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Shabbat Parashat R'ei | 5770

Hemdat HaDaf Hayomi: The Different Types of Shevuot (38b)

Rav Ofer Livnat

This week in the Daf Hayomi, we will begin the sixth chapter of Masechet Shevuot, "Shevuot Hadayanim." Until now in Masechet Shevuot we learned about different types of oaths which a person took of his own volition, without being required to do so by Beit Din. The sixth chapter, as well as the following two, deals with the different types of oaths that Beit Din requires a person to take. In order to give a general picture of the upcoming sugyot (topics), we will try to outline the different types of oaths obligated by Beit Din.
There are three types of oaths:
1.  Shevuat Hatorah
2.  Shevuat Hamishnah
3.  Shevuat Heiset
A Shevuat Hatorah is an oath that is obligated by the Torah. There are three such oaths:
1.   Modeh Bemiktzat- when the defendant admits to part of the plaintiff's claim (the beginning of the sixth chapter).
2.   Ed Echad- when the plaintiff has a single witness testifying in his favor (40a).
3.   Shevaut Hashomrim- when a person gave an object to be watched and the watcher claims that it was lost in a fashion for which he is not responsible (eighth chapter).
A Shevuat Hamishnah is a type of oath which was instituted in early times by Chazal and is mentioned in the Mishnah. There are two main types of Shevuat Hamishnah:
1.   Nishbaim Venotlim- special cases where the Sages instituted that the plaintiff take an oath and collect his claim (seventh chapter).
2.   Nishbaim Beta'anat Safek- special cases where the Sages instituted that the defendant take an oath even though the plaintiff is not certain about his claim (seventh chapter).  
A Shevuat Heiset is a later institution instituted in the time of Rav Nachman (40b). In almost any case of a certain claim by the plaintiff, the defendant is obligated to take a Shevuat Heiset.
A Shevuat Hatorah is the most powerful obligation, and therefore, if a person refuses to take it, the money in question may be collected from him. The Gemara deliberates other possible differences between a Shevuat Hatorah and the other oaths (41a).
The main difference between a Shevuat Heiset and the other oaths is that, for the other oaths, one is required to hold a Sefer Torah while taking them, while that is not required for a Shevuat Heiset.
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Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in memory of
Rav Yehuda Amital zt”l,
RoshYeshivat Har Etzion
Hemdat Yamim
of this week is dedicated in memory of
Gital Gila
Bat Eliyahu Micha-el  a”h
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