Sometimes I wonder if when people are learning or quoting things they say things in the name of people, would that count as them making a Neder? For example the teacher says "Yaakov said: I will give Maaser. (keep in mind that's not even the actual quote from the Pasuk). Does that mean the teacher made a Neder to give Maaser?

Sources and logic are both appreciated here...

  • 5
    There would be an awful lot of Nezirim if that were so...
    – Dave
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 0:44

2 Answers 2


In the far more stringent case of "blessing" Hashem's Name, we find that one of the witnesses has to repeat before the beis din the actual words used (Sanhedrin 56a) - and of course he is not punished for that (no "Life of Brian" scenario here!). So I think that's a pretty strong proof that quoting doesn't equal an actual declaration.

With nedarim and shevuos, too, there is also the consideration that they require intent to be valid - "his mouth and heart have to be in sync" (Rambam, Hil. Shevuos 2:12 and Nedarim 2:2). So when a person is quoting a formula for a neder or shevuah, he clearly isn't intending to accept it upon himself, and so it shouldn't take effect.

  • Then why do we say beli neder? Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 15:16
  • @HachamGabriel: mainly, I think, because there are cases where simply starting to act according to a certain minhag or chumra creates a neder to continue doing so; saying "beli neder" - before doing it, as per your answer here - avoids that problem.
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 17:15

No sources, just an attempt at logic.

We have a strong tradition of altering divine names to avoid trouble when studying or talking (that is, outside of the situations where we really do want to use those names). This demonstrates a pattern for dealing with possibly-problematic speech. We have no such tradition for quoting people who spoke, either from Tanakh or from chazaal.

Since we could easily have developed such a tradition but we did not, I conclude that quoting somebody, absent the specific intent to make a vow, is not making a vow.

  • 1
    I would accept this answer, but the problem is that we learned (see Kisur Shulhan Aruch 67:3 Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu's ZSQW"L's comments) where it seems that it doesn't matter what the intention is. For example beli neder if were to say "I will go visit the sick" even if I didn't mean it, it is still a neder. Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 1:47
  • @HachamGabriel, that's fair. Perhaps there is a difference between just saying something out of the blue and quoting something. So maybe intent alone isn't sufficient to prevent a vow or oath, but a quote presupposes that it's a quote and not your own words? I don't know; I'm just thinking out loud here -- we don't have the extra protection here that we do for the name, so it makes me think that it's not necessary because you're not making a vow/oath, but I grant the circularity of this. Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 2:37
  • @HachamGabriel He doesn't hold of Pi Velibo Shavim? Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 3:53

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