And Rabbi Abbahu said: It is derived by verbal analogy from the terms pursuit and pursuit. It is written here: “Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalms 34:15) and it is written there: “He who pursues righteousness and mercy finds life, prosperity, and honor” (Proverbs 21:21), indicating that pursuing peace is a mitzva, just as pursuing righteousness and mercy is. As for the nullification of vows, this is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Natan, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Natan says: With regard to one who vows, it is as if he built a personal altar when it is prohibited to build an altar outside the Temple. And one who fulfills that vow, it is as if he sacrificed an offering on this personal altar, thereby doubling his sin. Therefore, it is preferable that he ask a halakhic authority to dissolve the vow.
And one should distance himself from three things: From refusals, as perhaps she will grow up and regret her decision, and it will turn out that she refused a husband who was suitable for her. From deposits entrusted to him by an inhabitant of the same city, as he will treat the bailee’s home as his home. The owner might enter the bailee’s house and take the deposit without the latter’s knowledge, and subsequently falsely sue him for its return. From serving as a guarantor: This is referring to Sheltziyyon guarantees, in which the lender is entitled to demand payment from the guarantor even before the borrower defaults on the loan.
As Rabbi Yitzḥak said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He who serves as a guarantor for a stranger shall suffer evil; but he who hates those who shake hands is secure” (Proverbs 11:15)? This means: Evil after evil will befall those who accept converts, and Sheltziyyon guarantors, and one who confounds himself in matters of halakha. The Gemara clarifies. Evil will befall those who accept converts: This is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Ḥelbo. As Rabbi Ḥelbo says: Converts are difficult for the Jewish people like a leprous sore on the skin.
Evil shall befall Sheltziyyon guarantors because they practice: Pull out, thrust in. That is, they pull out the borrower and thrust the guarantor in his place as the one responsible for the loan. Evil befalls one who confounds himself in matters of halakha, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yosei says: Anyone who says he has no Torah, has no Torah. The Gemara asks: Is this not obvious? Rather, anyone who says he has nothing other than Torah, has nothing other than Torah.
The Gemara asks: But isn’t this also obvious? One does not receive more reward than he deserves. Rather, it means that he does not even have Torah. What is the reason? Rav Pappa said: The verse states: That you may learn them and perform them, which is an abridged version of the verse “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances that I speak in your ears this day, that you may learn them, and take care to perform them” (Deuteronomy 5:1). The verse teaches that anyone who is engaged in performing mitzvot is engaged in Torah study, while anyone not engaged in performing mitzvot is not engaged in Torah study; the Torah study of one who wishes only to immerse himself in his studies without fulfilling the mitzvot is not considered to be fulfilling even the mitzva of Torah study.
And if you wish, say: Actually, it is as you initially said: Anyone who says he has nothing other than Torah has nothing other than Torah. Rather, this statement is necessary with regard to one who teaches others and they go and perform the mitzvot. Lest you say that there is reward for him in it, Rabbi Yosei teaches us that since that person engaged in Torah study without the intention of observing the mitzvot himself, he does not receive a reward for the mitzvot that he taught others and which they performed.
And if you wish, say that one who confounds himself in matters of halakha is referring to a judge who had a case come before him, and he learned the tradition about a ruling in a similar case, and he likens one matter to the other in order to reach a conclusion; and he has a teacher nearby but he does not go and ask him. This is inappropriate, as judges must be very careful not to err in judgment.
As Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: A judge should always view himself as if a sword were placed between his thighs, so that if he leans right or left he will be injured, and as if Gehenna was open beneath him, as it is stated: “Behold, it is the bed of Solomon; sixty mighty men are around it, of the mighty men of Israel. They all handle the sword, and are expert in war; every man has his sword upon his thigh, because of dread in the night” (Song of Songs 3:7–8), i.e., because of the dread of Gehenna, which is similar to the night. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani understands the mighty men of Israel in this verse to refer to the judges who sit in judgment around the bed of Solomon, i.e., in the Temple.
§ It was taught in the mishna that Rabban Gamliel says: If the minor refuses of her own accord, her refusal is valid. And if not, she should wait until she reaches majority, whereupon her marriage is valid by Torah law, and the widowed adult sister shall be exempt from levirate marriage due to her status as the sister of a wife. Rabbi Elazar raised a dilemma to Rav: What is Rabban Gamliel’s reasoning? Is it because he holds that the betrothal of a minor girl is in suspension and when she reaches majority, the betrothal reaches majority, i.e., is fully realized, with her? Accordingly, the betrothal would then be realized even if he did not engage in intercourse with her after she reached majority.
Or perhaps, is it because he holds that when a yavam betroths the sister of his yevama, causing the yevama to be forbidden to him, the yevama is exempt and is released even though her levirate bond came first? If he engaged in sexual intercourse with his betrothed after she reached majority, then yes, the yevama is exempt as a forbidden relative, because only then does Rabban Gamliel consider the betrothal to be fully realized, but if he did not engage in intercourse with his betrothed, then the yevama is not exempt from levirate marriage.
Rav said to him: This is Rabban Gamliel’s reasoning: Because he holds that in the case of one who betroths the sister of his yevama, the yevama is exempt and is released, then if he engaged in sexual intercourse with the sister after she reached majority then yes, the yevama is exempt from levirate marriage, but if he did not engage in intercourse with the sister after she reached majority, the yevama is not exempt.
Rav Sheshet said: I say that Rav said this halakha when he was dozing and lying down, as it is difficult. As it is taught in a baraita: In the case of one who betroths a minor girl, her betrothal is in suspension. What does it mean that it is in suspension? Is it not that when she reaches majority, the betrothal reaches majority with her and is fully realized even if he did not have intercourse with her after she reached majority?
Ravin, son of Rav Naḥman, said to Rav Sheshet: This matter, that the betrothal of a minor girl remains in suspension, should be understood differently. It means that her betrothal is provisional as long as she is still a minor: If he has sexual intercourse with her after she reaches majority, yes, her betrothal is realized; if he does not engage in intercourse with her after she reaches majority, her betrothal is not realized. For she says to herself: He has an advantage over me in that he can divorce me, and I have an advantage over him, as I can refuse him. Since the marriage of a minor depends upon her ongoing consent, as she can refuse him at any time, it remains provisional until it is consummated when she is an adult.
The Gemara asks: But does Rav truly think that only if he has intercourse with her after she becomes an adult, then yes, her betrothal is realized, but if he did not engage in intercourse with her, then no, it is not realized? Wasn’t it stated that with regard to a minor who had not refused her husband and reached majority, and then went and married another, Rav said: She does not require a bill of divorce from the second man, as she is fully married to the first and consequently her second marriage is invalid? And Shmuel said: She does require a bill of divorce from the second man, as it is uncertain whether her second marriage is valid.