Nedarim 44 - 50
- Relinquishing ownership of a field for a defined period
- Whether formal relinquishing of ownership must be done before three people
- Partners in a property who have made vows prohibiting one another to benefit from them
- Does a vow forbidding another to enter his home remain in effect even after the owner dies or sells
- When are the foods exchanged for the foods prohibited through a vow also forbidden
- In which communal properties of a city is everyone considered a partner
- When it is necessary to gift the nassi with one's share of communal property
- The incident in Beit Choron which led to a ruling regarding what is considered an outright gift
- Giving away property conditional on recipient transferring ownership to someone else
- What foods become forbidden when one makes a vow to abstain from cooked foods
- For which sick people do we daily pray
- Babylonians and other cereal eaters
- Sages with glowing faces
- The saga of Rabbi Akiva
Torah in Simple Containers
- Nedarim 50b
"Such glorious Torah wisdom in such an ugly container!"
Thus chided the Roman princess the sage Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania.
"Take a lesson from your father's house," replied the sage. "In what does your father store his wine?"
"In clay vessels," was her reply.
When he chided her that if commoners placed their wine in clay vessels it was only fitting for royalty to use gold and silver urns, she went ahead and transferred the wine to such vessels. Of course the wine soon spoiled, giving Rabbi Yehoshua an opportunity to make his point that Torah too is best stored in simple looking vessels.
"But there are handsome scholars as well," protested the princess.
"Were they hateful looking," countered the sage, "they would be even greater scholars."
A simple reading of Rabbi Yehoshua's statement gives the impression that some connection exists between the physical appearance of a scholar and his level of learning. Maharsha, however, calls attention to the fact that while the princess used the term "ugly" in regard to him, Rabbi Yehoshua used the term "hateful". The sage was not making any connection between looks and wisdom but rather stressing the importance of a scholar having a hateful attitude to physical beauty (a point made by Tosefot in Mesechta Ta’anit 7a), for one who is obsessed with appearances will find this attitude an obstacle to his development as a Torah scholar.
What the Sages Say
"Let her approach — all that I possess and all that you possess is because of her."
- Rabbi Akiva to his 24,000 disciples in regard to his wife Rachel who waited 24 years for his return home - Nedarim 50a