath, etc. If one says I swear not to eat this bread, in case I eat the other, etc. Which is false swearing? If one swears that something is different from what it is known by everybody to be. The provisions regarding uttered swearing apply to males, females, to kindred, non-kindred, etc.

CHAPTER IV.

MISHNA I. TO VI. The witness-oath applies to men but not to women, to unrelated but not to kindred, etc. If a scholar was aware of a case, but it was a humiliation to him to go to that particular court he may remain at home, etc., concerning civil cases only. The many things inferred from Exod. xxiii. 7. Keep thyself far from a false speech. How does a witness-oath come about? If some one said to two, etc. If there were two parties of witnesses and both denied successively, etc. There is also a case concerning a witness who refuses to testify to the death of a husband, etc. If one of them denies and the other confesses, etc. I adjure you that you come and bear me witness, that I have in the possession of so and so, etc. I adjure you to testify that so and so has spread abroad an evil name on my daughter, etc. We swear that we know nothing for you, while in reality they do know, etc. I adjure you, I impose upon you, I bind you (by oath) so they are guilty, etc. If one writes Aleph Lamed (the first letters from Eloim), etc. It must not be erased, etc. All the divine names found in the Torah in connection with Abraham are holy, etc. Amen embraces oath, acceptance and confidence, etc. Nay means oath and yea means also an oath, etc. R. Kama, while sitting before R. Jehudah, repeated the Mishna in its own language, and he said to him: "Change the language and use it in the third person,

CHAPTER V.

MISHNA I. TO VI. The depository oath concerns men and women non-kindred and kindred, those fit to testify and those unfit, etc. What is the law, when one has intentionally made a depository oath in spite of a warning, is he liable to a sin-offering or not? If the depository claims that the deposit has been stolen from him, swears, but thereafter confesses, etc. If one denies money when there are witnesses, he is subject to an oath, but is free from such if there is a document. How is it if five persons claim the four articles and he says to one of them I swear that thou hast not with me a deposit, etc., and not thou and not thou, etc.

CHAPTER VI.

MISHNA I. TO III. In the case of an oath before court, the claim must amount to two silver, and the confession to one peruta, etc. If one requires movables and real estate, and the other admits movables but denies real estate or vice versa, he is free, etc. One must stand when taking the oath; a scholar, however, may do it while sitting. An oath taken by one before the court must be uttered in a language he understands, and the court must say to him the following introduction. Be aware that the whole world was trembling when the Lord spake on the Mount Sinai: "Thou shalt not bear the name of the Lord thy God falsely." I have with you a gold dinar in gold. Nay you have with me only a silver dinar, he is liable. If one was about to claim wheat, and the defendant hastened to confess barley, etc. What is the difference between a biblical and a rabbinical oath. I have a mana with you. Yea, you shall not return it to me without the presence of witnesses, etc. In another case one demanded a hundred zuz, etc. A borrower said to the lender: "You are trusted so long as you will say that I have not paid you"; thereafter he paid him in the presence of witnesses, etc. One does not swear to the following: To slaves written documents, etc. One swears but to things capable of being measured, weighed and counted. How so? If one lends to his neighbor on a pledge, and the pledge got lost, etc. If one lends to his neighbor 1,000 zuz, and pledges them the handle of a scythe only, etc.

CHAPTER VII.

MISHNA I. All those who are subject to a biblical oath swear and do not pay, etc. Give me change for a dinar. Give the dinar. I have given it to you already, etc. You have hired me for two zuz to repair something, while the employer says that he hired him only for one zuz, etc. If witnesses saw one concealing utensils under his garments when coming out from a house, and he claims that he had bought them, etc. The oath returns to its place--the Mount Sinai. If there were two parties of witnesses contradicting each other, each party may appear and testify for itself. Let the master conjoin with us in nullifying the statement of Rabh and Samuel. It once happened that B, who had borrowed money of A through a surety and on a document died, etc.

CHAPTER VIII.

MISHNA I. There are four kinds of bailees, gratuitous, on hire, borrower and hirer, etc. This is the rule: "Whoever tends to commutate, by his oath liability to liability, unliability to unability, or unability to liability is free, etc.


Sources: Biblical Texts

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